Satisfaction

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The Devil’s Advocate

The Gulf Beach Motel, Clearwater, FL: Site of a good morning’s work, yesteryear.


In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction is a song by the Rolling Stones, released in 1965. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Keith Richards claims to have written the music for Satisfaction in his sleep. He had no idea he had written it. When he woke up he discovered he had recorded 30 seconds of music and 44 minutes of snoring on a Philips cassette player, but that 30 seconds contained a rough version of the famous guitar riff — which Richards ‌intended to replace with a horn section, but never got round to it — that‌ drives the song.

Mick Jagger, by Richards’ account, dashed off the lyrics to Satisfaction in ten minutes while lounging by a motel pool in Clearwater, Florida, surrounded by groupies. I expect it was a bit of a serial shag-fest.[1]

Why is this rock staple showing up in the pages of the Jolly Contrarian? To illustrate the principle of rent-seeking, readers, in this case delivered by the medium of intellectual property law. For notwithstanding the abject paucity of effort from all concerned — Richards apparently not even conscious; Jagger at the very least wilfully disregarding the clangorous irony of his situation for the quarter of an hour it took him to pen the lyrics — the song not only shot the Rolling Stones to stardom, but has continued to accrue them a king’s ransom from royalties in the fifty-five years that have since elapsed.

Information is hard to come by, but I don’t think I’m too many orders of magnitude out when I estimate that Satisfaction has earned Jagger and Richards tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.

Not bad for fifteen minutes’ “work”.

See also

References

  1. Reference. According to Bill Wyman, it was the Gulf Beach Motel (pictured). I may be making up the bit about groupies but it adds to the story and seems quite plausible.