The Rolling Stones gave the world numerous hit songs. In addition, they were one of the most acclaimed bands of all time. There are very few lists of the greatest bands of all time that doesn’t mention them.
However, Mick Jagger isn’t enamored with everything his band has done. Sometimes, he can be very critical of the Stones’ music. He even admitted he isn’t a fan of one of the Stones’ classic tracks. He was worried the song didn’t resonate as time went on.
The origin of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Street Fighting Man’ and what Keith Richards thinks of it
“Street Fighting Man” is one of the more famous Stones songs with a political bent. It’s been interpreted in numerous ways. Some fans interpret it as being about feeling powerless during a time of great social upheaval. Jagger revealed it was inspired by the riots going on in France in 1968. However, he didn’t explain the song’s message.
Keith Richards is a big fan of the song. He said the riff from the song is his sixth favorite in the Stones’ catalog. That’s high praise considering so many Stones songs have incredible instrumentation.
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In an interview with Guitar World, Richards explained the creative process behind the song. “I wanted the drive and dryness of an acoustic guitar, but I still wanted to distort it. On ‘Street Fighting Man,’ there’s one six-string and one five-string acoustic…There are lots of layers of guitars on ‘Street Fighting Man,’ so it’s difficult to say what you’re hearing on there. ’Cause I tried eight different guitars, and which ones were used in the final version I couldn’t say.”
How Mick Jagger — and the public — reacted to the song
Jagger, by contrast, is not a fan of “Street Fighting Man.” In 1995, he told Rolling Stone “I’m not sure if it really has any resonance for the present day. I don’t really like it that much. I thought it was a very good thing at the time.” He expressed ambivalence as to whether or not the Stones should continue to perform it at their shows.
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Meanwhile, the public didn’t like the song much back in the 1960s. Billboard reports the track only reached No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Street Fighting Man” wasn’t a total commercial failure. However, it’s performance is a bit disappointing when you realize the Stones had several top ten hits in their discography at that point and would go on to have several more.
However, the song has a very good reputation. Many fans like the song. In addition, it gets a decent amount of airplay on classic rock stations. Some feel the song’s political message resonated even more in 2020 than it has in many years. Jagger might not be a fan of “Street Fighting Man,” but the public seems to have warmed to it over time.
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