"You Can't Always Get What You Want" as written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards....
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was her footloose man

No, 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 sometime you find
You get what you need

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 her 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 you might find
You get what you need

But I went down to the demonstration
To get your fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a fifty-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 0h yeah


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" as written by Mick Jagger Keith Richards

Lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc.

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You Can't Always Get What You Want song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentOK...well, everyones got these crazy whacked out stories, but what this song has always meant to me:

    Basically, this song is about how not achieving your goal isn't necessarily a loss – for maybe you saved yourself from something bad and/or learned a lesson. That’s the message he’s giving over and over again in the song.

    Case in point: The woman. Mick paints a picture of a woman, and himself as a footloose man…someone kind of anxious and or nervous to meet her. Towards the end of the song, we revisit the woman and we see her as deceitful and villainous – how she kind of has this blood and this other man in her hands. Mick didn’t get the girl, but he got what he needed – a lesson that appearances can be deceiving.

    The protest verse illustrates that even though the protestors may not achieve their goals…they sing, vent their frustrations. They may not get what they want, but they got what they needed – a platform to express their opinions.

    The drugstore verse illustrates how this Jimmy guy is waiting to for pills to keep him alive (could also be a narcotic reference as well lol). Mick meets up with him and the boys share a sweet drink to pass the time. Mick “sang his song” about enjoying the moment, to Jimmy…to where Jimmy basically responds that he needs to get these pills to stay alive…to where Mick replies:

    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

    Whew ;)
    Abeeron November 23, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentone of my all time favorite songs, this song speaks volumes about life
    s_curry52on March 06, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI too think it is about the our wants and needs, and how our wants probably will cause harm to us. Possibly the want being a relationship with someone who is not right for you, or is just going to cause you trouble and hurt you.

    This song hit home to me the other day. I went to lunch and it came on my ipod in my car when I left. It was right after realizing things wouldn't work with this girl. I've dated her in the past, and always wanted ever since. I realized she would always take me for granted, and treat me badly and only think of herself, and her own agenda. I realized at that point, I didn't need her, and life would go on despite losing her. I tried with her time and time again. This was the point when I quit trying, and realized everything for what it really was.

    She hurt me, and I was the "bleeding man in the glass"

    I realized I didn't need her, she was always just a want, and will always be a want. I got what I needed from her. I'll get nothing more. As much as I wanted her, I'll have to move on. That's what it means to me.
    crxbarton August 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song Fact This song's lyrics invite the audience to try and focus on the practical necessities of life (such as industrial hemp) as opposed to mere "wants" (such as "marijuana"). In referring to a wine drinking woman with a "footloose" man at her feet, the lyrics are describing how some women are cynical and have victimized men subjegated to them. She is going to "meet her connection", meaning that she is going to meet with another man at her subjegated man's expense and/ or that she is going to obtain some drugs (or other "wants") at the expense of her subjegated man. The section on going to a demonstration refers to how there are movements to bring justice to the world, and how ultimately those who would be so backward as to do things such as put up moralled man and women as sacrifices to hide behind while pushing drugs and banning industrial hemp will be punished. The section on the drugstore is an obvious anti drug section, referring to how ill the brain drug pill user "Jimmy" looks. As englishmen, the writers of this song certainly understood and disliked the fact that the roots of the brain drug pill racket are in the corrupt and anti human ideology known as nazism. Towards the end of the song the wine drinking woman is mentioned again. Because the misallocation of resources in producing wine results in wanton scarcities of life's necessities being experienced by many, wine use does indeed cause war. Thus her wine is referred to as "a bleeding man". The wine drinking woman in the song apparently knows what evil things she is a part of, but one must look for evidence of her hands being figuratively blood stained to reveal such a fact because she is "practiced at the art of deception". When I sing this song, I work the words "hempseed" in with "what you need". Considering that industrial hempseed is not a drug at all, that it is a nutritious food for people and livestock, and that it is a great source of oil for fuel and building materials, hempseed is what we need. The "marijuana" pushers who seek to acculturate people to using their drug and then proceed to ban people from even making it themselves so that they can price gouge the people have been banning industrial hemp because they think that it threatens their rigged system of social parasitism. Such "marijuana" pushers need to be told that they can't always get what they want. They may want to grow an easy to grow drug and go around holding humanity back with it while basically panhandling with their corrupt pricing racket, but they cannot always get what they want. The people will vent their frustration. If only they would try sometime to focus on what is actually practical and needed then they may find that industrial hemp's bountiful potential can be a part of affording us all the basic freedoms (like growing what foodcrops we want to grow) that we all need. Industrial hemp represents "needs", while "marijuana" represents "wants". One need only to look back at some tobacco advertisements of decades ago to see how people were being duped into thinking that tobacco use promoted health. The parallels to what is happening today with the deceptive marketing of "marijuana" as a health promoting substance, which it most certainly is not, are undeniable. As absurd and virtually unbelievable as it is today that people used to think tobacco was good for them, years in the future people will find it equally absurd that anyone actually thought "marijuana" was good for them. People will also look back and see how evil the deceptive the marketing of "marijuana" as a medicine was, just like we look back at the obvious evils of tobacco marketing today. It should not have to come to a figurative "50 amp fuse" being figuratively blown, but if the backwards industrial hemp banning "marijuana" cartels are unwilling to try and really focus on what is actually needed then such will happen. The song "you can't always get what you want" by the Rolling Stones beautifully illustrates this point. Advocate of real justice and actual freedom (as opposed to enslavement by price gouging drug pushers who basically are distributing "soma") can rally around and be inspired by this song, and we can know that any addictions that the members of the Rolling Stones may or may not have struggled with do not define them as individuals.

