Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Lead vocalist Mick Jagger was only 23 years old when The Rolling Stones released "Ruby Tuesday," a now-classic song that blasted to the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1967 and cemented its place in rock and roll history.
Ironically, what is arguably the most famous "ruby" song of all time has nothing to do with July's mesmerizing official gemstone. It's about a lost love.
The famous reprise goes like this… “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday / Who could hang a name on you? / When you change with every new day / Still I’m gonna miss you.”
Officially composed by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, the hauntingly beautiful ballad was inspired by Richards' emotionally devastating breakup with his girlfriend, Linda Keith, who left him for a poet. Richards actually wrote the song with an assist from then-band member Brian Jones, who wasn't credited on the record.
“That’s the first time I felt the deep cut,” Richards explained in his 2010 autobiography. “The thing about being a songwriter is… you can find consolation in writing about it, and pour it out… It becomes an experience, a feeling, or a conglomeration of experiences. Basically, Linda is ‘Ruby Tuesday.’”
The Rolling Stones released the original 45 of “Ruby Tuesday” in January of 1967. It had been intended as the B side of “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” another Stones hit, but radio deejays at the time were uncomfortable with the adult theme of the A side, and chose to flip it. Today, the 45 is referred to as a double-A-sided record. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #310 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The Rolling Stones are credited with more than 230 million record sales. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2010 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
Guitarist Richards turned 79 in December and Jagger will be celebrating his 80th birthday on July 26. The original band members are still active, along with bassist Ronnie Wood (76). Drummer Charlie Watts passed away in August of 2021 at the age of 80.
Please check out the classic video of The Rolling Stones performing “Ruby Tuesday.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
Written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Performed by The Rolling Stones.
She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you
Don’t question why she needs to be so free
She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost, at such a cost
“There’s no time to lose,” I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain’t life unkind?
Credit: Rolling Stones photo by Jim Pietryga, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.