As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones

As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones

As Tears Go By is a song by The Rolling Stones, one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century. This song marks a significant departure from their usual rock and blues style, showcasing a softer, more melodic aspect of the band. It was one of the first original compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, with assistance from their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. Notably, it was initially performed by Marianne Faithfull before The Rolling Stones recorded their own version. Understanding this song requires exploring its background, lyrical content, and its place in the Stones' discography.

Background and Release

  1. The Rolling Stones: Formation and early career.
  2. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards: Songwriting partnership.
  3. Marianne Faithfull: Her version of the song.
  4. 1960s Music: The musical landscape during the song's release.

Analysis of Lyrics

The lyrics of "As Tears Go By" reflect a sense of melancholy and introspection, which was somewhat unusual for the band at the time. The song's simple, evocative lyrics and its gentle melody contrast with the Rolling Stones' more typical hard-edged sound.

  1. Songwriting: Techniques used in the song.
  2. Music and Emotion: How the song's melody and lyrics evoke feelings.
  3. Rock Music versus Ballads: Contrasting this song with the band's other works.

Impact and Legacy

"As Tears Go By" had a significant impact on the Rolling Stones' image and musical direction. It demonstrated the band's versatility and helped to expand their audience.

  1. The Rolling Stones' Discography: The song's place in the band's body of work.
  2. 1960s Rock Music: The evolving music scene.
  3. Music Industry: How the song influenced the band's career.


Quiz: Questions on the song

Who originally performed "As Tears Go By"? (Marianne Faithfull) (!Mick Jagger) (!Keith Richards) (!Brian Jones)

When was "As Tears Go By" released by The Rolling Stones? (1965) (!1962) (!1969) (!1971)

What distinguishes "As Tears Go By" from most other Rolling Stones songs? (Its melancholic and melodic style) (!Its heavy use of electric guitar) (!Its fast-paced rhythm) (!Its political lyrics)

Who were the main songwriters for "As Tears Go By"? (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) (!Brian Jones and Charlie Watts) (!Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull) (!Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham)

Which of the following songs is not by The Rolling Stones? (!Paint It Black) (!Sympathy for the Devil) (!Gimme Shelter) (Bridge Over Troubled Water)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Which band member co-founded The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger? (Keith Richards) (!Charlie Watts) (!Ron Wood) (!Bill Wyman)

In which city were The Rolling Stones formed? (London) (!Liverpool) (!Manchester) (!Birmingham)

Which album features "As Tears Go By"? (December's Children (And Everybody's)) (!Sticky Fingers) (!Beggars Banquet) (!Exile on Main St.)

What is Mick Jagger's role in The Rolling Stones? (Lead vocalist and co-songwriter) (!Drummer) (!Bass guitarist) (!Lead guitarist)

In what year did The Rolling Stones release their first album? (1964) (!1962) (!1965) (!1967)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the main theme of "As Tears Go By"? (Reflection and melancholy) (!Love and romance) (!Social protest) (!Party and fun)

Which of the following lines is from "As Tears Go By"? ("It is the evening of the day") (!"I can't get no satisfaction") (!"A wild horse couldn't drag me away") (!"You can't always get what you want")

How does the song begin? ("It is the evening of the day, I sit and watch the children play") (!"I see a red door and I want it painted black") (!"I met a gin-soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis") (!"Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields")

Which instrument features prominently in "As Tears Go By"? (Acoustic guitar) (!Electric guitar) (!Drums) (!Harmonica)

Which line follows "Smiling faces I can see"? ("But not for me") (!"In every dream") (!"All around me") (!"I sit and watch as tears go by")


The Rolling Stones Founded in London
Mick Jagger Lead vocalist and co-songwriter
"As Tears Go By" Released in 1965
Marianne Faithfull Originally performed the song
Acoustic guitar Prominent instrument in the song

Open Tasks


  1. Music Analysis: Listen to "As Tears Go By" and describe how it makes you feel.
  2. Rock and Roll History: Research the early career of The Rolling Stones and create a timeline.


  1. Songwriting Techniques: Write a short essay on how "As Tears Go By" differs from typical Rolling Stones songs.
  2. Music Comparison: Compare "As Tears Go By" with another Rolling Stones hit in terms of lyrics, melody, and mood.


  1. Music Influence: Explore how "As Tears Go By" influenced the musical direction of The Rolling Stones.
  2. Cultural Impact: Investigate the cultural significance of The Rolling Stones in the 1960s.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the role of ballads like "As Tears Go By" in the repertoire of a predominantly rock and blues band.
  2. Analyze the lyrical themes in "As Tears Go By" and how they reflect the sentiment of the 1960s.
  3. Compare and contrast the musical styles of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
  4. Explain the impact of the British Invasion on American music and culture, using The Rolling Stones as an example.
  5. Evaluate the significance of the songwriting partnership of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in rock music history.

OERs on the Topic


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