It’s 50 years since The Rolling Stones topped the UK charts with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in September 1965 (the ninth to be precise). To celebrate its glorious half century as the band’s signature anthem, author and Q writer Simon Goddard has turned their real life adventures into a bawdy picaresque novel called Rollaresque, Or The Rakish Progress Of The Rolling Stones, complete with mock-Dickensian illustrations. His wordy ripping yarn tells us, amongst other things, what was “the anus of doom” and how it nearly killed the band, which member once tricked German security guards into drinking his urine, who made Marianne Faithfull feel like “a freshly-squeezed grape” and what Mick Jagger once did to worry the wimples of a choir of nuns singing Kumbaya. We’ve got three copies of Rollaresque to give away. For a chance to win one, take a look below at our top ten “facts” about Jagger and Richards’ 50 year-old classic – nine of which are absolutely true, one of which is a colossal fib:
1. Keith Richards claimed he wrote Satisfaction “in his sleep”, waking up long enough to hum and strum the basics into a bedside recorder before falling back unconscious. The next day he played the tape back to find five minutes of Satisfaction “and 40 minutes of snoring.”
2. The song’s most explicit musical influences include Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied (covered by the Stones on their second album), Chuck Berry’s Thirty Days (a Jagger and Richards favourite including the line “I don’t get no satisfaction”) and the tune of Martha & The Vandellas’ Motown stomper Nowhere To Run.
3. It was written over a combined distance of approximately 4422 miles: starting in Keith’s flat in St John’s Wood, London, the lyrics were completed by Mick while on tour in Clearwater, Florida.
4. The song’s title became a self-fulfilling prophecy when they first tried to record it at Chess studios in Chicago in May 1965. This “unsatisfying” first draft was binned.
5. Manager Andrew Loog Oldham encouraged them to try again at their next session in Hollywood. By then, Keith had acquired a strange new effects pedal, the Gibson Maestro Fuzz-Tone. Thanks to this secret weapon, take two became The Hit.
6. America got Satisfaction a whole two months before the Brits – it was first released in the States in June 1965, becoming the Stones’ first US number one that July, repeating the feat in the UK charts on 9 September.
7. As listed in the lyrics, the song’s full itinerary of unsatisfactory gripes amounts to: radio DJs; television advertising; and, to quote Rollaresque, “females who deny themselves all prospects of coalition during those weeks when the moon’s phase of gibbous prompts bloody imbroglio of the menses.” Or in plainer English: menstruation (the “losing streak” of Jagger’s woes).
8. Thanks to ex-manager Allen Klein who still owned the publishing, Satisfaction itself ended up in a 1991 TV ad campaign for Snickers. Klein “did not need, nor did I seek” Jagger or Richards’ consent. In any case, Mick and Keith still pocketed a reported $2.8 million from the deal between them.
9. Ringo Starr once mocked the song during a 1965 US press conference, claiming that “even under anaesthetic I could keep time better than Charlie Watts”. Jagger and Richards rallied to their drummer’s defence by penning the song Out Of Time as a sarcastic riposte to the bitchy Beatle’s comments.
10. Jealous guitarist Brian Jones not only protested to friends that he was the song’s real author but regularly sabotaged it in concert by playing the riff to Popeye The Sailor Man instead. Ironically, Satisfaction would be the last song he ever played on stage with the Stones in May 1968.
So which of the above “facts” is very obviously a whopping lie? If you think you know, tell us below – you’ve got until the end of 11 September to enter. Rollaresque – The Rakish Progress Of The Rolling Stones by Simon Goddard is out now, published by Ebury Press.