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, 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 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, oh 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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89 Comments

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  • +6
    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 Commentmic jaggers wife wanted a yaht for her bday and she was bitching at him for not buying it for her and he responded
    Thedon45on December 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHi Folks,
    I always thought the first verse is about Janis Joplin, who drank herself to death. She meets her (Drug)-connection. her ''footloose'' man is Bobby Mc Gee, from her most famous Song...(and lost Love)
    Jimmy obviously is Jimmy Hendrix, who also died because of excessive Drug use.
    Of course you can't always get what you want, and surely those two guys didn't.
    -Like many of this Generation...whose Spirit died also..
    Bennnon May 03, 2007   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
    General Commentalso, he says he was in line at the chelsea drugstore when he met mr. jimmy. chelsea is in england, nowhere near minnesota.
    SimonAKon August 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDudes, this song is about Mick's girlfriend at the time (maggie or margo or something like that..) who happened to be suffering from intense drug addiction (she's spoken to this, saying the song is about her). "I knew she was gonna meet her connection"
    Rgillyon August 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a comment from Dolly Dagger by Jimi Hendrix, I think it makes sense:

    by jersey73 on 10-01-2004 @ 07:12:33 PM
    This song is about Mick Jagger and Jimi's girlfriend Devon Wilson. Devon threw a birthday party for Jimi...but Devon always had a thing for Mick Jagger too. The story goes that a glass Mick was holding broke and cut his finger. Devon went over and started sucking on Mick bloody finger.

    Devon and Jimi had a love/hate relationship.

    Incidently, when that party ended, Devon ended up going home with Mick Jagger. Mick in turn wrote the song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for Jimi Hendrix. Think of those lyrics:
    "I saw her today at a reception
    A glass of wine in her hand
    I knew she would meet her connection
    At her feet was her footloose man

    I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
    To get your prescription filled
    I was standin' in line with Mr. Jimmy
    A-man, did he look pretty ill"

    Ah...semi-rock and roll fueds!!!
    Crimsonicityon October 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts worth it to note that Devon Wilson died by falling from the Chelsea Hotel in 1971. Of course thats a bit after the song was written. She was most def. linked to Jimi and Mick...pretty much a supergroupie.
    etriganon January 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this has a relation between an incident with jimi hendrix. see my comment on Fire by Hendrix
    heyjude55on April 03, 2006   Link

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