1 of The Rolling Stones’ Most Popular Songs Needed 4 Years to Hit the Charts

Before Keith Richards and Mick Jagger made The Rolling Stones into rock legends, the band started its chart success by recording a John Lennon and Paul McCartney song. The Rolling Stones didn’t need to rely on other bands’ tunes for long, but the group had to wait four years for one of its most popular songs to reach the Billboard charts.

Members of The Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood (left), Mick Jagger (second from right), Keith Richards (right), and two backup singers perform in 1976, three years after one "You Can't Always Get What You Want" finally hit the charts nearly a decade after the band recorded it.
Members of The Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood (left), Mick Jagger (second from right), Keith Richards (right), and two backup singers perform in 1976 | Harry Prosser/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

“Honky Tonk Woman” was one of several 1960s chart toppers for The Rolling Stones, and it had a classic B-side

Jagger, Richards, and the Stones hit their stride in the back half of the 1960s as they found their greatest Billboard singles chart success. 

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 chart topper in June 1965. “Get Off My Cloud” and “Paint It, Black” followed suit in October 1965 and May 1966, respectively. “Ruby Tuesday” reached No. 1 in January 1967, but one of The Rolling Stones’ biggest hits came when “Honky Tonk Woman” spent four weeks at No. 1 in 1969. It became one of their best-performing No. 1 Billboard hits

Anyone who cared to flip over the “Honky Tonk Woman” single found “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the other side. It’s one of The Rolling Stones’ most popular songs now, but “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” needed four years to reach the charts on its own.

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” charted in 1973 — four years after the Stones recorded it

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Let It Bleed was part of an incredible four-album run for The Rolling Stones. The group released Beggars Banquet in 1968, Let it Bleed the following year, and Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street in 1971 and 1972, respectively.

Let it Bleed album-closer “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” stands out, even among such Stones favorites as the title song, “Gimme Shelter,” and “Midnight Rambler.” 

Amazingly, none of those hits entered the charts until the band released “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as a single in April 1973. The song spent eight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 42 in June 1973 as it saw a re-release on the Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 compilation.

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” remains one of The Rolling Stones’ most beloved songs

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“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” might not be one of The Rolling Stones’ biggest hits in terms of chart placement, but it’s one of their most popular songs.

The band’s 60-year career is stacked with hits. The group put songs on the Billboard charts in five straight decades from the 1960s to the 2000s, but “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is one of the highlights. 

Far Out magazine ranks it No. 5 among the greatest Rolling Stones songs ever. The magazine writes that it has become a staple of the band’s concert setlists over the last 50 years. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a song even the most casual Stones fans can identify within a few notes. Fans aren’t the only ones who love it, though. Far Out writes that Jagger has a soft spot for its strong melody, sing-along chorus, and orchestral tinges that make it one of The Rolling Stones’ most popular songs and the one that needed four years to hit the charts.

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