Numero uno

As I may have mentioned eight or nine times, this was the very first record I ever bought:

“Satisfaction” is fifty years old this week, and that just frosts me. (Of course, if you’ve seen my head at any time since 1978, you realize that the frosting process has been going on for some time.) To this day I’m not sure why this particular slab of styrene demanded my 89 cents: I hadn’t been much of a Stones fan up to that point, and it was probably 1980 before I deciphered all the words. Then again, the words weren’t really what the song was about:

“Satisfaction” blends elements of blues, like repeated riffs, “blue notes” and Jagger’s half-shouted, half-sung delivery, with what we now know as rock music (that guitar tone, a riff acting as a song’s hook instead of a vocal melody). These elements — mashed with the simple, repetitive structures of pop music — provide the blueprint for a half-century of rock ‘n’ roll in just under four minutes.

There have been scores of covers of “Satisfaction” — in no particular order, I recommend Otis Redding’s, Cat Power’s and Devo’s — but, as we used to say in those days, the original’s still the greatest. Even if it is fifty years old.


  1. Roger Green »

    6 June 2015 · 7:33 am

    It IS a great hook. Is there a more recognizable one, used even in other people’s live performance, except maybe the Beatles’ Day Tripper?

  2. CGHill »

    6 June 2015 · 11:29 am

    Perhaps not. (And Otis, who knew a good hook when he heard one, also cut a version of “Day Tripper.”)

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