10 OF THE BEST ROLLING STONES TUNES – SELECTED BY A NON-OBSESSIVE FAN

As I previously recounted in the post on the Beatles, I was the youngest of 7 children, and musically was influenced by both my brothers and sisters. I can recall summers at our city pool, the megaphone-like speaker attached to the wall outside the concession stand playing top hits of the day. We all know them. “I Feel the Earth Move”, “ABC”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, “The Night Chicago Died”, and “Benny and the Jets” just to name a few.

To me at the time, the Stones were like a gateway drug to the dark side. While the Beatles reminisced about a stroll “beneath the blue suburban skies”, Mick was singing “you should have heard me just around midnight”. At the time, I didn’t quite know the best word to describe it, but now it comes to me quite easily. Decadence.

So in 2021, it’s hard to believe the Rolling Stones are rolling still (without Charlie Watts, may he RIP). Even at age 78, Mick Jagger and the gang are live in Pittsburgh on Monday.

With that in mind, I wanted to share the ten Rolling Stones songs (in no particular order) I appreciate the most (I’m sure there are non-singles that I would love but am totally unaware of – feel free to share those suggestions within the comments!):

START ME UP (1981)

Kicking off the launch of 1981’s “Tattoo You”, this single was originally recorded for inclusion on “Some Girls”. Originally this was a reggae-rock fusion tune called “Never Stop”. Interestingly enough, some of the sound on the track was captured in a bathroom of The Power Station recording studio in New York City. Most recently, the end of “Blue Bloods” featured Donnie Wahlberg performing the song via karaoke-style on the season premiere this past Friday night. 9/10

Peak Position in the US: #2 (stuck there three weeks behind Christopher Cross’ “Arthur’s Theme” and Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes”) UK – #7

BROWN SUGAR (1971)

With the composition mostly credited to Mick Jagger, this single was lifted from the “Sticky Fingers” album, and ironically is listed as the fifth greatest guitar song of all-time by Rolling Stone (the magazine). It’s surprising you can still here it on radio in 2021 considering the prevalence of our hyper-focused cancel culture. 9/10

Peak Position in the: US – #1 UK – #2

IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N ROLL (BUT I LIKE IT) (1974)

The title track from their 1974 album, this Jagger/Richards collaboration poked fun at journalists always comparing the current to the past when it came to the Stones’ discography. In a nutshell, flipping them off and saying “Why so serious?”. 6/10

Peak Position in the: US – #16 UK – #10

SHATTERED (1978)

Recorded in Paris in 1977, this single from “Some Girls” was partially written in the back of a NYC cab. The fusion of both music and vocal creates a frenetic, anxious atmosphere that perfectly translates to the scene in New York at the time. 7/10

Peak Position in the US: #31

PAINT IT BLACK (1966)

The song that many critics complained was a Beatles rip-off, “Paint It Black” was lifted from their 1966 release “Aftermath”. One of the few hit singles that doesn’t contain a refrain/chorus, the song conveys the grief and loss a person experiences due to the untimely and unexpected loss of their partner. 8/10

Peak Position in the: US – #1 UK – #1

RUBY TUESDAY (1967)

As you might have guessed, this Stones tune is the inspiration for the restaurant of the same name, which opened 5 years after this single was released. The song’s own inspiration came in the form of Linda Keith, Keith Richards’ girlfriend earlier in the decade. Initially it was the B-side of “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, but due to controversy surrounding the A-side’s lyrics, “Ruby Tuesday” garnered more airplay and also peaked higher on the charts in both the US and the UK. 8/10

Peak Position in the: US: #1 UK: #3

(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION (1965)

Lifted from the Rolling Stones’ fourth album “Out of Our Heads”, “Satisfaction” was an instant hit and became the group’s first number one single in the US. Because of it’s sexually suggestive lyrics, initially in the UK the song was only played on pirate radio, later becoming their fourth number one single in the UK. The song was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2006. 9/10

Peak Position in the: US – #1 – UK #1

EMOTIONAL RESCUE (1980)

The title track from their 1980 set, this disco-tinged single was the first time fans noticed a rift between Jagger and Richards. Richards disliked the disco-influenced direction that Jagger was taking the band at the time. The single was well received by most fans however, with some hardcore fans at the time disappointed in the band’s change in sound. 7/10

Peak Position in the: US – #3 – UK #9

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (1968)

Kicking off their “Beggar’s Banquet” album is this classic tune written by (mostly) Jagger and Richards. Who would think a Dylan-esque samba song would hit the top ten in the UK? Who would have thought the “who-who” chants in the background happened by accident? Read more about the occult impact this song had on people for decades after its release, and the misconception that Meredith Hunter was killed while the Stones performed this song (it was actually “Under My Thumb”). 7/10

The introduction of this song inspired Donna Summer’s “Be Myself Again” from her 2008 release “Crayons”.

Peak Position in the: US – #55 – UK #9

MISS YOU (1978)

Blondie had “Heart of Glass”. Rod Stewart had “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”. In 1978, the Stones had “Miss You”. The debut single from the “Some Girls” release in 1978, this Jagger/Richards track originated with a jam session with Billy Preston during rehearsals for upcoming live gigs, evenually hitting number 1 in 14 countries. 7/10

Peak Position in the: US – #1 – UK #3

So there you have it. What are your thoughts on my favorite 10 Rolling Stones songs? What others do you recommend? Leave your thoughts via a comment on the page!

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