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Neil Young's favourite Rolling Stones song is hated by Keith Richards


As Jim Jarmusch once commented about Neil Young, “He’s a perfectionist who embraces imperfection”. ‘Shakey’ prefers music that is rough around the edges, a notion reflected when discussing his favourite song by The Rolling Stones, one that transmits “reckless abandon”.

“What I really liked about the Rolling Stones was Brian Jones and Keith Richards playing together,” Young once professed about the group. “Even though Brian Jones was just kind of a bratty, sub-blues kind of guy. He still had the exuberance”.

Jones was the jewel in The Stones’ crown from Young’s perspective, and it’s that first era of the band he appreciates the most. Even though stylistically, the two figures aren’t aligned, the Canadian can’t help but admire the “exuberance” of the late guitarist.

The magnitude of Jones’ expertise is captured on ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, which also gave The Stones their first number one record in the States. In the aftermath, suddenly, there became an appetite from the industry for the group to recreate the song’s success, which is easier said than done. However, the band eventually gave in by recording ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ as a quasi ‘Satisfaction 2.0’, and for Young, it’s his favourite thing the band has ever recorded.

“‘Satisfaction’ was a great record. ‘Get Off Of My Cloud,’ even better record,” he once explained. “Looser, less of a hit. More of a reckless abandon. ‘Get Off My Cloud’ – I know it’s not as good of a song, and I know the performance is probably not as good as the ‘Satisfaction’ performance, maybe it is.”

Adding: “The thing about it is it’s obviously just such a throw-together song that they came up with on the way to the studio or the night before, y’know? That’s what I liked about it. It really sounded like the Rolling Stones”.

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However, despite Young’s glowing assessment, The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is in total disagreement. While Richards does believe there are elements of a good song inside ‘Get Off Of My Cloud, he always struggled to enjoy the material. He told Rolling Stone in 1971: “I never dug it as a record. The chorus was a nice idea, but we rushed it as the follow-up. We were in L.A. [Los Angeles, where ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ was recorded], and it was time for another single. But how do you follow-up ‘Satisfaction’? Actually, what I wanted was to do it slow, like a Lee Dorsey thing. We rocked it up. I thought it was one of Andrew Loog Oldham’s worst productions”.

The differing in opinion between Young and Richards on ‘Can’t Get Off Of My Cloud’ exemplifies the separation in their attitudes towards music. While The Rolling Stone prefers to follow a slick, polished route, who strives for impeccability, whereas ‘Shakey’ is primal and takes pleasure in every last blemish.

Stream the song below.