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(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

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"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album Out of Our Heads (US)
B-side "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" (US)
"The Spider and the Fly" (UK)
Released 6 June 1965 (US)
20 August 1965 (UK)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 12 May 1965, RCA Studios, Hollywood
Genre Rock,[1] hard rock[2]
Length 3:44
Label London 45-LON 9766 (US and Canada)
Decca F12220 (UK)
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"The Last Time"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
"Get Off of My Cloud"
Music sample
Music video
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Live)" (Official) on YouTube

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

The song was first released as a single in the United States in June 1965 and also featured on the fourth studio album of the American version of Out of Our Heads, released that July. "Satisfaction" was a hit, giving the Stones their first number one in the US. In the UK, the song initially played only on pirate radio stations because its lyrics were considered too sexually suggestive.[3] It later became the Rolling Stones' fourth number one in the United Kingdom.

The song is considered the greatest song the band ever recorded. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Satisfaction" in the second spot on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", while in 2006 it was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.


Richards recorded the rough version of the riff in a hotel room. He ran through it once before falling asleep. He said when he listened back to it in the morning, there was about two minutes of acoustic guitar before you could hear him drop the pick and "then me snoring for the next forty minutes".[4]

The Rolling Stones first recorded the track on 10 May 1965 at Chess Studios in Chicago[5] – a version featuring Brian Jones on harmonica. The Stones lip-synched to a dub of this version the first time they debuted the song on ABC's Shindig.[6] The group re-recorded it two days later at RCA Studios in Hollywood, with a different beat and the Gibson Maestro fuzzbox adding sustain to the sound of the guitar riff.[7][8] Richards envisioned redoing the track later with a horn section playing the riff: "this was just a little sketch, because, to my mind, the fuzz tone was really there to denote what the horns would be doing."[7] The other Rolling Stones, as well as producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham and sound engineer David Hassinger eventually outvoted Richards and Jagger so the track was selected for release as a single.[8][9] The song's success boosted sales of the Gibson fuzzbox so that the entire available stock sold out by the end of 1965.[10]

Author Gary West cites a different source for the release of, "Satisfaction" in interviewing WTRY radio (Troy, NY) DJ Joe Condon.[11] In the interview, Condon clearly states that his radio station began playing "Satisfaction" on April 29, 1965, making the above recording date impossible. It can be assumed that "Satisfaction" was probably recorded earlier in April, and that WTRY was playing a test pressing.

Like most of the Stones' pre-1966 recordings, "Satisfaction" was originally released in mono only. In the mid-1980s, a true stereo version of the song was released on German and Japanese editions of the CD reissue of Hot Rocks 1964-1971. The stereo mix features a piano (played by session player Jack Nitzsche, who also provides the song's iconic tambourine) and acoustic guitar that are barely audible in the original mono release (both instruments are also audible on a bootleg recording of the instrumental track). This stereo mix of "Satisfaction" also appeared on a radio-promo CD of rare stereo tracks provided to US radio stations in the mid-1980s, but has not yet been featured on a worldwide commercial CD; even later pressings of the German and Japanese Hot Rocks CDs feature the mono mix, making the earlier releases with the stereo mix collectors' items. For the worldwide 2002 reissue of Hot Rocks, an alternative quasi-stereo mix was used featuring the lead guitar, bass, drums, and vocals in the center channel and the acoustic guitar and piano "split" left and right via a delay effect.[12]

Lyrics and melody[edit]

Guitar riff from "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

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 key is E major, but with the 3rd and 7th degree occasionally lowered, creating - in the first part of the verses ("I can't get no ...") - a distinctive mellow sound. The accompanying chords (i.e. E major, D major and A major) are borrowed from the E mixolydian scale, which is often used in Blues and Rock.

The title line is an example of a negative concord. 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. Jagger commented that the dissers "didn't understand the dirtiest line", as afterwards the girl asks him to return the following week as she is "on a losing streak,"[13] an apparent reference to menstruation. 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.[14]

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".[10] When the Rolling Stones performed the song on Shindig! in 1965, the line "trying to make some girl" was censored,[15] although a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show on 13 February 1966 was uncensored. 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.[16]

Release and success[edit]

"Satisfaction" was released as a single in the US by London Records on 6 June 1965, with "The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" as its B-side.[17] The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts in America in the week ending 12 June 1965, remaining there for 14 weeks, reaching the top on 10 July by displacing The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)". "Satisfaction" held the number one spot for four weeks, being knocked off on 7 August by "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" by Herman's Hermits.[18] While in its eighth week on the American charts, the single was certified a gold record award by the RIAA for shipping over a million copies across the United States,[19] giving the band their first of many gold disc awards in America. Later the song was also released by London Records on Out of Our Heads in America.[9] Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song of 1965.[20]

