Unearthing the Origins of The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

The Rolling Stones, one of the most iconic rock bands in history, have a catalog of timeless classics. Among these, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" stands out not only for its musical brilliance but also for its enigmatic origins. In this exploration, we'll delve into the possible sources of inspiration behind this song, including the intriguing story of "Mr. Jimmy" and the band's memorable appearance in Excelsior, Minnesota.

The Song's Creation

Before we dive into the song's origins, it's essential to understand its inception. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was released in 1969 as a part of The Rolling Stones' iconic album, "Let It Bleed." The song, penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is a melancholic yet uplifting anthem that has resonated with generations. While the songwriting duo's genius is unquestionable, there are intriguing theories about the song's inspiration.

The Mr. Jimmy Connection

One of the most persistent theories regarding the song's origin revolves around a mysterious character known as "Mr. Jimmy." This theory suggests that Mr. Jimmy was a real person who left a lasting impression on Mick Jagger and inspired the song.

Mr. Jimmy

In 1964, the Rolling Stones were a small and relatively unknown rock and roll band with a scheduled stop at the Danceland Ballroom at the Excelsior Amusement Park. The Stones played to a small crowd of 300, and the next day both Mick Jagger and James "Mr. Jimmy" Hutmaker went to the Bacon Drug Store. While there, legend has it that Hutmaker ordered a Cherry Coke, and received a plain Coke, and quipped the line, "You can't always get what you want," to Jagger who stood next to him.

Mr. Jimmy's Influence

According to legend, Mr. Jimmy's optimistic, carefree attitude and his motto, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need," deeply resonated with Mick Jagger. This phrase reportedly stuck in Jagger's mind and became the lyrical core of the song.


You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones is a timeless classic with a multifaceted origin story. While the song's lyrics speak to the universal human experience of longing and acceptance, the possible influence of "Mr. Jimmy" adds an intriguing layer of mystique to its creation. Additionally, the band's visit to Excelsior, Minnesota, showcases their connection to the American heartland.

In the end, the song's enduring appeal lies in its ability to resonate with listeners on a deeply personal level. Whether inspired by a chance encounter with an enigmatic figure or the serene beauty of a small lakeside town, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" remains a testament to the enduring creativity of The Rolling Stones and the magic of music itself.