Otis Redding is an iconic singer and one of the bastions of soulful, heartfelt and authentic musicianship. The famed singer of some of the world’s most treasured hits does some of his best work on The Rolling Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’.
Rolling Stones’ leading man Mick Jagger once said, “I’d rather be dead than singing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45,” and yet he continues to sing the song without a drip of irony. The song is still one of the most cherished moments of the band’s never-ending touring set. Since it’s 1965 release the song’s infectious chords and lyrics have taken over everyone who hears it.
While Mick Jagger would write the lyrics for the now iconic rock and roll record in the relative comfort of a hotel in Florida four days before the band recorded it. Yet, Keith Richards can boast the legendary feat of writing the riffs for the music in his sleep.
The legend goes that Richards recorded a rough version of the riff on a cassette player while asleep. When he woke up in the morning the guitarist had no idea he had even written it, he said when he listened to the recording in the morning there was an acoustic riff followed by Richards dropping a pick and “then me snoring for the next forty minutes.”
While the song may have come a little easy to the band, it’s massive impact is a mark of their ability to write an anthemic tune. Its power and bounce have made it one of the most covered songs in history.
Now, we could reel through a list of amazing artists to have covered the song (Devo’s robotic rock getting a special mention) but none comes anywhere close to the energised cover of ‘Satisfaction’ by Otis Redding from 1965.
The singer recorded a rendition of ‘Satisfaction’ for his album Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul which was released in 1965 and while he nailed the energy of the song, with help from Steve Cropper’s arrangement, he did seemingly miss a lot of Jagger’s lyrics. Redding once confessing, “That’s because I made them up.”
Cropper, the man largely credited with the inception of the horn-led arrangement confirmed this, “…if you ever listened to the record you can hardly understand the lyrics, right? I set down to a record player and copied down what I thought the lyrics were and I handed Otis a piece of paper and before we got through with the cut, he threw the paper on the floor and that was it.”
The lyrics may not have been right but the vibrations of Redding’s rendition have us all jiving around the office. What is an already brilliant song is given the pulsating electric shock of the Big Band defibrillator, with the arrangement, according to Ronnie Wood, later affecting the band’s subsequent live performances.
Listen below to Otis Redding’s 1965 cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’