How a very famous song might have been born.
|Rolling the Stones
Keith couldn’t get any satisfaction. He tried and he tried and then he just finally had to give it up. Why was he wasting time watching telly when he could be working out some licks and chops on his telly? He kicked off the television switch. Lit a fag. Poured a scotch. Picked up the axe. Flopped on the sofa, boot on the knee, tuned the guitar. Wondered to himself, where the hell was Mick? Should have arrived by now.
What was that bass line up the bottom string he’d thought of the other day? The one that went dah dah, dah dah dah and then back down again. That was pretty cool, that one. Made him feel positively chuffed, that did. Imagining Charlie’s beat, that pardiddle thing, that dum dum, dum de dum…
The phone rang. He reached over and knocked it off the hook, and then whooped his famous “wahoo!”. Something chirped from the receiver. Yeah it was Mick. He reached down and picked him off the floor.
“Mick, how’s tricks?”
“Keith, I’m royally pissed off, I am. I’m all tied up. Still home. Waiting for the interview bloke to show up. He won’t be here for awhile. Probably wants to talk about…the other band!”
“Yeah, what’s up with that, mate? I’m cool. Just all sat here with me Jack Jones is all.” A drag and a quaff and a twang sang.
“It’s always all about them, y’know? I just don’t know, I just, well…” the sound of rubber lips chewing words that weren’t so much words as microphonic utterance.
“Beatles?” Keith queried, twang-a-lang.
“Yeah, them” came back in Keith’s ear. “Why are they so….I mean, what is it about that….you know, that thing that they…just because of…I just don’t know what it’s….” that rubber sound over the line chewing on a bone on the phone.
“Well mate, you mean how come they’re so popular and all and we aren’t and it doesn’t make sense but there it is, man.” Keith lit another cigarette and scratched his mop, cradling the phone and checking out the coffee table for a guitar pick and how much was left in the bottle. Not much. He picked a pick and drained the last of the bottle into his glass. And listened to another 15 minutes of bone chewing on the other end of the line. Mick was just getting warmed up. Finally, he interrupted. Mick needed a distraction.
“Man, we need a hit.” stopped the tirade in its tracks, draining the last of the glass, lighting another cigarette. Some kind of affirmative noise from the phone.
“I think I got it. Listen to this.” And Keith played that lick, that bass walkup, humming bits of tune. “Can you hear it all right? Do I need to pug in?” Keith asked the phone.
“No no, just keep…I can hear. That part….play it again” Mick was all ears. Keith grinned and leaned back, brought the telly’s neck up a little closer to his shoulder, and in, cradled, close to the phone.
“Well I’m watchin’ my TV, and I’m dah dah dah dah dee.” Keith sang. “Mick. Got paper? Write it.”
“Well I’m watchin’ my TV, and it don’t make sense to me…..naw. My TV…. And a man is talkin’ to me… Naw, still not right…”
The sound of scribbles on the other end of the line.
“Keith, play the whole thing back to me like you just did” Mick said, that note of serious focus in his voice. Keith played it twice through. And then here it came.
“ Whal Ah’m wotchin’ mah tee vee, an' a mahn com on an' tayl meh, how whate mah shurts kin bee” that luvly drawl rolling down the line and into Keith’s ear.
“Mick”, Keith said. “Same note on both tee and vee. Try it again man.” He played, and nodded. “Yeah. That’s it. Next line. Work it”
“Okay. Bring it around.” Mick in the zone.
“Whal Ah’m wotchin’ mah tee vee, an' a mahn com on an' tayl meh, how whate mah shurts kin bee, bhut th’ mahn jus’ cannot see…”
“No Mick. Not it. The line needs to be longer. Gotta take it to the next dah dah, dah, dah dee thing, like…..” Keith played it again. “Make sure you keep the rhyme though…” Paper rustling on the phone line.
It came around. Mick sang,
“Whal Ah’m wotchin’ mah tee vee, an' a mahn com on an' tayl meh, how whate mah shurts kin bee, but he cain’t be a mahn cuz he duzzen’ smoke, the saime ceegahrettes as meh”
“That’s it, man. That’s it, yeah.” Keith smiled. “This is goin’ somewhere now. Okay, and then there’s this part now. It shifts to……I don’t know if this is a chorus? Maybe.” Keith straightened up a half inch on the couch.
“I can’t get no…….satisfaction, I can’t get no……good reaction… Somethin’ like that. Dah dah dah, dah…”
“Do it twice,” from Mick.
“Yeah. Ah cain’t git nooo…..sahtissFact-shun, and then again. Ah cain’t git nooo….sahtissFact-shun, and ah crah, and I…..daih, and ah siagh, and I ……naw. Too…..not….it. Keep playin’” More scribbling noise.
“Okay. Ah cain’t git nooo….sahtissFack-shun, ah cain’t git nooo…sahtiss Fack-shun, but ah trah, an’ ah trah, an’ ah trah, an’ ah trah….” Those lips just lovin’ the lyric. “Wait a minute. I think I got it.” More scribbling. Keith kept on playing. Thinking, what’s the verse, what’s the chorus?
“Okay.” Mick sounding all business. “Eight beats of that second part. That’s the start. Go” Keith went. And there is was.
“Ah cain’t git nooo…sahtissFack-shun, ah, cain’t git nooo….sahtissFack-shun, but ah trah, an’ ah trah, an’ ah trah, an’ ah trah, ah cain’t git no! ah cain’t git no!
Whal ahm wotchin’ mah tee vee, an' a mahn com on an' tayl meh, how whayt mah shurts kin bee, buht he cain’t be a mahn cuz he duzzen smoke, the saime ceegahrettes as meh, ah cain’t git no! No no no ….hey hey hey…..heah whot ah saye…..naw…hang on…should be that’s what I say…..yeah.”
Keith stopped playing.
“So should it start with the chorus? I can’t get no? And then to the verse? Watchin’ TV? That’s rad. Cool.” Dead air on the phone. “Mick?
“Yeah." Mick laughed. "Second verse. A radio thing. When are we due next in the studio?”
Keith lit another cigarette. “Next Tuesday. Be nice if this one was ready. What should we call it?”
A million dollar laugh bubbled out of the phone. Keith already knew the grin by heart.
Mick spoke up. “Yeah mate. Should be bleedin’ obvious. Satisfaction.”
Word Count: 1093