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The Rolling Stones — You Can't Always Get What You Want
Album: Let It Bleed
Avg rating:
8.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3643









Released: 1969
Length: 7:20
Plays (last 30 days): 2
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"
I said to him

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need

You get what you need--yeah, oh baby

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
Comments (527)add comment
The choir singers in this song are all either geriatrics or dead by now
 rpdevotee wrote:
If I never hear this song again as long as I live, it will be too soon
 

Man, you look pretty ill . . . . Let's have a soda . . . . What's your favorite flavor?


If I never hear this song again as long as I live, it will be too soon
Another song ruined by classic rock radio. What I mean is that this is one of the greats, hands down an incredible song that is timeless and perfect.  But those damn FM classic rock stations played this to no end (like the typical  top 3 Led Zep and Pink Floyd songs), and I just got sick of it.  Then in 2002 I discovered RP, and this is my #1 sources for music listening outside of my personal CDs/MP3s.  And with that 20 years of RP, I have been given a break from so many overplayed classic rock songs that I can now enjoy them again.  So....that is a long way of saying Thanks RP!!!!!
Brilliant. {#Bananajam}
Now when I hear this song I can't help to think of Ghislaine Maxwell
No sympathy for the devil. 
The first album I bought (when it was released). I feel lucky that I grew up in an era of such brilliant music.
 iloveradio wrote:
Anything on Let It Bleed is a 10
 

As well as Sticky Fingers .. basically almost everything from the time they stopped trying to compete with the Beatles through the early 70's era in the Stones catalog.
 iloveradio wrote:
Anything on Let It Bleed is a 10
 


Along with Sticky Fingers !

 hmulhall wrote:
Let it Bleed is a Great Record
 
Along with Sticky Fingers ! 
Yew kain alwaz git wha chew wan! Cmon sing it! Sing it!
My introduction to popular music was through two albums - Abbey Road by The Beatles and Let It Bleed by The Stones.  To this day I can't decide which I prefer, and both would be top of my Desert Island Discs.   This song is a 10.
 mread wrote:

"Mother Stones"
I like it.
 
Sorry damn spell checker meant another stones song I never want to hear again 
This song is always hot always cool Keep em coming Bill Thanks
 jp33442 wrote:
A mother stones song that I never want to hear again
 
"Mother Stones"
I like it.
A mother stones song that I never want to hear again
The Big Chill made this unlistenable
High school, late 70s... accompanied my mom to the mall on Dec 24th - her for some last minute emergency and me to just sit and watch the panic at the zoo. At some point realized the muzak was playing this little admonition... PERFICK.
 BerkeleyAlice wrote:
I just can't listen to this anymore now that it is associated with a certain politician's campaign rallies. Further, if anyone even listened or read the lyrics they would realize this song is totally wrong for a campaign! WTH?
 
Don't let that asshole ruin this song for you. He is definitely not worth the effort to even think about.
 idiot_wind wrote:
Geeez,

The just don't write them like this anymore, do they?

A thousand years from now, they will still be calling this a masterpiece. 
 
Possibly a perfect Rock-n-Roll song.
 Kilroy wrote:
Had to knock this down from a 10 to a 5. After the High Fidelity rant and Dear Leader's use of the song, it is tainted for me.... too bad because I used to love it.
 
Don't blame the Glimmer Twins for unauthorized use of their songs.

And I think it's PERFECT: Mr. Trump is my President. I can't always get what I want.
Anything on Let It Bleed is a 10
This "Pearls Before Swine" strip forever changed this song for me.

https://cheezburger.com/5369861888/id-like-to-roll-some-stones-at-that-rat

I just can't listen to this anymore now that it is associated with a certain politician's campaign rallies. Further, if anyone even listened or read the lyrics they would realize this song is totally wrong for a campaign! WTH?
Some things never lose their attraction.  And by that I mean, the things you want but don't get.
 radekker wrote:
Not again!
It's been two years.  Time to let it go.

 HudValGal wrote:
Really wanted to use this song at my wedding while walking down the aisle, but my ex-husband wouldn't allow it.
 
I see why he is an ex.
 westslope wrote:
I always wondered if some of the lyrics were inspired by introductory economics courses at the London School of Economics.  If not an economics perhaps a philosophy course where this kind of material is covered.

Wants versus 'needs'.   

Sufficient versus necessary conditions.
 
And I always wondered if I was stoned enough to enjoy the French Horn in a Rock Song....(the answer is a HELL YES!!) 

