It's Only Rock 'n Roll
(But I Like It)

Composers: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: December 1973 & April-May 1974
Recording locations: Ron Wood's home studio, Richmond, England; Rolling Stones Mobile Unit, Mick Jagger's home, Newbury, England;

& Island Recording Studios, London, England

Producers: The Glimmer Twins        Chief engineers: George Chkiantz & Keith Harwood
Performed onstage: 1975-77, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1997-99, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2012-17

Probable line-up:

Drums: Kenney Jones
Bass: Willie Weeks
12-string acoustic guitar: Ron Wood
Electric guitars: Keith Richards
Lead vocals: Mick Jagger
Backing vocals: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood
Piano: Ian Stewart

 
If I could stick my pen in my heart
I would spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy you? Would it slide on by you?
Would you think the boy is strange?
Ain't he strange?

If I could win you, if I could sing you

A love song so divine
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried?
If I cried?


I said I know it's only rock & roll but I like it

I know it's only rock & roll
But I like it, like it, yes I do

Oh well, I like it
I like it
I like it

I said can't you see that this old boy has been lonely?

If I could stick a knife in my heart

Suicide right onstage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust?
Would it help to ease the pain?
Ease your brain?

If I could dig down deep in my heart

Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy you? Would it slide on by you?
Would you think the boy's insane?
He's insane


I said I know it's only rock & roll but I like it

I said I know it's only rock & roll
But I like it, like it, yes I do

Oh well, I like it
Yeah, I like it
I like it

I said can't you see that this old boy has been lonely?

And do you think that you're the only girl around?

I bet you think that you're the only woman in town

Ooh yeah!

I said I know it's only rock & roll but I like it

I said I know it's only rock & roll but I like it

I know it's only rock & roll but I like it - ooh yeah

I know it's only rock & roll
But I like it, like it, yes I do

Oh well, I like it
I like it

I like it

I like it

I like it

I like it
- only rock & roll but
I like it - only rock & roll but

I like it - only rock & roll but

Well I like it - only rock & roll but

Ooh yeah, I like it - only rock & roll but

Yeah but I like it - only rock & roll but

Ooh yeah, I like it
- only rock & roll but
Well I like it - only rock & roll but

I like it - only rock & roll but

Oh yeah, I like it
- only rock & roll but
Oh yeah, I like it - only rock & roll but

Well I like it - only rock & roll but

Well I like it

Yeah, I like it
Well I like it
Well now I like it
Ooh yeah, I like it

 

TrackTalk

Mick (Jagger) and I worked out I Can Feel the Fire and after we'd done that, he said, Help me with this song 'cause I wanna see how it turns out. So, say on a Tuesday evening: two guitars - Mick and I - and Mick singing lead vocal and David Bowie and myself on backup vocals. Then I overdubbed the rest of the instruments last and it sounded like a good demo. So the next night, we wanted to put it in a more presentable shape so we got hold of Kenny Jones who plays the drums on the actual record. Ah... I ended up with just my acoustic guitar that I laid originally. Keith replaced - RIGHTLY SO - the guitars that I'd done electrically.

- Ron Wood, 1982


The idea of the song has to do with our persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that oh, it's not as good as their last one business. The single-sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a light-harded, anti-journalistic sort of thing. We originally recorded it in Ronnie Wood's demo-studio.

- Mick Jagger, 1993


I didn't do that, that was done - I was in bed at the time of that... And that was done - Kenny played that, Kenny Jones, they pulled HIM out' cause he lived near to Richmond. It was done in a very beautiful house in Richmond that Ronnie used to own. Pete Townshend owns it now, there's a bit of name-dropping isn't it, you'll like that.

- Charlie Watts, 2003


We cut it but it just didn't have that one-off feel. So eventually we went back to the dub and overdubbed (laughs) on David and on Kenny and... did another one of those because it just had the right...

- Keith Richards, 2003


I said, But you forgot one thing, Keith, you forgot my twelve-string. And he said, (grunts) I left that on.

- Ron Wood, 2003


I like that track It's Only Rock 'n Roll...

- Mick Taylor, 1979


Yeah, it's a very Chuck Berry song, but it's got a different kind of feeling to it than a Chuck Berry song. But it's completely Chuck Berry...

- Mick Jagger, 2003


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