You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones

1. Official Video in 4K:

2. Official Lyric Video:

3. Live Performance (Official):


You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones is a song rich in musical history and cultural impact. This lesson will dive into the song's background, its lyrics, and the band behind it. You'll explore the song's influence and its place in music history.

Background of the Song

You Can't Always Get What You Want was released by The Rolling Stones in 1969 on their album "Let It Bleed." It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the band's primary songwriters. The song is known for its philosophical lyrics, its choral music, and its reflection of the changing cultural landscape of the late 1960s.

Composition and Lyrics

The song starts with a French horn intro, followed by a choir and then transitions into a rock arrangement. The lyrics are a meditation on the theme of desire and disappointment, a reflection of the tumultuous era it was created in.

Reception and Legacy

The song was not released as a single initially but has since become one of The Rolling Stones' most popular and enduring songs. It has been covered by many artists and featured in numerous movies and television shows.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "You Can't Always Get What You Want" released? (1969) (!1972) (!1965) (!1970)

Which album features "You Can't Always Get What You Want"? ("Let It Bleed") (!"Sticky Fingers") (!"Beggars Banquet") (!"Exile on Main St.")

Who were the primary songwriters for "You Can't Always Get What You Want"? (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) (!Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts) (!Keith Richards and Brian Jones) (!Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman)

What is the opening instrument in the song? (French horn) (!Guitar) (!Piano) (!Harmonica)

What theme does the song primarily reflect? (Desire and disappointment) (!Love and loss) (!Freedom and rebellion) (!Peace and harmony)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

When was The Rolling Stones band formed? (1962) (!1960) (!1964) (!1958)

Which country are The Rolling Stones from? (United Kingdom) (!United States) (!Australia) (!Canada)

Which Rolling Stones album is considered their first major success in the United States? ("The Rolling Stones, Now!") (!"Out of Our Heads") (!"Aftermath") (!"England's Newest Hit Makers")

Who is the lead singer of The Rolling Stones? (Mick Jagger) (!Keith Richards) (!Ronnie Wood) (!Charlie Watts)

Which Rolling Stones song was the first to reach number one on the UK charts? ("It's All Over Now") (!"Satisfaction") (!"Paint It Black") (!"Ruby Tuesday")

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

In "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the choir is featured in which part of the song? (The intro) (!The chorus) (!The bridge) (!The outro)

Which of the following is a line from the song? ("But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need") (!"You can't always get what you love") (!"Time is on my side, yes it is") (!"I can't get no satisfaction")

What is the song's main message? (Acceptance of life's disappointments) (!Chasing your dreams at all costs) (!The power of love and friendship) (!The importance of wealth and fame)

How does the song's musical style change throughout? (It starts with a choir and transitions into rock) (!It remains consistent as a blues-rock song) (!It begins as a ballad and ends as a hard rock song) (!It starts acoustically and transitions to electric)

What instrument plays a notable solo in the middle of the song? (Saxophone) (!Guitar) (!Piano) (!Harmonica)


Released Year 1969
Album Let It Bleed
Lead Singer Mick Jagger
Main Theme Desire and Disappointment
Opening Instrument French Horn

Open Tasks


  1. Research the 1960s: Explore how the cultural and social changes of the 1960s might have influenced the music of The Rolling Stones.
  2. Design an Album Cover: Create your own album cover for "Let It Bleed" incorporating themes from "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
  3. Listen and Reflect: Listen to the song and write a short paragraph about how it makes you feel and why.


  1. Compare and Contrast: Compare "You Can't Always Get What You Want" with another song from the 1960s that reflects social change.
  2. Analyze the Lyrics: Write a detailed analysis of the lyrics of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," discussing its themes and messages.
  3. Musical Analysis: Analyze the musical composition of the song, discussing its structure, instrumentation, and how these contribute to the overall feel of the song.


  1. Create a Documentary: Make a short documentary on The Rolling Stones, focusing particularly on the era around the release of "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
  2. Songwriting Exercise: Write your own song inspired by the themes and style of "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
  3. Organize a Debate: Host a debate on the impact of music on social change, using "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as a case study.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Song's Impact: Explain how "You Can't Always Get What You Want" reflects the cultural and social atmosphere of the late 1960s.
  2. Compare Bands: Compare The Rolling Stones' musical style and influence to another band from the same era.
  3. Lyrics Interpretation: Interpret the song's lyrics in the context of personal experiences or current events.
  4. Music Evolution: Discuss how The Rolling Stones' music evolved over time and the factors that might have influenced this change.
  5. Cultural Significance: Analyze the cultural significance of The Rolling Stones in the history of rock music.

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