"Satisfaction" was not immediately released by Decca Records in Great Britain. Decca was already in the process of preparing a live Rolling Stones EP for release, so the new single did not come out in Britain until 20 August,[17] with "The Spider and the Fly" on the B-side. The song peaked at number one for two weeks, replacing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe", between 11 and 25 September, before being toppled by the Walker Brothers' "Make It Easy on Yourself".[18]

In the decades since its release, "Satisfaction" has repeatedly been acclaimed by the music industry. In 1976, Britain's New Musical Express listed "Satisfaction" 7th among the top 100 singles of all time. There was a resurgence of interest in the song after it was prominently featured in the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now. In 1991, Vox listed "Satisfaction" among "100 records that shook the world".[21] In 1999, BMI named "Satisfaction" as the 91st-most performed song of the 20th century. In 2000, VH1 listed "Satisfaction" first among its "Top 100 Greatest Rock Songs";[22] the same year, "Satisfaction" also finished runner-up to "Yesterday" in a list jointly compiled by Rolling Stone and MTV.[23] In 2003, Q placed the song 68th out of its "1001 Best Songs Ever". In 2004, Rolling Stone's panel of judges named "Satisfaction" as the second-greatest song of all time, coming in second to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".[24] Newsweek has called the opening riff "five notes that shook the world".[25]

Jagger said of "Satisfaction":

"it was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band... 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."[9]

The song has become a staple at Rolling Stones shows. They have performed it on nearly every tour since its release, and concert renditions have been included on the albums Got Live If You Want It!, Still Life (American Concert 1981), Flashpoint, Live Licks, Shine a Light, and Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live. One unusual rendition is included in Robert Frank's film Cocksucker Blues from the 1972 tour, when the song was performed by both the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder's band as the second half of a medley with Wonder's "Uptight".

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart[18] 1
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 1
French Singles Chart 3
German Singles Chart 1
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 1
US Billboard Top Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles[27] 19
US Cashbox Top Singles[28] 1

Music video[edit]

A live performance from Hampton Roads, Virginia in 1981 was released as an official music video.


Region Certification
Italy (FIMI)[29] Gold
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold


Preceded by
"I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher
UK number-one single
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

9 September 1965 – 22 September 1965 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Make It Easy on Yourself" by The Walker Brothers

Cover versions[edit]

Otis Redding[edit]

Otis Redding recorded a rendition of "Satisfaction" for his album Otis Blue, 1965. Otis claimed that he did not know the lyrics of the song, saying: "I use a lot of words different than the Stones' version," Redding noted. "That's because I made them up."[31] Of that session, Steve Cropper said, "...if you ever listened to the record you can hardly understand the lyrics, right? I set down to a record player and copied down what I thought the lyrics were and I handed Otis a piece of paper and before we got through with the cut, he threw the paper on the floor and that was it." [32] Music writer Robert Christgau described it as an "anarchic reading" of the Stones' original.[33] Redding's soul-style arrangement featured horns playing the main riff,[34] as Keith Richards had originally intended. In 2003, Ronnie Wood noted that the Rolling Stones' later concert renditions of the number reflect Redding's interpretation.[7]


"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
Single by Devo
from the album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
B-side "Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')"
Released September 1977
Format 7"
Recorded July 1977
Genre New wave
Length 3:00
Label Booji Boy
Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Jagger/Richard
Producer(s) Brian Eno
Chuck Statler
Devo singles chronology
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
"Be Stiff"

American new wave band Devo released their rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as a single in 1977. Steve Huey of Allmusic stated that the cover version "reworks the original's alienation into a spastic freak-out that's nearly unrecognizable".[35] This version of the song was featured prominently in the 1995 Martin Scorsese motion picture Casino.

The quirky music video for the song and several others from this album received significant airplay on the upstart MTV. A notable feature of the video was dancer Craig Allen Rothwell, known as Spazz Attack, whose signature dance move, a forward flip onto his back, drew him significant attention.[36]

Chart (1977) Peak
UK Singles Chart 41

Britney Spears[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Oops!... I Did It Again (album).

