"Street Fighting Man
" is a song by the Rolling Stones featured on their 1968 album Beggars Banquet
. Called the band's "most political song," Originally titled and recorded as "Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?
", containing the same music but very different lyrics, "Street Fighting Man" is known as one of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' most politically inclined works to date. Jagger allegedly wrote it about Tariq Ali after he attended a 1968 anti-war rally at London's US embassy, during which mounted police attempted to control a crowd of 25,000. He also found inspiration in the rising violence among student rioters on Paris' Left Bank, the precursor to a period of civil unrest in May 1968. Mick Jagger explained in a 1995 interview with Jann Wenner in Rolling Stone:
"Yeah, it was a direct inspiration, because by contrast, London was very quiet ... It was a very strange time in France. But not only in France but also in America, because of the Vietnam War and these endless disruptions ... I thought it was a very good thing at the time. There was all this violence going on. I mean, they almost toppled the government in France; de Gaulle went into this complete funk, as he had in the past, and he went and sort of locked himself in his house in the country. And so the government was almost inactive. And the French riot police were amazing. "