And what the hell, I'm going to bump my 9 to a 10....in large part due to: 

Trump campaign use[edit]

President Donald Trump played the Rolling Stones' recording of the song at campaign appearances during the 2016 Republican primaries and the presidential election, including his nationally televised acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July.[10] After the convention, the band stated publicly that they do not endorse Trump and requested that he cease all use of their songs immediately.[11] Despite the requests to stop, Trump continued using the song at campaign rallies before and after the 2016 election.[12] According to Jagger, the band considers the use of the song as a play-out at rallies to be "odd," given that it is a "sort of doomy ballad about drugs in Chelsea."[13]

Long Live RP!!
 On_The_Beach wrote:

You can't always get what you want.
 
true. accept this rule and be happy... easy.
This as close to a perfect rock and roll song as a rock and roll song can be!  {#Bananajam}{#Drummer}{#Bananapiano}{#Sunny}
 HudValGal wrote:
Really wanted to use this song at my wedding while walking down the aisle, but my ex-husband wouldn't allow it.
 
HaHaHaHa!!!! Love it. ;)
I always wondered if some of the lyrics were inspired by introductory economics courses at the London School of Economics.  If not an economics perhaps a philosophy course where this kind of material is covered.

Wants versus 'needs'.   

Sufficient versus necessary conditions.
Yew kaint always git whatchu want.  
That song, that fits so perfectly the Californication's pilot opening...
 chirion wrote:
Why can't you play other Stone's songs, only this over and over? 
 
You can't always get what you want.
The title of this tune depicts the sentiment as this song starts playing.
Why can't you play other Stone's songs, only this over and over? 
 expatlar wrote:
I'm by no means a real "Stones fan", I've known those guys over the years :-), but boy they have their share of songs like this that always make me turn it up.

 
Almost exactly what I wanted to say....although my "fandom" has grown over the last month or so as I've done some active listening to this album (Let it Bleed) and I've concluded that it's my favorite RS album.  In fact this song on its own rates maybe a 7 or 8; taken as part of the whole album though....it's a 9.4 (i.e. not quite a 10 yet....)

LONG LIVE RP....and PEACE!!

Some of the finest rock n' roll ever conceived...
I'm by no means a real "Stones fan", I've known those guys over the years :-), but boy they have their share of songs like this that always make me turn it up.
 easmann wrote:
Interesting, if disputed, background on whether there was a real "Mr. Jimmy" as referred to in this song and who that might have been. I found two possibilities:

The most often cited possibility is:
Wikipedia: Jimmy Hutmaker
 - A local celebrity in Excelsior, MN (whom Jagger supposedly encountered during and after a concert in Excelsior in 1964 prior to writing this song, and who purportedly uttered the titular phrase "you can't always get what you want" after one of them, which one varies in different versions, failed to receive his order of a cherry Coke, receiving a regular Coca-Cola instead). Fun, but you'd think Mick might have mentioned it before now.
There are a number of seemingly creditable sources that record a version of this story but none quote anyone close to Mick or the band. Also, the way they tell the story leaves some doubt to their credibility as it makes it sound as though a "Cherry Coke" was something you could get from Coca-Cola (bottled or by fountain) at that time but in fact that was not available until 1985. In 1964 a Cherry Coke in a drug store soda fountain (or restaurant or bar) would have been Coke with Grenadine or other cherry-flavored syrup added (remember the "Roy Rogers" cocktail?). So they'd have had to have run out of cherry syrup, not "Cherry Coke", which is entirely possible.
One interesting point: The term in the U.K. would not have been "Drugstore", it would have been "Chemist" as far as I know. Drugstore is a decidedly U.S. term and they frequently included a soda fountain, so that's kind of supporting.
I'd be happy, honestly, if this story turned out to be true, still, I'm skeptical.

The other possibility is:
Wikipedia: Jimmy Miller - An American record producer with a long working history with the Stones.

Another possibility is that it was none of the above and we'll never know. That's usually how these things go. 

Wikipedia: You Can't Always Get What You Want

 
Another theory:  Maybe Mick wasn't referring to a literal drugstore but, perhaps, a figurative one.  The Chelsea Hotel in NYC was a known rocker hangout (https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/chelsea.html) in the late 60's.  Certainly at the time of the writing of this song.  Additionally, there was a gentleman by the name of Jimi Hendrix, who lived at the Chelsea experimenting with drugs at this time as well.  
 thewiseking wrote:
The Big Chill killed both this and Heard It Through The Grapevine for at least 2 generations

 
I wonder in what movie you found this original thought. 

Also... 2 generations have already expired since the movie in question.
 xanda wrote:
I can never make out what the London Bach Choir are singing in the opening part - can't find any lyrics for it. Can anyone help with that please? Thanks.

