(I CAN'T GET NO) SATISFACTION by THE ROLLING STONES
On May 6, 1965, The Rolling Stones played to about 3,000 people at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida while on their first US tour. According to an article in the St. Petersburg Times, about 200 young fans got in an altercation with a line of police officers at the show, and The Stones made it through just four songs as chaos ensued. That night, Keith Richards woke up in his hotel room with the guitar riff and lyric "Can't get no satisfaction" in his head. He recorded it on a portable tape deck, went back to sleep, and brought it to the studio that week. The tape contained his guitar riff followed by the sounds of him snoring.
Richards was staying at the Fort Harrison Hotel (known at the time as the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel) when he rolled out of bed with the idea for this song. The hotel still exists. In 1975, it was bought by the Church of Scientology and frequently hosts religious retreats.
The guitar riff is similar to Martha & the Vandellas "Dancing in the Street." Richards thought that is where he got the idea, and was worried that it was too similar.
This was released in the United States on June 6, 1965, just a month after Keith Richards woke up with the guitar riff in his head. In the UK, it wasn't issued until August 20, since The Stones did not want to release it in England until they were there to support it. While they were touring in America, they became very popular in England, so they kept recording singles in the States to keep their momentum until they could return for a tour.
Mick Jagger (1968): "It sounded like a folk song when we first started working on it and Keith didn't like it much, he didn't want it to be a single, he didn't think it would do very well. I think Keith thought it was a bit basic. I don't think he really listened to it properly. He was too close to it and just felt it was a silly kind of riff."
Richards ran his guitar through a Gibson Fuzz Box to create the distortion effect. He had no intention of using the sound on the record, but Gibson had just sent him the device, and he thought the Fuzz Box would create sustained notes to help sketch out the horn section. The band thought it sounded great and wanted to use the sound because it would be very unusual for a rock record. Richards thought it sounded gimmicky and did not like the result, but the rest of the band convinced him to ditch the horn section and use the distorted guitar sound.
There is some debate as to whether this is the first use of fuzz guitar in a rock song. Shiloh Noone sheds some light on the subject in his book Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear: "Anne Margaret does have one claim to fame that embarrassingly whitewashes the rock generation, namely her studio recording of 'I Just Don't Understand' which boasts the first fuzz guitar applied to wax, courtesy of Billy Strange, a one time member of Phil Spector's session crew who later hit the charts with an instrumental version of Monty Norman's 'James Bond theme.' 'I Just Don't Understand' was later launched as a single by Freddie & The Dreamers and also played live by the Beatles at the Cavern. Billy Strange repeated his fuzz on 'Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah' (Bob B Soxx & The Blue Jeans). So what's the buzz about fuzz? Well it did launch the early stages of Psychedelia and boost its prime exponents The Ventures, specifically their 1962 single '2.000lb Bee.' Sure fisted Keith Richard claims he revolutionized the fuzz on the ripping 'Satisfaction' while utilizing his new fuzz box, yet Big Jim Sullivan used it previously on P.J. Proby's 'Hold Me.' Billy Strange exalted the riff that Link Wray had already laid claim to three year previous, so what's the fuzz?"
Richards (1992): "It was the first (fuzztone box) Gibson made. I was screaming for more distortion: This riff's really gotta hang hard and long, and we burnt the amps up and turned the s--t up, and it still wasn't right. And then Ian Stewart went around the corner to Eli Wallach's Music City or something and came around with a distortion box. Try this. It was as off-hand as that. It was just from nowhere. I never got into the thing after that, either. It had a very limited use, but it was just the right time for that song."
Mick Jagger wrote all the lyrics except the line "Can't get no satisfaction." The lyrics deal with what Jagger saw as the two sides of America, the real and phony. He sang about a man looking for authenticity but not being able to find it. Jagger experienced the vast commercialism of America in a big way on their tours, and later learned to exploit it, as The Rolling Stones made truckloads of money through sponsorships and merchandising in the US.
The Stones performed this on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966. The line "Trying to make some girl" was bleeped out by censors.
This was included on the US version of Out Of Our Heads, but not the British. Putting singles on albums was considered ripping people off in England.
The stereo mix has electric instruments on one channel and acoustics on the other.
Jack Nitzsche worked with The Stones on this, playing piano and helping produce it. He also played the tambourine part because he thought Jagger's attempt lacked soul. Nitzsche was a successful producer who worked on many early hits for the Stones, including "Get Off My Cloud" and "Paint It, Black." He died in 2000 at age 63.
Otis Redding recorded this in 1966 at the behest of Steve Cropper and Booker T. Jones, who were part of his backing band at Stax Record. Otis hadn't heard the song, and he didn't like it, so he did a radically different version of the song, using horns and changing many of the words. Using horns was what Keith Richards originally had in mind for the song, and he lauded Redding's take. His version was one of the first British songs covered by a black artist; usually it was the other way around.
