|While in Clearwater, Florida on The Stones
third US tour in 1965, 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 when he rolled out of bed with the idea for this. 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 and 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 US 3 months before it
was released in England, 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." (thanks, bertrand - Paris, France)
|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 had not been done on 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.
|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 shit 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." (thanks, bertrand - Paris, France)
|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
|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. He used
horns in his version, which was what Richards originally had in mind
for the song. This 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 5 days after
Richards first came up with the idea. 3 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
|There is a song by Chuck Berry called "30 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 blase
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." (thanks,
bertrand - Paris, France)
|This was featured in the 1984 film Starman,
starring Jeff Bridges. The movie is set on a deep space probe in the
'70s. (thanks, jeff - ozark, MO)
|Sesame Street did a version of this
called "(I Can't Get No) Cooperation." It was about a school kid who
couldn't find anyone to play jump rope or seesaw with.
|Some of the artists who have covered this
include Britney Spears and Devo.
|The Stones don't own the publishing rights to
this. 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.
|Richards says he never plays this on stage the
same way twice. (thanks, Christopher - Chicago, IL)
|In 2006, The Rolling Stones played this at
halftime of Superbowl XL. (thanks, Jonathan - Toronto, Canada)