The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in 1965. It was written byMick Jagger  and Keith Richards and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. Richards’s throwaway three-note guitar riff — intended to be replaced by horns — opens and drives the song. The lyrics refer to sexual frustration and the commercialism of America.

Keith Richards states that he came up with the guitar riff for the song in his sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, recording the riff and the words „I can’t get no satisfaction” on a cassette recorder and promptly falling back to sleep.He would later describe the tape as: „two minutes of ‘Satisfaction’ and 40 minutes of me snoring.” He and Jagger finished writing the song at the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, in May 1965. Jagger wrote most of the lyrics after being confined to their Clearwater hotel rooms and not permitted to play, not as a statement about the rampant commercialism that the Rolling Stones had seen in America.

Richards was concerned that the riff sounded too much like Martha and the Vandellas’ „Dancing in the Street”. Jagger later said: „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.”Jagger has also pointed out that the title lyrics closely resemble a line from Chuck Berry’s „30 Days”. (Berry’s lyric is „If I don’t get no satisfaction from the judge”.)

The song opens with the guitar riff, which is joined by the bass halfway through. It is repeated three times with the drums and acoustic guitar before the vocal enters with the line: „I can’t get no satisfaction”. The title line is an example of a double negative resolving to a negative, a common usage in colloquial English. Jagger sings the verses in a tone hovering between cynical commentary and frustrated protest, and then leaps half singing and half yelling into the chorus, where the guitar riff reappears. The lyrics outline the singer’s irritation with the increasing commercialism of the modern world, where the radio broadcasts „useless information” and a man on television tells him „how white my shirts can be – but he can’t be a man ‘cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Jagger also describes the stress of being a celebrity, and the tensions of touring. The reference in the verse to not getting any „girl reaction” was fairly controversial in its day, interpreted by some listeners (and radio programmers) as meaning a girl willing to have sex. Particularly shocking to some people was a reference to a girl having her period (being „on a losing streak”). The song closes with a fairly subdued repetition of the song’s title, followed suddenly by a full shout of the line, with the final words repeated into the fade-out.

In its day the song was perceived as disturbing because of both its sexual connotations and the negative view of commercialism and other aspects of modern culture; critic Paul Gambaccini stated: „The lyrics to this were truly threatening to an older audience. This song was perceived as an attack on the status quo”. When the Rolling Stones performed the song on Shindig! in 1965, the line „trying to make some girl” was censored. Forty years later, when the band performed three songs during the February 2006 Super Bowl XL halftime show, „Satisfaction” was the only one of the three songs not censored as it was broadcast.

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m watchin’ my TV
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ‘cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarrettes as me
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no girl reaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m ridin’ round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signing that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
‘Cause you see I’m on losing streak
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no, I can’t get no
I can’t get no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction

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