Britney Spears recorded the song with producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins for her second studio album Oops!... I Did It Again on 24 February 2000 at Pacifique Recording Studios (Hollywood).[37]

Spears' cover received mixed reviews from critics. While reviewing Oops!, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic selected the song as Track Pick describing "the clenched-funk revision of the Stones' deathless 'Satisfaction'" as emblematic of a "bewildering magpie aesthetic" on Spears' early albums.[38] Robert Christgau gave the song a 'pair of scissors' icon on his website that means the cover "is a good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money",[39] while a New Musical Express review gave the cover a negative review, saying, "the long-awaited [...] [Spears'] cover of the Stones' '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' is a letdown".[40]

Spears first performed the cover on her 2000's Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour. The performance ended with a dance sequence set to the familiar Richards guitar lick that was omitted from her recorded version (played here by her guitarist "Skip").[41] Spears also performed "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" on the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards.[42]

Other covers[edit]


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Allmusic. 
  2. ^ Quentin James Schultze, Dancing in the dark: youth, popular culture, and the electronic media, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1991), ISBN 0802805302, p150
  3. ^ Nuzum, Eric (2009). Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-197673-3. 
  4. ^ Keith Richards - In His Own Words by Mick St Michael, Omnibus Press, 1994, page 24. ISBN 0-7119-3634-X
  5. ^ Zentgraf, Nico. "The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962–2008". Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  6. ^ I Can't Get No Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones - YouTube
  7. ^ a b c McPherson, Ian. "Track Talk: Satisfaction". Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling With the Stones. DK Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 0-7894-9998-3. 
  9. ^ a b c "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 4 April 2006.
  10. ^ a b "Sold on Song: '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'". BBC. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  11. ^ "DJ Joe Condon Says His Radio Station – WTRY Played Satisfaction April 29". 
  12. ^ "The Rolling Stones In Stereo". 27 August 2002. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Going to Pot". Time. 1 July 1966. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  14. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Song review: '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  15. ^ "Rolling Stones, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny & Cher, Jackie DeShannon". Shindig!. Season 1. Episode 37. 26 May 1965. 
  16. ^ "ABC has no ‘Satisfaction’ with Stones’ lyrics: Network says NFL enforced 5-second delay on group’s halftime show". 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2007. 
  17. ^ a b Elliott, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books. p. 69. ISBN 1-901447-04-9. 
  18. ^ a b c "No. 1 UK Hit Singles of 1965". Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  19. ^ "American single certifications – The Rolling Stones – (I Can_t Get No) Satisfaction". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 January 2011.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  20. ^ "Number One Song of the Year: 1946-2014". Bob Borst's Home of Pop Culture. 
  21. ^ "VOX Magazine's 100 records that shook the world". VOX Magazine, January 1991. Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll (20–1)". VH1. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  23. ^ "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Pop Songs". Rolling Stone Magazine, December 2000. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "500 Greatest Songs". Retrieved 11 October 2004.
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 4 April 2006.
  26. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc. p. 763. ISBN 0898201888. 
  27. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 499. 
  28. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 501. 
  29. ^ "Italian single certifications – The Rolling Stones – (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 12 January 2015.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  30. ^ "American single certifications – The Rolling Stones – (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 12 January 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  31. ^ 74) Otis Blue: Rolling Stone
  32. ^ Wenner, Jann (24 August 1968). "The Rolling Stone Roundtable: Booker T & the MGs". Rolling Stone (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  33. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 2008). "Otis Redding: Otis Blue—Otis Redding Sings Soul". Blender. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 51 – The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 7] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  35. ^ Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! review. Allmusic. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  36. ^ Craig Allen Rothwell at the Internet Movie Database
  37. ^ Moss, Corey. (23 February 2000) News - Articles - 1434390 - 20000223. Retrieved on 12 August 2013.
  38. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (16 May 2000). "Oops!... I Did It Again – Review". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  39. ^ Christgau, Robert (16 May 2000). "CG: Britney". Robert Christgau. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  40. ^ "Oops!... I Did It Again – Review". New Musical Express. UK: Time Inc. 29 May 2000. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  41. ^ Miller, Andrew (20 July 2000). "Britney Spears/Mikaila". The Pitch (Village Voice Media). Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  42. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards of 2000". MTV Networks. 6 September 2000. Retrieved 27 August 2011. "Satisfaction," which Skip ended by pounding out the familiar riff while Britney and the dancers frolicked. 
  43. ^ Jerry Lee Lewis, The Complete London Sessions, Vol. 1 Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  44. ^ "Frankie Ruiz: Leyenda Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 

External links[edit]