Although far from being their most popular song, I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘Lady Jane’ can truly be representative of what The Rolling Stones were all about in the mid 60’s. First of all, this represents one of the finest examples of baroque-influenced pop, a sub-genre that would shortly after blossom into albums like The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed or The Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle. The man largely responsible for this? None other than Brian Jones, whose colourful experimentation with instruments definitely reached its peak around that time, in terms of both creativity and influence. A fragile dulcimer line carries the song forward, giving it a somewhat majestic, “royal” feel, and about halfway through, a harpsichord joins in the right channel, only to emphasize that very effect.
Take that and add Jagger’s genuinely sincere (as far as I can tell) love/adulation lyrics and you end up with something that probably few fans were expecting from the Stones at that point, given their “badass” image. Not to mention its placement on the album: a beautiful love ballad thrown in between the two tongue-in-cheek, women-degrading rockers that are ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘Stupid Girl’. But these are in no way complaints – on the contrary, it presents the band in a whole new light, that of a multi-faceted act, willing to experiment. Of course, nowadays, The Stones are widely known as one of the most diverse bands to ever exist and deservedly so, but back then, that wasn’t the case yet.
All in all, repeated listens have proved ‘Lady Jane’ – a song that I used to consider nothing more than “nice” – to grow in my eyes a whole lot. Speaking as of right now, I would even consider using it as a “Hey, wanna get an idea of how great the Stones are? Listen to this!” kind of song.
Categories: The Song In My Head Today