 @xanda
It is the first verse and chorus.  (The same as what Mick sings after them.)
 TerryS wrote:

Flavored? Not in my neighborhood. It did come red, blue, brown or clear, but never flavored. Perhaps some users added cough syrup, which might help with the breathing side-effects, I suppose.

 
Sorry, definitely flavoured.  I've never been a customer, but Google explains it well ...
I can never make out what the London Bach Choir are singing in the opening part - can't find any lyrics for it. Can anyone help with that please? Thanks.
No need to hear this again. The Big Chill saw to that.
 Kilroy wrote:
Had to knock this down from a 10 to a 5. After the High Fidelity rant and Dear Leader's use of the song, it is tainted for me.... too bad because I used to love it.

 
They trolled it.. Small achievement in a low hanging fruit campaign..
I've always loved how this song gets cooking at the end. Seems like a party that could go all night.
 easmann wrote:
Lou Reed - Velvet Underground influence on this one I believe. 
 
I'm not sure where you hear that, but we all hear different things in songs.
The Big Chill killed both this and Heard It Through The Grapevine for at least 2 generations
 DaidyBoy wrote:

Please excuse my ignorance, but I thought this bit referred to cherry-flavoured red Methadone ...

 
Flavored? Not in my neighborhood. It did come red, blue, brown or clear, but never flavored. Perhaps some users added cough syrup, which might help with the breathing side-effects, I suppose.
 easmann wrote:
Interesting, if disputed, background on whether there was a real "Mr. Jimmy" as referred to in this song and who that might have been. I found two possibilities:

The most often cited possibility is:
Wikipedia: Jimmy Hutmaker
 - A local celebrity in Excelsior, MN (whom Jagger supposedly encountered during and after a concert in Excelsior in 1964 prior to writing this song, and who purportedly uttered the titular phrase "you can't always get what you want" after one of them, which one varies in different versions, failed to receive his order of a cherry Coke, receiving a regular Coca-Cola instead). Fun, but you'd think Mick might have mentioned it before now.
There are a number of seemingly creditable sources that record a version of this story but none quote anyone close to Mick or the band. Also, the way they tell the story leaves some doubt to their credibility as it makes it sound as though a "Cherry Coke" was something you could get from Coca-Cola (bottled or by fountain) at that time but in fact that was not available until 1985. In 1964 a Cherry Coke in a drug store soda fountain (or restaurant or bar) would have been Coke with Grenadine or other cherry-flavored syrup added (remember the "Roy Rogers" cocktail?). So they'd have had to have run out of cherry syrup, not "Cherry Coke", which is entirely possible.
One interesting point: The term in the U.K. would not have been "Drugstore", it would have been "Chemist" as far as I know. Drugstore is a decidedly U.S. term and they frequently included a soda fountain, so that's kind of supporting.
I'd be happy, honestly, if this story turned out to be true, still, I'm skeptical.

The other possibility is:
Wikipedia: Jimmy Miller - An American record producer with a long working history with the Stones.

Another possibility is that it was none of the above and we'll never know. That's usually how these things go. 

Wikipedia: You Can't Always Get What You Want

 
Please excuse my ignorance, but I thought this bit referred to cherry-flavoured red Methadone ...
Had to knock this down from a 10 to a 5. After the High Fidelity rant and Dear Leader's use of the song, it is tainted for me.... too bad because I used to love it.

 I suppose I too was a whiner. It was a long, long 8 years. I never participated in a riot, or tried to silence anyone's opinion, though. Nor did I attempt to project my own personal character flaws on people I disagree with. Kinda like when you call someone a racist or Nazi or fascist.  Instead I voted. That's how it works here in America.


STONES DUDE!  JUST LIKE SPICOLI SAYS!

https://youtu.be/eO3BVkbmXvg


Stones are Awesome

when they're playin that dooch-bag trump is last thing in the world to come to mind

Rock On! 
Trump put The Big Chill on this tune, but still a 9.
 Skydog wrote:
at every event Trump had when campaigning they played this song at the end,...
...wtf?
was it some sort of cryptic message to his supporters?

 
After recovering from the beating this song took in the movie "High Fidelity", Trump completely ruined the song for me. Can't listen to it any longer without wanting to punch something....
at every event Trump had when campaigning they played this song at the end,...
...wtf?
was it some sort of cryptic message to his supporters?
 icuski2 wrote:

Then you clearly don't understand Rock & Roll as they're at the heart. You'll always find good music on the radio... along with a bunch of marginal and bad.