The final take was recorded just five days after Richards first came up with the idea. Three weeks later, it was released as a single in the US. An instant hit, it made The Stones stars in America; it helped that they were already touring the US to support it.
There is a song by Chuck Berry called "Thirty Days" with the line "I can't get no satisfaction from the judge." Richards is a huge Chuck Berry fan and it is possible that this is where he got the idea for the title.
Mick Jagger (1995): "People get very blasé about their big hit. It was the song that really made The Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band. You always need one song. We weren't American, and America was a big thing and we always wanted to make it here. It was very impressive the way that song and the popularity of the band became a worldwide thing. It's a signature tune, really, rather than a great, classic painting, 'cause it's only like one thing - a kind of signature that everyone knows. It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs... Which was alienation. Or it's a bit more than that, maybe, but a kind of sexual alienation. Alienation's not quite the right word, but it's one word that would do."
This was featured in the 1984 film Starman, starring Jeff Bridges. The movie is set on a deep space probe in the '70s.
Some of the artists who have covered this include Britney Spears and Devo. Another unusual cover was by The Residents, whose version is much more intense, with distorted, raging vocals, and a heavy guitar solo courteously of Phil "Snakefinger" Lithman.
The Stones don't own the publishing rights to this song. In 1965, they signed a deal with an American lawyer named Allen Klein and let him make some creative accounting maneuvers to avoid steep British taxes. He ended up controlling most of their money, and in order to get out of their contract, The Stones signed over the publishing rights to all the songs they wrote up to 1969. Klein, who died in 2009, still had to pay royalties to the songwriters, but controlled how the songs were used.
Richards says he never plays this on stage the same way twice.
In 2006, The Rolling Stones played this at halftime of Superbowl XL.
The phrase, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," is grammatically incorrect. It's a double negative and really means, "I Can Get Satisfaction."
Keith Richards used his "fuzzbox," but he also played clean guitar during the song, with Brian Jones strumming an acoustic throughout. This meant that Keith had to switch between his two tones during the song, as multiple tracks were sparse back then and overdubs rare. If you listen to the song at :36 you will hear Keith switching on his fuzz with an audible click, just between Jagger's "get" and "no." At about 1:35, Keith is stomping his fuzz too late, slightly missing his cue, ending up playing the riff a little behind. At his next cue (2:33) he probably wants to be sure that his fuzz is on, so you can hear a short but audible fuzz note (accidentally?) played before the actual riff and slightly before Jagger's "I can't get."
In 1991, Snickers paid a reported $4 million to use a knockoff version of this song in a commercial.
The song spent four weeks at #1 in America before getting knocked off by Herman's Hermits "I'm Henry The VIII, I Am." In the UK, it spent two weeks at #1, knocked off by The Walker Brothers "Make It Easy on Yourself."
2,000 LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME by THE ROLLING STONES
Space exploration was big at the time, and was probably an influence on this song. Pink Floyd was making music with a similar sound.
The psychedelic sound reflected the times. It was the summer of love (1967).
Mick Jagger got the idea for this while in jail on drug charges.
The Stones played this on their Steel Wheels tour in 1989. A show in Atlantic City was broadcast with this song shot in 3D, which viewers could see using those goofy glasses.
Various echo effects and drum sounds were added in overdubbing.
Brian Jones played the Mellotron, an early synthesizer. He died in 1969 when he drowned in his swimming pool.
'90s Psychedelic group The Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded a tribute to the Stones' Psychedelic period (and this song) called Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request.
JUMPIN' JACK FLASH by THE ROLLING STONES
Who is "Jack Flash"? His name is Jack Dyer, and he was Keith Richards' gardener. Richards explained to Rolling Stone in 2010: "The lyrics came from a gray dawn at Redlands. Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside, and there was the sound of these boots near the window, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer. It woke Mick up. He said, 'What's that?' I said, 'Oh, that's Jack. That's jumping Jack.' I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase 'Jumping Jack.' Mick said, 'Flash,' and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it."
Bill Wyman wrote some of this song, but it was still credited only to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, which Wyman was never happy about. He explained: "We got to the studio early once and... in fact I think it was a rehearsal studio, I don't think it was a recording studio. And there was just myself, Brian and Charlie - the Stones NEVER arrive at the same time, you know - and Mick and Keith hadn't come. And I was just messing about and I just sat down at the piano and started doing this riff, da-daw, da-da-daw, da-da-daw, and then Brian played a bit of guitar and Charlie was doing a rhythm. We were just messing with it for 20 minutes, just filling in time, and Mick and Keith came in and we stopped and they said, 'Hey, that sounded really good, carry on, what is it? And then the next day we recorded it. Mick wrote great lyrics to it and it turned out to be a really good single."
Mick Jagger: "It's about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things."
As Richards explained in Rolling Stone, he's very proud of his guitar part in this song. "When you get a riff like 'Flash,' you get a great feeling of elation, a wicked glee," he said. "I can hear the whole band take off behind me every time I play 'Flash' - there's this extra sort of turbo overdrive. You jump on the riff and it plays you. Levitation is probably the closest analogy to what I feel."
