• Writers: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
  • Producer: Jimmy Miller
  • Recorded: November 17th, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London
  • Released: July 4th, 1969
  • Players:
    Mick Jagger — vocals
    Keith Richards — guitar
    Jimmy Miller — drums
    Bill Wyman — bass
    Al Kooper — piano, French horn, organ
    London Bach Choir — backing vocals
    Madelaine Bell, Doris Troy, Nanette Newman — backing vocals
    Jack Nitzche — choral arrangements
    Rocky Dijon — percussion
  • Album: Let It Bleed (London, 1969)
  • Also On:
    The B-side of “Honky Tonk Women” single (London, 1969)
    Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (London, 1972)
    Love You Live (Rolling Stones, 1977)
    Singles Collection: The London Years (ABKCO, 1989)
    Flashpoint (Rolling Stones/Sony, 1991)
    Rock And Roll Circus (ABKCO, 1996)
    Forty Licks (Virgin, 2002)
  • Though it was recorded a few months before Brian Jones left the band (and then died), he receives no credit for this song or for Let It Bleed. So, technically, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” as the B-side to “Honky Tonk Women,” was the Rolling Stones‘ first Jones-less single.
  • Bassist Bill Wyman remembered that Jones’s contribution to that session was to “lie down on his stomach most of the night, reading an article on botany.”
  • Drummer Charlie Watts was also AWOL on the song.
  • The French horn part was Al Kooper‘s suggestion during initial recording sessions for the song. Kooper wrote and recorded an entire horn section, but the Stones kept only his intro.
  • In his memoir, Wyman remembered it as “an extremely long session, running from 10:00 p.m. until 6:15 a.m., and proof that when the mood took the band, the motivation and music was always there.”
  • The Stones performed the song for their Rock And Roll Circus, a lavish televised show held on December 8th, 1968. Unhappy with their performance, the Stones did not release a video and album of the event until 1996, though footage of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was included in the home video 12×5.

FAST FORWARD:

  • Brian Jones left the band in June 1969, and was found dead in his swimming pool on July 3rd, 1969.
  • “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was used in the funeral scene of the movie The Big Chill.
  • The Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
  • Bill Wyman left the Stones in 1993.
  • The Neville Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Rusted Root, and bluesman Luther Allison have covered the song.
  • The group played two shows at the Beacon Theater in New York City in 2006, which were filmed by director Martin Scorsese for a Stones tour documentary called Shine A Light.