Can't You Hear Me Knocking

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"Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
Song by the Rolling Stones
from the album Sticky Fingers
Released23 April 1971
RecordedMarch–May 1970
StudioOlympic, London
LabelRolling Stones/Atlantic
Producer(s)Jimmy Miller

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" is a song by English rock band the Rolling Stones from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers. The song is over seven minutes long, and begins with a Keith Richards open-G tuned guitar intro. At two minutes and forty-three seconds, an instrumental break begins, with Rocky Dijon on congas; tenor saxophonist Bobby Keys performs an extended saxophone solo over the guitar work of Richards and Mick Taylor, punctuated by the organ work of Billy Preston. At 4:40 Taylor takes over from Richards and carries the song to its finish with a lengthy guitar solo.[1] The song is featured in the films Casino, Blow, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as the Netflix drama series Ozark, season 1 episode 4, at the beginning and the end.

Composition and recording[edit]

Richards described writing the guitar riff:

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" came out flying – I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we're thinking, hey, this is some groove. So it was smiles all around. For a guitar player it's no big deal to play, the chopping, staccato bursts of chords, very direct and spare.[1]

In 2002, Richards commented on the recording:

The jam at the end wasn't inspired by Carlos Santana. We didn't even know they were still taping. We thought we'd finished. We were just rambling and they kept the tape rolling. I figured we'd just fade it off. It was only when we heard the playback that we realised, Oh, they kept it going. Basically we realised we had two bits of music. There's the song and there's the jam. [1]

Taylor recalled in a 1979 interview:

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" ... is one of my favourites ... [The jam at the end] just happened by accident; that was never planned. Towards the end of the song I just felt like carrying on playing. Everybody was putting their instruments down, but the tape was still rolling and it sounded good, so everybody quickly picked up their instruments again and carried on playing. It just happened, and it was a one-take thing. A lot of people seem to really like that part.[1]

Taylor added, "I used a brown Gibson ES-345 for 'Dead Flowers' and the solo on 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking'."[1]

Jagger noted in the Spotify Landmark interview on the album that the key was too high for his voice and that "I [did] lots of vocals, harmonies to sort of hide the fact that I didn't really hit the notes that great in the chorus bits."[2]

An early alternate take of the song (with dummy/placeholder lyrics) was released in June 2015 on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions of the reissued Sticky Fingers album.


In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed it at number 25 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time."[3]

The Rolling Stones live performances[edit]

The number was part of the Rolling Stones' concert repertoire during their Licks Tour in 2002–2003 and A Bigger Bang Tour in 2005–2007. In these renditions, Jagger played a harmonica solo after Keys' sax solo, and Ronnie Wood performed the extended guitar solo. A live recording was released on the band's 2003 DVD set Four Flicks and on the 2004 concert album Live Licks. It was also performed live during shows in 2013, with Mick Taylor appearing as a special guest with the band. Another live version was published on the release Sticky Fingers Live - From The Vault, recorded on May 20th, 2015 at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, California, where the band played the whole Sticky Fingers album.


Sticky Fingers[edit]

The Rolling Stones

Additional musicians

Live Licks[edit]

The Rolling Stones

  • Mick Jagger – vocals, harmonica
  • Keith Richards – guitar
  • Ronnie Wood – guitar
  • Charlie Watts – drums

Additional musicians


  1. ^ a b c d e McPherson, Ian. "Track Talk: Can't You Hear Me Knocking". Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  2. ^ "On "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", a song by The Rolling Stones on Spotify". 23 April 1971. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  3. ^ Stone, Rolling. "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time - Number 25 of 100". Retrieved 5 July 2009.

External links[edit]