This is one of the less obscure songs Paul Mahern and I chose for the ECHOES record. I knew the song from the Rolling Stones version. Paul played me the Marianne Faithfull version, which I’m sure I had heard at some point but didn’t remember.
I’m not sure but this might be one of the songs that came about when Andrew Oldham famously locked Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in the kitchen and wouldn’t let them out until they wrote a song. But whatever the origin or inspiration, it was a definite success.
The simplicity of the story, and the unique way in which such a universal sentiment is expressed, is what makes this song so wonderful. Fingerpicking the melody (the way John Prine might play it), and capo-ing high up on the neck of the guitar, gave it an interesting sound and allowed me to sing it my own way.
Paul Mahern’s stroke of genius about bringing the recording of the French children on the playground into the instrumental section of the song, and the echo effects really transformed it into something special, a bit of a “3 minute movie” as they say.
For copyright reasons, I can’t reproduce the song lyrics on this page, but I think you can find them online pretty easily.
As Tears Go By appears on ECHOES.