Needing What You Want and Wanting What You Need or I’ll Never Be As Cool as Mick Jagger: DeMarco Banter

 “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”  ― W.P. Kinsella

Cant think of a time I didn’t absolutely love “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones

It is interesting that the song has taken on a myriad of meanings as I have gone through chapters in life and matured…Through my teen years, into college, pilot training, through adulthood…as a leader, a husband, a father, a Christian…who knows what we need?  And how many times are we thankful that we didn’t get what we once thought we wanted? Is it more important to get what you want… or what you need?  Of course I have always pondered… what is the song really about?

230fd792cc1203284ce928c2a7781926926d6dd7You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones was on their 1969 album Let It Bleed. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was named as the 100th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in its 2004 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.

Of the song, Jagger said: “‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was something I just played on the acoustic guitar—one of those bedroom songs. It proved to be quite difficult to record because Charlie couldn’t play the groove and so Jimmy Miller had to play the drums. I’d also had this idea of having a choir, probably a gospel choir, on the track, but there wasn’t one around at that point. Jack Nitzsche, or somebody, said that we could get the London Bach Choir and we said, ‘That will be a laugh.'”

This work of art was recorded on 16 and 17 November 1968. It did indeed feature the London Bach Choir opening the song, highlighting throughout, and bringing it to its conclusion. AND Jimmy Miller, the Stones’ producer at the time, did indeed play drums on this song instead of Charlie Watts.

AN12525552Mandatory+Credit+The Choirs’ 60 voices were double-tracked to make it sound like the choir was EVEN larger than it was. Later…the London Bach Choir tried to have their name removed from the album when they found out it was called Let It Bleed and contained “Midnight Rambler,” a song about a serial killer.

In his review of the song, Richie Unterberger of Allmusic said: “Much has been made of the lyrics reflecting the end of the overlong party that was the 1960s. That’s a valid interpretation, but it should also be pointed out that there’s also an uplifting and reassuring quality to the melody and performance. This is particularly true of the key lyrical hook, when we are reminded that we can’t always get what we want, but we’ll get what we need.”

It is amazing how much ink and blog space “Mr. Jimmy” gets…

…went down to the Chelsea drugstorejimmy2100
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”

There are two theories as to the identity of “Mr. Jimmy.” It could be a reference to Jimmy Miller, who, as mentioned, was The Stones’ producer at the time….and drummer on the track… or it might also refer to Jimmy Hutmaker, a local character that wandered the business district in  Excelsior, Minnesota, a trendy artist community outside Minneapolis near Lake Minnetonka. Hutmaker, who is known as “Mr. Jimmy,” had some disabilities but seemed mentally sharp most days, although he would talk to himself a lot.  “Mr. Jimmy”  states he mentioned the phrase “you can’t always get what you want” to Jagger during a chance encounter at a drug store in Excelsior in 1964.  He would walk miles every day and was cared for by the local shop owners until his death on October 3, 2007.

The Stones performed in Excelsior on their first US tour in 1964, and were not well received. Mick Jagger went into a local drugstore to get a Cherry Coke. Back then a cherry coke was a coke mixed with syrup purchased at a drug store soda fountain.  The store didn’t have cherry cokes and Mr. Jimmy, standing in line behind Jagger, commented, “Well, you can’t always get what you want.” Mr. Jimmy was at the Stones next show in Minneapolis. Legend has it that Jagger sent a limo to pick him up…gotta love Urban Myth.

3600649473_10cb3f1bc0Another theory….The “Chelsea Drugstore” was in Chelsea; the King’s Road, in fact, which “Swung” just as much as Carnaby Street in its day. But it wasn’t a drug store (not officially anyway), it was a pub. Stanley Kubrick filmed part of A Clockwork Orange there. But the most devastating fact about the Chelsea Drugstore is that the place is now a McDonald’s. Who knows…but it is the stuff that great songs are made of.Chelsea_Drugstore-1

Keith Richards ‘s book “Life” lends some great perspective on the Jagger/Richards songwriting process. Many times the songs weren’t dedicated to any one particular subject, but consisted of a collection of verses that were sometimes inter-related and sometimes not. Many times the first lines of the song were contributed by Keith and the rest by Jagger, so right there the original intent of the song becomes somewhat disjointed.

Even more amazing is the short amount of time it takes the team to come up with lyrics. Shortly after “You Cant Always Get What You Want” was recorded, they worked on a another piece that became “Brown Sugar” (based solely on a sequence of chords that Mick showed Keith). According to spectators at Muscle Shoals studios, it took Jagger a mere 45 minutes to create the lyrics… So Mick spends 45 minutes writing them and we spend decades over-analyzing them…very possible.

One blogger notes.…do not overlook the feel of the song. Looking beyond the song content, the song always leaves me with this feeling of melancholy, almost regret. I, too, tend to lean towards the song being about the drug culture of the sixties. Don’t forget, it was at this time when Jagger’s close circle of friends (Keith, Marianne, Anita, Brian, Jimmy M to name a few) are becoming afflicted with these debilitating heroin habits (Jagger was astute enough to stay away from the stuff).

Another post comments…So it is a sorrowful Jagger that I hear, lamenting (and in the case of Marianne, more like grieving) over their slow but sure descent into heroin oblivion.

The drug piece never really resonated personally…a bit of DeMarco Banter and from a more Christian perspective…. What is more important, what you want or what you need?

Phil. 4:13 says God will supply all of your needs according to His riches and glory in Heaven. Notice it says “needs” and not “wants” My belief….you can’t always get what you want but you will get what you need.

We pray when we want things…the point of prayer is asking God about something, and asking requires that He can make a decision about it—ideally, it requires that we submit to His decision about it. When we think about it seriously, we have to realize it’s very much for the best: If every time we asked God to do something and He did it without any qualification, we wouldn’t have a God; we’d have a genie without a bottle. This kind of thinking was admirably debunked by C. S. Lewis:…”God has left Himself a discretionary power. Had He not done so, prayer would be an activity too dangerous for man and we should have the horrible state of things.

keep-calm-because-you-can-t-always-get-what-you-want-1Just a few more thoughts from a Christian perspective…[Jesus speaking] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5)

[Jesus speaking] “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

A parting thought… you might not always get what you want….but as a Christian, it sure seems we get what we need.  Any thoughts?

Video from 1969

And…34 years later…

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”
I said to him

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need

You get what you need–yeah, oh baby

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

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