Can't You Hear Me Knocking

Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: June-July 1970
Recording location: Olympic Sound Studios, London, England
Producer: Jimmy Miller        Chief engineers: Glyn Johns & Andy Johns
       Performed onstage: 2002-03, 2007, 2013, 2015-16


Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman
Electric guitars: Keith Richards & Mick Taylor (incl. extended solo)
Lead vocal: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Organ: Billy Preston
Saxophone: Bobby Keys
Congas: Rocky Dijon
Maracas: Jimmy Miller


Yeah, you've got satin shoes

Yeah, you've got plastic boots
You all got cocaine eyes
Yeah, you've got speed freak jive now
Can't you hear me knocking on your window?
Can't you hear me knocking on your door?
Can't you hear me knocking down the dirty street?

Help me baby, ain't no stranger
Help me baby, ain't no stranger
Help me baby, ain't no stranger

Can't you hear me knocking? Are you safe asleep?
Can't you hear me knocking, yeah, down the gas light street now?
Can't you hear me knocking? Yeah, throw me down the keys
All right now

Hear me ringing big bell toll
Hear me singing soft and low
I've been begging on my knees
I've been kicking, help me please

Hear me prowling - I'm going to take you down
Hear me growling - Yes, I've got a fight in me now, now, now
Hear me howling - I'm all, I'm all around your street now
Hear me knocking - I'm all, I'm all around your town

Can't You Hear Me Knocking came out flying - I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we're thinking, hey, this is some groove. So it was smiles all around. For a guitar player it's no big deal to play, the chopping, staccato bursts of chords, very direct and spare.
- Keith Richards, Life (2010)

On that song, my fingers just landed in the right place and I discovered a few things about that tuning (open G) that I'd never been aware of. I think I realized that even as I was cutting the track.
- Keith Richards, 2002

We did this at Olympic and the jam at the end was an afterthought. It comes in two pieces, this rock song with this added jam. It's slightly Carlos Santana-like, Mick Taylor plays a bit of that style, I think. I don't think we meant that, but somehow it added on and I think this was done really quickly, too. I remember very clearly doing it. It's very high for me, and I remember saying, Oh, this is not really my key, but I'll try. I did lots of harmonies to hide the fact I didn't really hit the notes that great in the chorus.
- Mick Jagger, 2015

(Keith and I) both played on (the intro) actually, it was one of the few, well not of the few Stones tracks because lots of tracks we recorded with the Stones in those days were actually by and large recorded live the way you would play them onstage, sometimes even in 1 or 2 takes. Very rarely were guitar solos overdubbed, I mean other things may have been overdubbed, but very rarely were guitar solos overdubbed, they were usually sort of done with the backing track so they were done live.
- Mick Taylor, 1995

Can't You Hear Me Knocking... is one of my favorites... (The jam at the end) just happened by accident; that was never planned. Towards the end of the song I just felt like carrying on playing. Everybody was putting their instruments down, but the tape was still rolling and it sounded good, so everybody quickly picked up their instruments again and carried on playing. It just happened, and it was a one-take thing. A lot of people seem to really like that part.
- Mick Taylor, 1979

I remember Can't You Hear Me Knocking. That was all one take. There were a few takes, but that one got the greenlight because of the jam at the end, and where it went with Mick (Taylor)'s playing, which was exceptional.
- Chris Kimsey (assistant engineer), 2015

(The jam at the end wasn't inspired by Carlos Santana.) We didn't even know they were still taping. We thought we'd finished. We were just rambling and they kept the tape rolling. I figured we'd just fade it off. It was only when we heard the playback that we realized, Oh, they kept it going. Basically we realized we had two bits of music. There's the song and there's the jam.
- Keith Richards, 2002

I used a brown Gibson ES-345 for Dead Flowers and the solo on Can't You Hear Me Knocking.
- Mick Taylor, 1979

As a lead, virtuoso guitar, Mick (Taylor) was so lyrical on songs like Can't You Hear Me Knocking, which was an amazing track because that was a complete jam, one take at the end. He had such a good ear, and I would help push him along.
- Charlie Watts, 2003

That song had such a fantastic groove going, they just let the tape runing for my solo at the end. Generally, I tried to bring my own distinctive sound and style to Sticky Fingers and I like to think I added some extra spice. I don't want to say "sophistication" - I think that sounds pretentious. Charlie said I brought "finesse". That's a better word. I'll go with what Charlie said.
- Mick Taylor, 2011

The song is not a Mick Taylor song at all. Mick merely does a, certainly very fine, but nevertheless Carlos Santana kind of solo part. The whole rough rhythmic characteristic thing about the song is Keith.
- Pierre de Beauport, Keith Richards' guitar technician, 1999

(From the Mick Taylor period,) I love Can't You Hear Me Knocking.
- Keith Richards, 2002

I think this track's really interesting. We've never done anything else like it since. 
- Mick Jagger, 2015

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