Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rolling Stones: 2000 Light Years From Home

Friday’s Flipside takes us back to 1968 and the psychedelic “B” side to the Rolling Stones’ “She’s A Rainbow.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good recording of the single mix which starts right before the bass guitar intro. With that said, here’s the longer LP version of “2000 Light Years from Home.”

It is an interesting song for the Stones and there is a backing vocal that sounds like Yoko Ono; however, Yoko is not credited on the LP. It could be Anita Pallenberg who is the only female credited with singing backup, and who had been the love interest of first Brian Jones and then later Keith Richards. To me it sounds like one of those falsetto faux female voices that are characteristic of Monty Python skits. In reality, it is probably one of the Rolling Stones doing this high harmony.

Demo Recording of the Instrumental Track

The lyrics were written by Mick Jagger while in prison on drug charges and the unusual backing track had been recorded by the band under the working title of “Toffee Apple.” Many times bands would have an initial melody and would sing nonsensical words until the real lyrics were composed. I bet you didn’t know that The Beatles’ “Yesterday” was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs.” Think about singing, “Scrambled Eggs, da da da da da da – scrambled eggs.”

I’m not sure how the Stones sang “Toffee Apple” to the menagerie of psychedelia found in this song. That might be a little difficult. The strings were actually Brian Jones on Mellotron. There are also backwards recordings and the instrument that makes this tune is Bill Wyman’s bass. Check out the original backing track demo. It is missing some of the sound effects that were added for the official release.


  1. A band I was in during the early 70s covered this tune. We always tried to choose the non-obvious songs from band we liked. The obvious one at the time would have been Honky Tonk Women. It was a pleasant surprise to hear the band do the song on their Steel Wheels tour using a remarkably similar arrangement compared to the one we did. Thanks for the background on the tune. BTW, I thought the Scrambled Eggs thing was common knowledge by now. :)

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