Another Urban Myth Bites The Dust – Who Created The Guitar Riff For “Satisfaction”?

September 7, 2006

I’m one of those people who get angry when the newspapers print a rumor masquerading as as a fact on page one and a few days later print a retraction on page 45. In my last blog I mentioned that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones created the famous guitar riff from “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. Musician, Artist, producer, and musicologist Al Kooper, who I’ve known since the sixties contacted me about my claim. He said that,”The guitar riff is famously associiated with Keith Richards, who has told the story in many interviews” Al also said that he e-mailed Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones former producer/ manager, who confirmed that it was, “A Richards Riff not a Jones Jangle!”

This set me to thinking where did I get my information? We all know that, “It must be true if you saw it on the internet’…but this was long before Al Gore invented it! After a little meditation and some memory retreival I narrowed it down to two possible sources. The first, was a serialized version of a former Rolling Stone, disgruntled drug dealer’s “tell all book”, that ran in the National Enquirer (that I read at the checkout counter.) The second was the confession of one of Brian Jones’ ex-girlfriends, revealed during an intimate moment ( I won’t even try to go there)

Anyway, I try not to let the facts get in the way, so I e-mailed Al back that I was standing by my claim that Brian created that famous riff. Al e-mailed back, ” I just like to see the truth printed in the day of so much untruth.”, which really hit me hard, Al continued,”The guy who produced the record and was in the studio, who was in the store when Keith bought the fuzz-tone at the suggestion of Jack Nitzsche, says it was totally Keith, and he’s a huge Brian fan !!!! He discovered the band, produced them and managed them. Is there a better authority?”
How can I argue with that…Another Urban Myth Bytes The Dust!
Thanks Al…Andrew.

3 Responses to “Another Urban Myth Bites The Dust – Who Created The Guitar Riff For “Satisfaction”?”

  1. Dave Plenn Says:

    Artie, Artie….EVERYONE knew it was a Keef Richards lick on “Satisfaction”! Your article was the first time I’d seen it, so it wasn’t really an urban myth. And as far as an “intimate moment” where someone may have whispered “can’t get no satisfaction”…well, you’re right, we better not go there!

    Love the articles, Artie, keep ’em coming!

  2. Phil M. Says:

    I hear ya, Artie. I’d thought of saying something about that myself, but decided to let you live with your version of the event just as I’d like to be left with mine. But (and with the air of ALO’s affirmation now under my wings) I think the ultimate evidence is in the riff itself, which is pocked throughout with Keith’s signature sound. In fact, I think an argument could be made that it was with “Satisfaction” that Keith first CREATED that signature.

    Keep on freein’ in the rock world,
    –Phil M.

  3. Joe Nelson Says:

    Seconding Phil’s comments, but ultimately this means little with regard to “Tribute”, as Brian didn’t write any of the other songs involved either. Actually, I don’t believe ANY of Brian’s writing efforts ever made it onto a Stones LP.

    Joe Nelson
    (trying to locate his own copy of “Tribute” since long before Artie’s post…)

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