Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Top Ten Rolling Stones Songs

Instead of the usual topics of sports and politics, I'm going to tackle a different subject which has been on my mind lately - what are my top ten Rolling Stones songs? The Stones have such a large catalog, it is difficult to remember all of the songs I like.

As with well known bands of the past like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Who, there are famous songs by the Stones I honestly can't stand hearing any more. You know these songs - Start Me Up, Satisfaction, Let It Be, Black Dog, We Won't Get Fooled Again, etc. The songs that classic rock radio has beaten into submission. Those are the type of songs that will be missing from my top ten list.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 Rolling Stones songs in reverse order.

10.) Crazy Mama - from 1976's Black and Blue. Black and Blue only had 8 songs and was, to put it charitably, extremely uneven in the quality of the songs (drugs had something to do with it). Crazy Mama is the final cut from the album and it rocks hard. Extremely underrated and very rarely played on the radio, this song is a treasure.

9.) Far Away Eyes - from 1978's Some Girls, this country ballad sung by Jagger in a faux Southern accent is always a great listen. The lyrics are pretty comical. Ron Wood on a pedal steel guitar sounds great.

8.) Happy - from 1972's Exile On Main St. - Keith Richards' signature song. Keith does the vocals and the song opens with a great riff. I always really liked this one

7.) Rain Fall Down - from 2005's A Bigger Bang. A Bigger Bang is one of the Stones' best albums, featuring several strong songs, and this is the one I like the best from the album. It's a funk driven Jagger number, that is reminiscent of Jagger's solo song "Sweet Thing". The song has a great groove to it. Despite it being a "Stones" album, A Bigger Bang is the Mick Jagger Show (along with Charlie Watts' drums - he's terrific on this album). If you listen to the album it's apparent that Mick's carrying the band at this point; a point that was proved to me when I saw them in concert in 2006.

6.) Hand of Fate - from Black and Blue, an album mostly recorded before Ron Wood officially became a member of the band. This song features studio musician Wayne Perkins on lead guitar and he nails a terrific solo to go along with the usually great Jagger vocal. The lyrics of this song remind me of an Old West shoot out.

5.) Mixed Emotions - this one was from the 1989 comeback album Steel Wheels, back when everyone was convinced Mick and Keith were going to break the band up because they couldn't get along. Mixed Emotions was the first single released and it features great guitar riffs and a superb Jagger vocal. After a few shoddy albums during the 80's, this was the song that alleviated any fears of those wondering whether the band still had it.

4.) Let It Bleed - the title track from the Stones' landmark 1969 album is a countryish sing along that starts off slow and builds up into some great slide guitar work. The lyrics on this song were pretty lewd for the time.

3.) Live With Me - from Let It Bleed - the song opens with a sinister bass line (for some reason, played by Keith Richards, not Bill Wyman) and kicks right into Mick Jagger describing some of the reasons a girl wouldn't want to live with him. The bass in this song is so good, you can almost see The Who's John Entwistle and Paul McCartney nodding their heads in agreement. This was one of the first songs Mick Taylor played on.

2.) All Down The Line - from Exile on Main St. - All Down The Line is exhibit A as to why Mick Taylor was so good in the Stones and why Ron Wood can never come close to being as good. Next time you hear it, listen to Taylor's slide guitar throughout the song. All Down the Line is one of several early 70's Stones' song in which the horns add so much to the song.

1.) Bitch - This song is from 1971's Sticky Fingers and it has it all. Great guitar licks, a rare driving bass line from Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger's best vocal performance, and to top it off, those tasteful horns. This song kicks ass.


Jim Callaghan said...

I don't know, Kevin. It's 4 AM and I'm not on my game, but I'm not completely in accordance with your top 10. You are right in not picking the obvious ones. You did the research and dug deep. I applaud this. "Start Me Up" gags me and much that's on "Hot Rocks" sadly bores me to tears. However, any top 10 Stones list has to have "Tumblin Dice" and "Street Fighting Man" IMO. And, though kind of a lame, slow song, I think "Memory Motel" would creep into a lottery pick for me as well.

The question of the day remains: Where does "Figure of Eight" figure in for post Beatles McCartney stuff? That song could be worse than "Undercover of the Night"!

Hey, thanks for the plug on my blog. I'll be posting more soon. Peace.

Kevin Flynn said...

Tumblin' Dice was between 11-15 on my list. I originally had it on there, but removed it, when I thought of a few songs.

Don't fret, the McCartney list is coming soon.

Jim Callaghan said...

Something tells me that I should prepare myself for the gagging that's likely to come from the McCartney list. I know you like the sappy songs.

C Moon Callaghan

Anonymous said...

The Rolling Stones are more overrated than Woody Allen and Spike Lee.

Kevin Flynn said...

Nick, great call on Woody Allen being overrated. He sucks.