A promotional film, which was an early music video, was shot with The Stones performing this wearing body paint and outrageous costumes. The paint and costumes would become a trend in the '70s with bands like Kiss.
For The Stones, this was a return to the blues style of their early years. Their previous album, Her Satanic Majesties Request, had more of a psychedelic sound.
In the US, this was a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1986. Her version was produced by Keith Richards, who also played guitar. It hit #21.
The title was used for the name of a Whoopi Goldberg movie in 1986. Aretha Franklin's version was used.
This was intended for Beggar's Banquet, but they left it off the album and released it as a single because The Stones were very pleased with the results.
This was rumored to be about drugs - a "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is supposedly a way to inject heroin into the tear ducts. It was also thought to be about speed - the same pills that were mother's little helpers.
Keith Richards: "I used a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic tuned to open D, six string. Open D or open E, which is the same thing - same intervals - but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a capo on it, to get that really tight sound. And there was another guitar over the top of that, but tuned to Nashville tuning. I learned that from somebody in George Jones' band in San Antonio in 1964. The high-strung guitar was an acoustic, too. Both acoustics were put through a Phillips cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back through an extension speaker."
Don McLean referenced this in "American Pie" with the words "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candlestick, 'Cause fire is the Devil's only friend." The 'Devil' was rumored to be Mick Jagger.
Like the other songs he used in the movie Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese played this song from his original album, giving it more of a raw sound.
In 2004, Chevy used this in a commercial for their Corvette, but the ads were quickly pulled over objections from viewers. The ad showed a young kid driving the car in a very dangerous manner. It was meant to portray the kid dreaming about the car, but a lot of people didn't see it that way.
This song was used as the finale in the rhythm-action game Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS. It is the second half of a two-part scenario, the first half being "Without a Fight." In the scenario, evil aliens known as the Rhombulans invade Earth and ban music, and the game's characters band together to summon the Elite Beat Agents. In "Without a Fight," the Elite Beat Agents help to free the prisoners in the Rhombulans' concentration camp (while simultaneously making music to injure the Rhombulan guards), then dash into the path of a gigantic laser beam to save the newly-freed prisoners. This results in the EBA being turned to stone, but the game's characters chant out "EBA" repeatedly while clapping in unison. As "Jumpin' Jack Flash" begins, the stone EBA statues crack, allowing the EBA to break free. They then proceed to sing and dance, leading Earth's populace into a high-school-prom-like celebration. At the end of the song ("Jumpin Jack Flash is a gas"), the agents and the people harness the power of music to fire a huge laser at the Rhombulan lead UFO, utterly destroying it and saving the planet.
This is the most performed song by the Rolling Stones. The band have played this during every tour since its release in 1968.
In his autobiography, Life (2010), Keith Richards wrote about the mysterious power of this song: "I love 'Satisfaction' dearly and everything, but those chords are pretty much a de rigueur course as far as songwriting goes. But 'Flash' is particularly interesting. It's allllll right now. It's almost Arabic or very old, archaic, classical, the chord setups you could only hear in Gregorian chants or something like that. And it's that weird mixture of your actual rock and roll and at the same time this weird echo of very, very ancient music that you don't even know. It's much older than I am, and that's unbelievable! It's like a recall of something, and I don't know where it came from."
PRODIGAL SON by THE ROLLING STONES
This song was written by Robert Wilkins, a reverend who recorded Delta Blues in the 1920s and 1930s. Keith Richards enjoyed Blues music and discovered the work of Wilkins in the '60s, which is how The Stones came across this song.
The Prodigal Son is a story told in the Bible about a father who has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance early, and goes off to spend the money on hedonistic pursuits. After wasting all the money, he comes home repentant, and the father welcomes him with a feast in his honor. This doesn't go over well with the older son, who feels that he should be rewarded for good behavior, but the father stresses the value of forgiveness.
Robert Wilkins' original version was titled "That's No Way To Get Along." The Stones gave their version the title "Prodigal Son."
In 1928 Wilkins wrote another song called "Rollin' Stone."
This is the only cover song on Beggar's Banquet. The Rolling Stones wanted to be a Blues band when they started out, but they became more Pop-oriented soon after they formed.
STONED by THE ROLLING STONES
This was the first original song The Stones recorded. They stuck to covers of blues songs until then.
The Stones released this as the B-side of "I Wanna Be Your Man."
An obvious title for The Rolling Stones, "Stoned" is far from their signature song. There are very few lyrics on the track, which is indeed about being stoned.
The music is based on the instrumental song "Green Onions" by Booker T. & the MG's.
The songwriting credit on this went to Nanker Phelge, a goofy name for a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards composition. "Nanker" was a wacky face they would make to amuse each other, "Phelge" was a roommate of Keith Richards whom he considered "The most disgusting person ever."