 
Exactly!!
 Schmoogsley wrote:
Never understood all the hoopla over the Stones. I liked them. They're ok. Typical stuff you heard on the radidio. {#Yawn}

 
Then you clearly don't understand Rock & Roll as they're at the heart. You'll always find good music on the radio... along with a bunch of marginal and bad.
Never understood all the hoopla over the Stones. I liked them. They're ok. Typical stuff you heard on the radidio. {#Yawn}
This. Whole. Album. Rocks!
 Typesbad wrote:
A quite excellent song that I am just not interested in listening to any more.
 
Interesting comment.
I too feel that way about many songs, but not this one.
A quite excellent song that I am just not interested in listening to any more.
top 10 rock-tune of all time{#Bananajam}{#Drummer}{#Guitarist}{#Bananapiano}{#Bounce}
*
My uncle was married to my step-aunt. And she had a brother who was married to a woman who previously had been married to the brother of Mr. Jimmy. And the story goes that "jimmy" was, in reality, actually Dr. Jimmy (from WHO fame) and Dr. Jimmy and Mr. Jim were actually brothers.  Wow...what a small world, huh?{#Ask}{#Stupid}
 kurtster wrote:

Saw them again during the Voodoo Lounge Tour and they were great.  Same venue, the old Cleveland Muni Stadium. 

 
I have seen Tigers and Indians at that same place
 subgyro wrote:

You can't always get what you want.

 
LOL
My mom recently told me that my grandmother and "Jimmy's" mom were friends back in the day in small town MN.
She said Jimmy was a very very unique individual {#Wave} 
 radekker wrote:
Not again!

 
You can't always get what you want.
Holy crap....not again. 
MooreBig does a good cover of this
Not again!
{#Stop} {#Sick}{#Ass}
Indeed. late 60's early 70's god-like.  Nicky Hopkins on piano, Mick Taylor on guitar.  After that?
hummmm....not so much 
 Skydog wrote:
Whoever coined the phrase about The Rolling Stones being "the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world" should have copyrighted it.
It is the biggest myth ever.
I do however like their albums Beggars, Bleed, Fingers and Exile but they were and are a lame-ass live band. 
 

 
I dunno, seen them twice.  Once in the mid 70's, forget what album was out then.  So, so, but it was raining, too.

Saw them again during the Voodoo Lounge Tour and they were great.  Same venue, the old Cleveland Muni Stadium. 
I really miss these Rolling Stones.
Jagger is so fortunate - horrible voice like his, and yet people still love this stuff.
 Skydog wrote:
Whoever coined the phrase about The Rolling Stones being "the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world" should have copyrighted it.
It is the biggest myth ever.
I do however like their albums Beggars, Bleed, Fingers and Exile but they were and are a lame-ass live band. 
 
I think it was either Bing Crosby or Ogden Nash who coined that phrase for The Stones; they were both big fans. {#Propeller}
 tonispizzeria wrote:

Du kannst net immer habe was de willst , doch wenn du es mal versuchts , dann wird dir klar du kriegst was du brauchst

 

gruß an Dr. Mabuse



 
Wer ist Dr. Mabuse?
It's not always the song but what and who it represents. You should have been there.
Worst, most overly produced, big sound song on what is other-wise a monumental R&R LP. Agreed -> among a handful of the very best; Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Get Your Ya Ya's Out (live masterpiece), Sticky Fingers and half of Exile on Main Street. Add to that the earlier Between The Buttons (Brian Jones is outstanding here) and the later Black & Blue, featuring "interviewed" guitarists par excellence, with funky Billy Preston influenced soul, and straight out rockers. Those were the days, my friend. I always return to this band when I need a real fix.
 Skydog wrote:
Whoever coined the phrase about The Rolling Stones being "the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world" should have copyrighted it.
It is the biggest myth ever.
I do however like their albums Beggars, Bleed, Fingers and Exile but they were and are a lame-ass live band. 
 

 
I totally agree.  I've always thought that they were anointed as the greatest only because they were the only influential band to come out of the 60's and early 70's that actually stayed together.  So someone figured that we had to have a "greatest" come out of that era in order to make the 60's and early 70's relevant.  And so we bequeathed "the greatest" moniker on them in the 70's at a way too early age. Mick's singing is highly overrated, the songs are ordinary at best (although I really, really like Time Waits for No One), the musicianship is nothing special, and the prancing that Mick does on stage has not changed in 50 years and is now downright silly and embarrassing.  But obviously I'm in the minority with my opinion.
Whoever coined the phrase about The Rolling Stones being "the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world" should have copyrighted it.
It is the biggest myth ever.
I do however like their albums Beggars, Bleed, Fingers and Exile but they were and are a lame-ass live band. 
 
