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The Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards co-wrote Marianne Faithfull’s most famous song. Jagger said he’d never do something similar again. On the other hand, Richards said the success of the song proved something about The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in front of a building
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards | Bettmann / Contributor

Mick Jagger revealed whether Marianne Faithfull’s most famous song was initially intended for The Rolling Stones

During a 1968 interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger discussed what his band did after recording “I Wanna Be Your Man.” “Next came ‘As Tears Go By.’ We never dreamed of doing that ourselves when we wrote it. We just gave it straight to Marianne [Faithfull]. We wrote a lot of songs for other people most of which were very unsuccessful.”

Jagger was asked if he and Richards wrote “As Tears Go By” for Faithfull. “Yeah, but I could never do it again,” he replied. “I keep trying, night after night.”

Keith Richards revealed how The Rolling Stones reacted to the success of the ‘moldy old’ song

The book Keith Richards on Keith Richards: Interviews & Encounters includes a 1986 interview. He discussed working with producer Andrew Loog Oldman, who co-wrote “As Tears Go By.” “It was Andrew Oldham who made it very apparent very quickly,” he said. “He said ‘You really got to buckle down and try and start writing songs because another album or two and you’re going to be forever at the mercy of other songwriters. You’re always gonna be hunting around for material.’

“So the first song, ‘As Tears Go By,’ was a great encouragement because, moldy old ballad as it was in its way, it did come out as a record and did all right,” Richards continued. “And that’s all you need to be able to say ‘OK, I’m a songwriter as well.'”


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How Marianne Faithfull’s ‘As Tears Go By’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“As Tears Go By” became Faithfull’s highest-charting single in the United States. It reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for nine weeks. The single appeared on Faithfull’s debut album Marianne Faithfull, which hit No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 31 weeks. It was Faithfull’s most successful album in the U.S.

According to The Official Charts Company, “As Tears Go By” became Faithfull’s second-biggest hit in the United Kingdom. There, the track reached No. 9 and lasted 13 weeks on the chart. On the other hand, “Come and Stay With Me” peaked at No. 4 and lasted 13 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, Marianne Faithfull hit No. 15 in the U.K. and spent two weeks on the chart.

“As Tears Go By” helped make Faithfull a star and it wouldn’t be the same without Jagger and Richards.