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“Satisfaction”: The story behind the Rolling Stones’ most iconic song

Keith Richards’ dream gave us one of the greatest hits of the Rolling Stones.

The most emblematic song of the Rolling Stones is definitely “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction;” besides is considered one of the best songs in contemporary music. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and released in 1965.

Keith Richards’ strange dream

The anecdote of how the song came about is well known to fans. The base melody appeared in a dream to the band’s guitarist, Keith Richards, while he was in a hotel in Florida, and along with the melody came the phrase “Can’t get no satisfaction;” so he got up, took his guitar and recorded the idea that was going around in his head.

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When he woke up, he found the recording with the riff next to a snoring session. Hours later, Richards showed the recording to Mick Jagger, who took it upon himself to compose the lyrics by the pool of the hotel they were staying at the time.

The recording of a second version

Four days later, they recorded the first version at Chess Studios in Chicago, a version that was not at all successful. However, despite the disappointment they decided to give it another chance, and, on May 12, they recorded the definitive version at RCA Studios in Los Angeles under the production of the band’s manager, Andrew Loog Oldham.

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For this second version, keyboardist and road manager Ian Stewart gave Keith a Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone pedal, which allowed “Satisfaction” to have a distorted feel. After recording it, neither Mick nor Keith planned to release it as a single, but it was Loog Oldham who saw potential.

The Rolling Stones were never the perfect or ideal band, and with “Satisfaction” they prove it since as Bill Janovitz mentions in his book Rocks Off, the song has some mistakes that they decided to keep. For example, at minute 1:36 Keith takes a long time to turn on the pedal, while minutes later, he does it seconds before time, being these imperfections are the Stones’ hallmark.

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The anthem of a generation

The song became an anthem for the generation of the 60s that was dissatisfied with what they were living, as it speaks of the frustration and displeasure of society for what was established, a principle that can be observed in the genre and the following generations that have used music as a form of expression.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was released as a single on June 6, 1965, in the United States, making the song his first number one in the country and his fourth single to obtain that position in the United Kingdom, and although the song is part of his album Out of Our Heads in the American version, it is not part of the British version of the album.

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Although the British band had a great reputation, this song gave them an even greater leap in fame. Forty years later, Rolling Stones magazine ranked “Satisfaction” second among the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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