KHJ radio in Los Angeles was cranked to the max for our Boy Scout campout in 1965.

I thought, What’s with this fuzz guitar, the incredible beat, and this singer with all the moves?

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Fast forward 47 years and I am still not tired of probably the most famous double-negative in music history, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

That particular Boy Scout campout also began my lifelong quest to hear the song live with Keith Richards laying down the riffs, Charlie Watts keeping time on the drums and Mick Jagger belting out the vocals. I went twice to the “Fabulous” Forum in Los Angeles (Inglewood to be precise) in 1975 (Tour of the Americas) in search of “Satisfaction.” Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” served as the intro for the Stones and about 20 songs, sandwiched by “Honky Tonk Women” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” Jagger swung (literally) off the ceiling of the Forum, and yet there was no “Satisfaction.”

The next try for “Satisfaction” came almost a generation later in 1999 (No Security Tour) at the San Jose Arena. Ronnie Wood was the lead guitarist and bass player Bill Wyman had quit the band. These Stones had gathered some moss, but they still could deliver about 22 songs including Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Rolling Stone,” but still I couldn’t get no “Satisfaction.” I was now a big “O” for three.

Long ago, I came to the conclusion that my lack of hops and small hands would permanently preclude me from ever dunking a basketball. Did I also have to face a life with no “Satisfaction?”

My fourth try for “Satisfaction” was 2002 at the Oakland Arena (Licks Tour). The Stones were about half-way through their show, when Keith laid on the first riffs of Satisfaction. The crowd instinctively sprung to its feet. Mick did not have to sing the words; everyone knew them.

I had finally achieved “Satisfaction.” It was orgasmic.

Since then, I have seen the Stones two more times, AT&T Park in San Francisco in 2005, and the Oakland Coliseum in 2006 (A Bigger Bang Tour), climaxing two more times with “Satisfaction.” If there is a Stones tour next year as rumored to celebrate five decades as the greatest rock n’ roll band on the planet, I will not be attending a show but making a pilgrimage.

Periodically, I am asked why I am such a Rolling Stones freak (six concerts, about 10 DVDs, more than 20 CDs, all the old albums in wax, the notorious tongue poster hangs beside Ronald Reagan in my man cave). The follow-up question usually asks, Why Mick and Keith and not John and Paul?

The answer is that I like the Beatles, always have. The opening chords of “Day Tripper” immediately get me revved up. “Abbey Road” is one of my favorite CDs. I still haven’t figured out “A Day in the Life,” much less “I am the Walrus.”

When considering the question of the Stones and Beatles (I always list them in this order), one has to explore the roots. The Stones grew up listening to Muddy Waters (origin of the band’s name), John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Robert Johnson, and Solomon Burke. The result is a much more rhythm-and-blues oriented band. The Beatles by contrast were influenced heavily by Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. The blues make me swoon.

Another differentiator is Mick Jagger, himself. Nobody is blasé about Mick. He is one of the greatest showmen of his era. There is the magnetism of Mr. Jumpin Jack Flash himself. And yet, you cannot examine him alone as Keith Richards (one half of The Glimmer Twins) will always be part of the Stones story.

The Beatles stopped touring the mid-1960s. The Stones invented the rock n’ roll show in 1969 and became more innovative and outrageous as the years went by. My favorite CD hails from the 1969 tour, “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out,” recorded that November from Madison Square Garden.

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Alas, a Beatles fan can only remember. Sadly, John and George are gone. There will be no more tours, only reissues of songs in different technology formats that we have already heard a gazillion times.

A Stones tour is always the subject of intense rumors. Where will the play? From the 400 songs in the band’s repository, which ones will make the set list? Will we achieve “Satisfaction” or not?

And today, July 12, 2012, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of founding of the Rolling Stones. We all wish we could have been at the Marquee Club on London’s Oxford Street to hear the first gig of the Stones. I was only seven years old at the time, growing up in a coal mining town in Western Pennsylvania. I was simply too young and too far away.

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The most important point as we celebrate the band today is the fact that the Stones are still Rolling. Three of the original five (Mick, Keith and Charlie) are still playing. No other rock n’ roll band has stayed present (e.g., tours and CDs) and relevant for five decades. The Stones easily could have hung up the guitar picks and drum sticks literally years ago with bank accounts full and legacy intact. And yet they continue to bring joy to our lives.

They also seem to still get a charge out of what they do.

“I know it’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it, like it, yes, I do.”

 

“I can’t get no satisfaction

I can’t get no satisfaction

‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

“When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

“I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
When I’m watchin’ my T.V.
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
I can’t get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

“I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no girl reaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

“When I’m ridin’ round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signing that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
‘Cause you see I’m on a losing streak
I can’t get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

“I can’t get no, I can’t get no
I can’t get no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(I_Can’t_Get_No)_Satisfaction

http://www.rollingstones.com/

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