Prince or pauper, beggar man or king,
Play the game with every flower you bring.
Dandelion don't tell no lies.
Dandelion will make you wise.
Tell me if she laughs or cries.
Blow away dandelion!
One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, four o'clock, five.
Dandelions don't care about the time.
Though you're older now it’s just the same;
You can play the dandelion game.
When you're finished with your childlike prayers
Well, you know you should wear it.
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor’s lives.
Rich man, poor man, beautiful daughters, wives.
Little girls and boys come out to play.
Bring your dandelions to blow away.
[Coda: Blow away dandelion.]
Dandelion was originally released as a B side, but it was far more popular than We Love You in the U.S, reaching the top 20. It is a light, pop version of psychedelia emphasizing the popular Flower Power of the day. The song experiments with a nursery rhyme form that found another expression in Who's Been Sleeping Here?, included on the album Between the Buttons, released in February 1967. In the context of September 1967, the song played on a flower concept becoming ubiquitous on pop radio after the May 1967 release of Scott MacKenzie's San Francisco: Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair.
But perhaps Jagger hadn't had the Summer of Love in mind at all when he wrote the lyrics back in 1966. The daisy in San Francisco had meant "peace and love". The dandelion of London concentrates rather on the children's game of telling the future though the chance yes or no of blowing the flower's seeds away. The lyric goes so far as to suggest that such chance prognostications are more effective than childlike prayers.
Dandelion starts out immediately with a falling harpsichord melody, appropriate for the dandelion seeds carried on the wind. (The falling harpsichord was a popular psychedelic form: Hampstead Incident by Donovan and Heroes and Villains by the Beach Boys had already used it by the time of Dandelion's release.) An elegant feature is that the song not only has a chorus and a B section, but that the B section becomes the foundation for the break. The break introduces Brian Jones on the saxophone. During the lengthy coda, the saxophone takes over as the tinkling, falling harpsichord is heard in the distance, accompanied by the crashing irregular dramatic rhythms of Charlie Watts' drums.