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FLASHBACK: The Rolling Stones begin recording ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’

13th June 1969: 20-year-old Mick Taylor, former lead guitarist of the John Mayall rhythm and blues group replaces Brian Jones as the new member of the Rolling Stones. The group pose in Hyde Park, London – (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman. (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

Co-writer Keith Richards began writing the Satisfaction in the early hours of the previous May 7th, while the group was on tour in Clearwater, Florida. In the middle of the night, Richards woke up with the distinctive eight-note riff in his head and recorded it on a portable tape recorder he traveled with. According to Richards, the actual tape contains 15 seconds of the song’s riff and “40 minutes of him snoring.”

The next morning, Richards played the demo to Mick Jagger with the simple instructions that, “The line that goes with this riff is ‘I can’t get no satisfaction.'” Jagger immediately wrote a set of lyrics that were considered risque for 1965. He recalled to the BBC that, “The lyrics to this were truly threatening to an older audience. This song was perceived as an attack on the status quo.”

When the group began sessions for the song on May 10th at Chicago’s Chess Studios, where their idols Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Howlin’ Wolf had recorded their classic hits, Richards experimented with a new Gibson Fuzz Box for his guitar. He had originally intended for a horn section to supply the song’s introduction, but it was the rest of the band — which then included the late Brian Jones on guitar, bassist Bill Wyman, and drummer Charlie Watts — that convinced him to keep the “fuzz guitar” on the track despite Richards’ fear that it sounded “too gimmicky.”

Years later, Richards said that he originally thought the song would only be good for use as an album track, admitting to author Phillip Norman that, “I never thought it was commercial enough to be a single.”