We like to think we all know a hit song when we hear one. If we don't, we like to at least think that guys like Quincy Jones and Keith Richards know a hit song when they hear one (it's sort of their job).
Apparently, it's not as easy as we thought, as a lot of classic songs almost never made it out of the studio.
5"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" - Rolling Stones
Like most awesome things, this song originated in the middle of the night. Unlike most awesome things, this song originated in Florida. During the Rolling Stones 1965 US tour, Keith Richards woke up suddenly for reasons that shockingly had nothing to do with heroin. He had a riff in his head that was harder to shake than his heroin habit. Keith Richards. Heroin. Get it? Anybody?
Anyway, the story goes that Richards got up and recorded the riff and the phrase "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" before dozing off. The next day, Keith and Mick fleshed out the track, and immediately Keith began to hate the shit out of his late night inspiration. At first his complaint was that the song was too "folksy." And we all know that the last thing the music buying public of 1965 wanted was "folksy" sounding rock music.
It didn't stop there. Keith later admitted that he considered the title "...just a working title. It could have been 'Aunt Millie's Caught Her Left Tit In The Mangle.' I thought of it as just a little riff, an album filler. I never thought it was commercial enough to be a single." He expressed concerns that the riff sounded too similar to Martha And The Vandella's "Dancing In The Street," and would've been happier if the riff was just quietly tucked away somewhere, never to be talked about again.
Eventually the rest of the band had to drag Richards into the studio and force him to record the song that he wrote and showed them in the first place. Even then, he considered his guitar part a scratch track and the recording an unfinished demo. Keith just wasn't satisfied.
Fortunately, all the other band members, their manager, the sound engineer and we assume several wandering passersby all outvoted Richards by a landslide to release the single. The song spent two weeks at #1, and Richards's throwaway scratch track become one of the Rolling Stone's most recognizable anthems, and boosted sales of the Gibson fuzzbox he used on the recording to the point where supplies ran out by the end of the year.
As a sidebar, in light of the fact that Richards never went back to claim it, some of us in the Cracked writers pool have decided to use the song title "Aunt Millie's Caught Her Left Tit In The Mangle" for our in-house garage metal band DIKCHOKE. Expect an exclusive release on our Myspace page later this year.