    As is the case with many walks of life, musicians are often targeted and parasitized by drug pushers. As a result, many song lyrics have intense anti - drug messages in them. From "you can't always get what you want" to "get up, stand up", in which Bob Marley proclaims that while some people think that a diety will come from the sky and take away everything and make everybody be high those who know what life is worth will look to theirs on earth, many great musicians have promoted a sober lifestyle openly and sincerely. As is known, addicts are victims and do not really like those who keep them addicted and price gouge them. The music of the Rolling Stones generated huge sums of money in record sales as well as concert tickets and merchandise. The social parasites who are drug dealers leached off of these revenues. Every dollar spent on drugs by the band and fans meant resources which were less likely to go to records, concerts, and merchandise. Despite the parasitism which drug dealers inflicted on the band, the Rolling Stones will always be remembered as part of an inspirational and upbeat culture.
    Industrialhempisnotadrugon March 04, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Comment When a mere want being realized stands in the way of sincere needs being realized, then having both is impossible. Such is the case with "marijuana" (a want) and industrial hemp (a need). Untill there are no bans on industrial hemp and people have the freedom to grow it for food in a small scale vegetable garden and a large scale field, people backing "marijuana" will be classified as criminally insane. If you are currently someone who thinks that both can be supported without conflict, then I suggest that you think the issue through fully to avoid appearing as bipolar on the issue of supporting industrial hemp. An industrial hemp supporter who also supports "marijuana" will appear bipolar on the issue, because it is "marijuana" cartels who are banning hemp and slowing down the repeal of industrial hemp bans. If you are onthe fence, consider that coming to the side of industrial hemp will result in you being labelled as someone with morals and siding with "marijuana" will result in you being labelled as criminally insane. The drug pusher sourced decpetive claims which promote "marijuana" as being a healing agent are as fictional as the same exact types of claims which were made by tobacco pushers years ago.
    Industrialhempisnotadrugon March 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commentawesome song.. stones at their best.. music and vocals with background vocals blend well together.. lyrics as usual have deep insight.. its true.. you cant always get what u want.. but u do get what u need... JUST ENUF!!!
    alnav89on February 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel like telling people to stop nagging me, and I just reference them to this song.
    Rob_98443on April 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is NOT about not getting what you want. the song is about death. "She", the woman, is death. She's taking the lives of the people aruond him. she takes his friend mr jimmy and in the last verse he syas in her glass was a bleeding man, she was practiced in the art of deception, i could tell from bloodstained hands.
    jaydw11on May 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjaydw11, if that was ture, then what would be the connection to the title of the song. Would that mean death is what is needed?

    I personally don't think it's all about death. I think it's probably deeper than that. Maybe it's more like a release from death, or the fear of death. I don't know, i just might be talking out me arse, but that's my .02
    Grimsonon March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a great song, it is very under-rated as a whole.

    I think the idea about it being about death is pretty cool, but sort of hard to beleive.
    Muzzyon May 07, 2003   Link

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