What a fabulous transition from Dandy Warhols "Godless" to this. Bravo {#Clap}{#Clap}{#Clap}
Disqualified from five best funeral songs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9yP10X3wAY 
 
There's a striking similarity in atmosphere with Van's St Dominic's Preview.  
Any relationship between this Jimmy and saint Jimmy (Green Day lyric and in the stage show ) ?
 ecojot wrote:
Keith Richards made a lot of money from this riff.

 
 stunix wrote:

No matter how many times I listen I still cant hear a riff.   2 chords, yip, riff?  nuh uh.

 
Sounds like there are some suspended fourths and suspended seconds in there among the two chords - I guess that could be called a riff.  I'm not so sure how much Richards had made from this tune though other than the performance royalties for the recording.  The copyrights for all pre-1971 Rolling Stones materials are held by ABCKO.
 idiot_wind wrote:
My gosh. Can you even imagine a band in 2015 trying to create something like this?

RnR...RIP?  

 

 
Impossible
My gosh. Can you even imagine a band in 2015 trying to create something like this?

RnR...RIP?  

 
Backing vocals apparently provided by the London Bach Choir, conducted at this time by David Willcocks, who has just died aged 95. Just thought someone might be interested........

I am, and thank you.  Great production here, yes?
 nickburrows wrote:
Backing vocals apparently provided by the London Bach Choir, conducted at this time by David Willcocks, who has just died aged 95. Just thought someone might be interested........
 
I was, thanks for sharing. I always thought it was a beatles level stroke of cool.
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

cool cover!  

 
Thank you!
Just in case - heres the link again, (just before it falls off the bottom of this page)
.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeFBkiNUCx4
Backing vocals apparently provided by the London Bach Choir, conducted at this time by David Willcocks, who has just died aged 95. Just thought someone might be interested........
 tonispizzeria wrote:

Du kannst net immer habe was de willst , doch wenn du es mal versuchts , dann wird dir klar du kriegst was du brauchst

 

gruß an Dr. Mabuse



 
Accurate, but it doesn't scan.
 
 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:
{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Dancingbanana_2} it's 9 bananas for me

 
I see your nine bananas.
 ecojot wrote:
Keith Richards made a lot of money from this riff.

 
No matter how many times I listen I still cant hear a riff.   2 chords, yip, riff?  nuh uh.
 msymmes wrote:
Garbage.
 

 
I don't think this sounds anything like Garbage.
Caught the Stones in town just a few weeks ago. Hearing this song live was out of this world incredible! Live choir, french horn, backup singers. What an encore {#Guitarist}
 sirtezza wrote:

    More idiot ears......

 
You've got that right!
 ecojot wrote:
Keith Richards made a lot of money from this riff.

 
Phew!  He would have been broke otherwise!!!  {#Bounce}

Du kannst net immer habe was de willst , doch wenn du es mal versuchts , dann wird dir klar du kriegst was du brauchst

 

gruß an Dr. Mabuse


Good sound to listen in phone.
Good sound to listen in phone.
 
 msymmes wrote:
Garbage.
 

 
    More idiot ears......
This song wasn't what I wanted to come on next but it was what I needed
 msymmes wrote:
Garbage.
 

 

LOL
Tig Notaro has just about the best, funniest story imaginable regarding this song:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/518/except-for-that-one-thing?act=4#play

It doesn't quite start playing in the right place for some reason — rewind back to 46.45 for 3 minutes of hilarity (and awesome music).
 ecojot wrote:
Keith Richards made a lot of money from this riff.

 
Allen B. Klein probably made more from it.
Garbage.
 
Keith Richards made a lot of money from this riff.
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

cool cover!  

 

 springof63 wrote:

You gotta be so careful what you write these days ain't ya, its sooo easy to get misunderstood. ok i don't think the Stones are lame at any point. What i meant was the production on the Stones original of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' never 'kicks' (for me).
The song could have been an anthem on the scale of, say The Whos' Won't Get Fooled Again for example. i meant no disrespect to the Stones or Stones fans or any one else (who isn't a politician!)
it was and still is just my tu'pence worth. Cheers

 
cool cover!  
How in the hell did the producer even deal with this song? It is extraordinary on so many levels....
 Lazarus wrote:
Everybody in my hotel room, my church, my homeless camp, and my alien space craft loves this song...

 

Bill, have you considered playing the version on the Love You Live album? Much better than the studio version IMHO.
Timeless. True.
I seldom get what I want. I'm still getting used to it.
I believe in God, right now. It's a long story.