The Rolling Stones gave the world numerous types of songs, including a “stop-bugging-me” song. During an interview, Mick Jagger said this song was partially inspired by the ills of 1960s America. Here’s how the American public reacted to the song — and why Keith Richards doesn’t like it.
The messgae of this Rolling Stones hit is ‘stop bugging me’
Jagger discussed numerous aspects of The Rolling Stones’ career in a landmark 1995 Rolling Stone interview with Jann S. Wenner. In the interview, Wenner asks Jagger about comparisons between The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Wenner asked Jagger about The Rolling Stones’ song “Get Off of My Cloud,” contrasting it with the sunny innocence of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
“[‘Get Off of My Cloud’ is] a stop-bugging-me, post-teenage-alienation song,” Jagger explained. “The grown-up world was a very ordered society in the early ’60s, and I was coming out of it.” Jagger explained how America in particular influenced the track after he toured the United States in the 1960s.
“America was even more ordered than anywhere else. I found it was a very restrictive society in thought and behavior and dress.” He praised New York City and Los Angeles but critiqued the rest of the nation.
“[O]utside of [New York City and Los Angeles] we found it the most repressive society, very prejudiced in every way,” Jagger said. “There was still segregation. And the attitudes were fantastically old-fashioned. Americans shocked me by their behavior and their narrow-mindedness.”
After that, Jagger noted how American society had changed significantly between the time he wrote “Get Off My Cloud” and the time he spoke to Wenner in 1995. In addition, he noted how “everything else” had changed as well. This raises a fascinating question: How did the American populace react to the social commentary of “Get Off of My Cloud” in the 1960s?
How Americans reacted to ‘Get Off of My Cloud’
“Get Off of My Cloud” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1965. It’s one of The Rolling Stones’ most popular songs in the United States. This clearly shows American society was not put off by the critiques put forth in the song. America may have liked “Get Off Of My Cloud,” but Keith Richards didn’t. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Richards revealed the song was designed as a follow-up to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Keith Richards’ issue with ‘Get Off of My Cloud’
“I never dug it as a record,” Richards said. “The chorus was a nice idea but we rushed it as the follow-up…. But how do you follow ‘Satisfaction?’ Actually, what I wanted was to do it slow like a Lee Dorsey thing. We rocked it up. I thought it was one of [producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s] worse productions.”
The Rolling Stones wrote a great many songs about alienation and “Get Off of My Cloud” is one of them. Interestingly, it didn’t alienate American audiences — but it did alienate Richards.