Internet InfoMedia on this day in history may 12 1965 rolling stones record satisfaction after keith richards dreamed a riff

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The Rolling Stones, inspired by an incendiary buzzsaw riff that guitarist Keith Richards captured on tape in his sleep, recorded their sensational rock anthem “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on this day in history, May 12, 1965.

“The track is an electrified injection of rock and roll adrenaline,” enthuses U.K. outlet Far Out Magazine. 

“It doesn’t stop for breath and instead powers through the air with a riff-fueled jetpack,” that outlet adds.

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Released just four weeks later, “Satisfaction” became an international phenomenon. 

It topped the U.S. charts for four weeks in the summer of 1965. It also transformed Richards, his boyhood pal Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones from upstart British Invasion blues band to global rock stars.

Rolling Stones in 1965

The Rolling Stones in a TV studio in 1965: Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. (Michael Ward/Getty Images)

“To many, it is the quintessential rock song with its mix of fractured grammar (‘can’t get no’), its sense of rebellion and disillusionment, its anti-commercialism stance and, of course, its driving guitar riff,” the Library of Congress declared when it added the hit to the United States National Registry of Recordings in 2006.

It was the first of eight No. 1 Billboard hits released by The Rolling Stones over the years, among the dozens of other chart hits and album-rock classics.

“The track is an electrified injection of rock and roll adrenaline.” 

The riff to “Satisfaction” remains one of the most memorable in the history of music — yet its origins are forgotten by the guitarist who dreamed it.

Keith Richards was a fresh-faced 21-year-old former art school student in the spring of 1965. 

Rock icon Keith Richards

English guitarist Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, circa 1965.    (Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He awoke one morning to find the cassette tape he kept in a recorder by his bedside spooled to the end. 

He rewound the tape and pressed play, and “a three-note guitar riff came blasting out of the speakers, followed by some basic chords and a simple refrain,” the website American Songwriter reports. 

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“’I can’t get no satisfaction,’ went the melody, sung by Richards in a sleepy, half-conscious voice. After several repetitions, the music faded out and gave way to 40 minutes of snoring,” the outlet adds.

The guitarist had apparently woken in the middle of the night, unconsciously recorded one of the most famous licks in rock history on acoustic guitar, then fallen back asleep with no memory of the incident. 

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones, left to right, Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger (front) and Keith Richards, rehearse for an appearance on a British TV show in 1965 in London, England.  (Cyrus Andrews/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones laid down the track on May 12 at RCA Hollywood Studio, with Richards’ initial bare-bone refrain fleshed out by lyrics from Jagger. 

“I’m tryin’ to make some girl, who tells me/Baby, better come back maybe next week,” he snarls in a fit of youthful angst. 

“After several repetitions, the music faded out and gave way to 40 minutes of snoring.” 

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