"Let's Spend the Night Together" is a song by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, originally released by The Rolling Stones in 1967. It has been covered by various artists, most famously David Bowie in 1973.
Rolling Stones version
Released in the UK
as a single in January 1967, "Let's Spend the Night Together" reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart
. The song was included on the U.S.
version of the Stones' album Between the Buttons
, and was also released there as a single. However, due to the then-controversial nature of the lyrics
(proposing a sexual encounter) most radio stations
opted to play the flip side "Ruby Tuesday
" instead. The two songs charted separately on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100
, "Let's Spend the Night Together" stalling at #55 while "Ruby Tuesday" became a #1 hit. Both "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" feature piano by Jack Nitzsche
In one of the more famous examples of musical censorship, on The Ed Sullivan Show, the band was initially refused permission to perform the number. Sullivan himself told Jagger, "Either the song goes or you go". A compromise was reached to substitute the words "let's spend some time together" in place of "let's spend the night together"; Jagger agreed to change the lyrics but ostentatiously rolled his eyes at the TV camera whilst singing them. In April 2006, for their first-ever performance in China, authorities prohibited the group from performing the song due to its "suggestive lyrics".
- "Let's Spend the Night Together" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 3:26
- "Ruby Tuesday" (Jagger, Richards) – 3:12
"Let's Spend the Night Together" was released on the following studio albums:
A live version appeared on "Still Life" (American Concert 1981) (1982).
After performing the song on a 28-date European tour in spring 1967, it was not until 1981 that The Rolling Stones next played "Let's Spend the Night Together" live in concert. It was often performed on the 1981 and 1982 tours before being again retired for 15 years. The song has been a mainstay of their live performances during their two-year A Bigger Bang Tour
- 1967 European Tour
- 1981 American Tour
- 1982 European Tour
- 1997 North American Tour
- 1998 Spring Tour (North America), European Tour
- 2005-2006 USA & Canada
- 2006 Asia & Australasia, Europe, USA & Canada
- 2007 European Tour
David Bowie version
David Bowie recorded a glam rock cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together" for his Aladdin Sane album, released in April 1973. It was also issued as a single by RCA Records in the U.S. and Europe. The single did not chart.
Bowie's rendition featured pulsating synthesizer effects. The singer added his own words as part of the finale:
- They said we were too young
- Our kind of love was no fun
- But our love comes from above
- Let's make... love
Author Nicholas Pegg describes the recording as "faster and raunchier" than the Stones' performance with "a fresh, futuristic sheen", while NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray considered Bowie to have performed "the unprecedented feat of beating the Stones on one of their own songs", remarking on the track's "polymorphous perversity" and "furious, coked-up drive". However, Rolling Stone's contemporary review found the Bowie version "campy, butch, brittle and unsatisfying", suggesting that "one of the most ostensibly heterosexual calls in rock is made into a bi-anthem".
- "Let's Spend the Night Together" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 3:03
- "Lady Grinning Soul" (David Bowie) – 3:46
The Italian release featured "Watch That Man" on the B-side.
In addition to its appearance on Aladdin Sane
, Bowie's version of "Let's Spend the Night Together" was included on the following compilations: