I suppose it’s odd that my first post should be about a song that I’ve put significant effort into slamming over the years, but it’s what’s on my mind now, so it’s what I’m gonna write about. I’ve never bought into the idea of the Stones’ “Satisfaction” being a really great song (much like I don’t buy into the Stones being a really great band, but that’s another topic for another post perhaps), because it’s just simply not. It’s a riff, not a song. Kinda like a predecessor to the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” (that should really irritate some Stones fans). With either song, if you take that hooky little repetitive riff away, there’s just not much left. So, for years I’ve been blathering on about this to anyone who’ll listen (listeners are few and far between which maybe should tell me something), but just the other day, I realized something else about “Satisfaction” that makes me think I may have been a bit too hard on it.
Now, maybe I’m wrong about this, but it seems to me that “Satisfaction” is one of the first rock n roll songs to have the melody in the guitar part instead of the vocals. The hook is clearly the guitar riff and Mick’s vocals are really the songs rhythm (think about it for a second). Thinking about rock n roll before “Satisfaction,” be it the Beatles or the Beach Boys or Motown or even Chuck Berry, the melody was the vocal and the guitar was largely a rhythm instrument. So “Satisfaction” might have changed rock songwriting. Now don’t get me wrong, I still think “Satisfaction” sucks as a song on its own, but perhaps in the context of history, it really does have a place. Or maybe this is just a weak moment of kindness and all it really did was make it acceptable to write a riff and call it a song. Even if it is historically important though, I still can’t get no satisfaction from it.