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*3.11-SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ME YESTERDAY (Rolling Stones)

Brian Jones
Brian Jones

LISTEN

[Intro]

Something happened to me yesterday.
Something I can't speak of right away.
Something happened to me, something oh so groovy
Something happened to me yesterday.

         He don't know if it's right or wrong.
         Maybe he should tell someone.
         He's not sure just what it was
         Or if it's against the law.
         Something…

Something very strange I hear you say.
You're talking in a most peculiar way.
But something really threw me, something oh so groovy
Something happened to me yesterday. Yesterday...

         He don't know just where it’s gone.
         He don't really care at all.
         No one's sure just what it was
         Or the meaning and the cause.
         Something…

         [Spoken: What kind of tune is this?]

[Break]

         [Spoken: Take your partners...]

[Break]

         [Repeat 1st chorus]

Someone says there's something more to pay
For sins that you committed yesterday.
It's really rather drippy, but something oh so trippy
Something happened to me yesterday.

         [Repeat 2nd chorus]

Someone's singing loud across the bay
Sitting on a mat about to pray.
Isn't half as loony as something oh so groovy
Something happened to me yesterday.

         [Repeat 1st chorus]

[Coda and radio sign off]:

[Spoken: Well thank you very much and now I think it's time for us all to go.
So from all of us to all of you
(Not forgetting the boys in the band and our producer Reg Thorpe)
We'd like to say God bless.
So if you're out tonight, don't forget, if you're on your bike
Wear white. Evening all…]


Something Happened to Me Yesterday, the final cut on Between the Buttons shows that the Rolling Stones were starting to conceive of their albums in totality, as this is definitely a closing number. In this case, a radio sign-off makes sure that the end of a performance is signified. Ironically, Something Happened owes much of its mood to Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women 12 & 35, which began the album Blonde on Blonde. Both songs seem to allude to a hallucinogenic experience, though I’m inclined to think Dylan is singing about marijuana while Jagger & Richards are singing about an LSD trip. (“Something oh so trippy!”)

Something Happened to Me Yesterday set something of a meme for bringing an album to a conclusion, though the paradigm would shift from closing down a radio station (since the radio ran all night in America, unlike TV at the time) to last call at a bar. The Mothers of Invention introduced this shift with America Drinks and Goes Home (May 1967) on the album Absolutely Free. The Rolling Stones would follow suit, closing their next album, Their Satanic Majesties Request (December 1967) with a toasting song called On with the Show. The Beatles closed out their entire career with the B side of their penultimate single as a group, Let It Be. It was a novelty song set in a lounge (begun in May 1967 and apparently tinkered with over the next few years) called You Know My Name Look up the Number. (The Beatles' final single, Long and Winding Road / For You Blue, was released after the Beatles had broken up.)

The sound of Something Happened to Me Yesterday is drawn from music of the 1930s and 40s dance hall music that would be explored by Ray Davies of the Kinks during the classic psychedelic period. Brian Jones contributes trumpet and trombone while Jagger & Richards take turns singing verse and chorus. It's the first time Richards sang solo on a Stones recording. The Rolling Stones exhibit in Something Happened a sense a silly humor that the group rarely had allowed itself before, evoking the mood of a good LSD trip, where things are uncertain but it’s OK. The religious mood of LSD is both evoked and given some distance: though sins “committed yesterday” may need to be paid for, Jagger is no “loony” monk praying on a mat for mercy. Such concerns seem “rather drippy” –an expression that evokes well Jagger’s look of disgust when he replaced the word “time” for “night” when singing Let’s Spend the Night Together on the Ed Sullivan show.

The Rolling Stones’ irony about religious scruples is amplified by the old-fashioned music, as if the inarticulateness of expressing the LSD experience over waves of guilt was just square and uptight. The LSD experience that Jagger and Richards sing about seems to take them beyond the realm of right and wrong, where the normal everyday laws of civil society don’t apply. Matthew Greenwald of allmusic considers Something Happened to Me Yesterday as being “one of the most accurate songs about LSD.”

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