There is one song that captures the essence of Rock and Roll better than any other song. It is by no mean one of my personal favorites, traditionally, and for years I didn’t care for the song.
This song came out in 1969 from an established band, The Rolling Stones. Not one of my favorite bands, but unquestionably one of the top ten most important figures of Rock music (And Yes, they were very much indie in the beginnings)
The song is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. The lyrics consist of a few little stories of random people not getting exactly what they want, but that is just songwriting. It’s the chorus “You can’t always get what you want(3x), and if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need”, that really shaped the world of Rock.
Wiser words have never been said, ever. It is a basic philosophical statement that reoccurs in almost all world philosophies and religions. Other ways of saying it are “When one door closes a window opens” or “everything happens for a reason”. There are many other statements saying basically the same thing, but just like with everything else Indie Rock does it best.
Mick Jagger, fearless leader of The Rolling Stones, belts out these lyrics with a smile on his face, strutting around, changing the face of Rock forever and making it bad ass to be benevolent, in a time when he was competeing with great dark bands like The Doors and Led Zeppelin.
He doesn’t tell you everything happens for a reason, he doesn’t judge, he doesn’t condescend, and he won’t be offended because he will tell you on a deep, basic level, with lyrics coming straight from his soul and experience saying you CAN NOT ALWAYS get what you want, no way around it, it’s just a fact. He repeats it three times because that’s the hard part to deal with. It’s like when someone asks “Do you want the good news or bad news first”, most say the bad, and that’s what’s done here. You can’t always get what you want, as hard as that may be to accept…Then the good news if you try YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.
Truer words have never been spoken. This message of goodwill and peace among men and the universe triumphing all the bull shit is one that will be carry on through Indie music to this day, and hopefully for 1,000 more years.
I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb calling this the best song in the world…next time you’re upset for any reason, turn on that song and think of the BILLIONS of people who have been touched by that song and the truth it carries.