My Top 1000 Songs #631: Can't You Hear Me Knocking

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

In which the Rolling Stones find their inner jam band...

1971's Sticky Fingers, a ridiculous feast of outstanding songs, covers an awful lot of ground. But even on such a varied work, "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" feels like something wholly unexpected. Sure, it starts off as a basic hard-rocking Stones tune, a savage riff and almost proto-punk New York Dolls-predicting verse, alternating with a surprisingly melodic chorus featuring some pretty Mick 'n' Keef harmonies. But then, about 2:45 into the song--a perfectly respectable place to simply fade out and move on to the next barnburner--the conga drums kick in, and next thing you know you're in this jazzy, swinging jam, more Santana or Traffic than the Stones, a trippy groove with one of the few sax solos I care to hear (care of the legendary Bobby Keys) while takeing full advantage of Mick Taylor's guitar magic.

The song checks in at just over seven minutes, and, frankly, if there's any drawback to the song, it's that it's too short. I'd have loved to hear that jam go on a little longer, see the band go full-on "Dark Star," but I guess it'll have to do. (For some crazy reason, it never became a live staple, but when they incorporated it into their sets in the 2000s, they did give it a little more breathing room.)

Live 2003:

My Morning Jacket with Phish's Trey Anastasio:

Jason Isbell:
Gov't Mule: