Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby Standing In The Shadow?

This Rolling Stones song was composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and it was recorded in the late summer of 1966. Like many other Stones songs, it is filled with phrases that seem to be throw together and then mixed into a hat just to sound cool.  Jagger said, “I get the ideas for the words by sitting down and following a train of thought – one thing just leads to another.  This is simply about a boy and his bird.  Some songs I write are just for a laugh.  Others are extensions of ideas.  This is a mixture of both.  You must listen to it and place your own interpretation on the lyric.  There is no attempt to present a controversial Mother theme. Mother is a word that is cropping up in a lot of numbers.”

It may have a million different interpretations, it’s impossible to say what it is exactly about, because the lyrics are purposely vague.  It seems that the Stones made an effort not to be too specific with the meanings of some of their songs, so people don’t spend their entire lives wondering what they mean, thus preventing them from being puzzled about the meanings.  You can listen to it over and over and over again and still probably not be able to figure it out.

It is different and a bit freaky, starting with its long, vaguely scandalous title and it is filled with horns blasting, guitar feedback reverb, it has a haywire tempo and odd lyrics.  It was especially controversial for its cover, an image of the Stones dressed in drag.  After they shot it, they went to a bar, still dolled up in dresses and wigs.  This single was certainly stranger than anything the group had previously released, both in production and words.  Some people describe this song as being discordant, filled with distorted guitar twanging becoming a complete wall of noise that annoyed some of the listeners like the aftermath of a car crash.  “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” is a catchy tune and I always liked it.  It made the Top Ten, but it was probably too far out for some radio programmers and listeners, as its chart performance was disappointing in comparison to the 1965-1966 singles it followed.

Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have you had another, baby, standing in the shadow?
I’m glad I opened your eyes
The have-nots would have tried to freeze you in ice

Have you seen your brother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have you had another baby, standing in the shadow?
Well I was just passing the time
I’m all alone, won’t you give all your sympathy to mine?

Tell me a story about how you adore me
Live through the shadow, see through the shadow,
Live through the shadow, tear at the shadow
Hate in the shadow, love in the shadow life

Have you seen your lover, baby, standing in the shadow?
Have they had another baby, standing in the shadow?
Where have you been all your life?
Talking about all the people who would try anything twice

Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
Has she had another baby, standing in the shadow?
You take your choice at this time
The brave old world or the slide to the depths of decline

Written for 3/18/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “shadow”.

12 thoughts on “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby Standing In The Shadow?

    1. Thanks for reading my post. The Rolling Stones started out in 1962 and they began calling themselves the “World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” in the Sixties, which actually is true as they have done more for rock & roll than any other band in the genre’s history.

      Liked by 1 person

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