This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest bands of all time forming to make some of the best, most memorable music ever. The Rolling Stones originally joined together in 1962, marking them as early competitors with The Beatles, and one of the few bands that could actually give them a run for their money in terms of quality of music, influence of music, and overall badassness of music. The remainder of this week, LxL is choosing to remember, praise, and love on the Stones for their 50th b-day. So sit back and enjoy our first Stones post of the week, as we journey through our favorite albums of one of our favorite classic bands:
5. Let It Bleed (1969)
One of The Stones’ most stripped-down, bare-bones album of all time. The album is very acoustically driven and has some of the most passionate songs The Stones ever wrote or recorded on it. Including a brilliant cover of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain”. The stand-outs include “Gimmie SHelter”, “Midnight Rambler” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. It also has “Country Honk”, which live would be transformed into the song most people know as “Honky Tonk Women”. What’s funny is for how stripped down the album is, two of the most stand out moments on the album are the back-up vocals for “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always …”. The lady singing in “Gimmie” has to be a football field away from the microphone and just screaming at the top of her lungs. To this day, I have never heard a performance even close to hers on a studio album.
4. Aftermath (1966)
Aftermath was the album that put the Stones on everyone’s radar. It wasn’t likely by then that you hadn’t hear of the Stones by 1966, but if you hadn’t, NOW you did. Featuring monster favorites such as “Paint It Black”, Under My Thumb”, “Out of Time” and many more, this album was shockingly memorable. I can’t imagine what it must have been like listening to it in 1966. It had to have been just a straight up punk album for it’s time. Witty, rash and abrasive, looking back, it’s albums like this that make me wish I would have lived in the 1960’s.
3. Beggars Banquet (1968)
One of my personal favorite albums of all time. This album opens with one of the greatest songs ever constructed, “Sympathy for the Devil” and closes with one of the most down-to-Earth, passionate, heart-wretching songs the Stones ever recorded, “Salt of the Earth”. Everything sandwiched in between is just pure gold. This album marked the end of the era in which Stones were desperately trying to compete with The Beatles. They were doing their own thing and really fell into their own. It also marked the beginning to one of the greatest 5-album stretches in the history of music.
2. Sticky Fingers (1971)
An eclectic mash of sex, punk, blues, and honky-tonk. They had literally recapped their entire career in one album, as well as dropped a few of their most successful singles of all time. The funny thing was, they were technically still short a single as per contract, so they handed over a track to the studio entitled “Cocksucker”. Naturally this track was rejected, and thus we were given the three-year-old “Street Fighting Man” released as a singl for the first time. “There are quite a few stand out tracks on here, and one of them is the “You Gotta Move” cover. Many bands have tried to replicate this song, but Stones’ was easily among the best.
1. Exile on Main St. (1972)
An all out rock’n'roll masterpiece. Introducing people to this album is literally introducing hem to music for the first time. The Stones had been sick of their contracts and their deals. Being forced to turn over songs like “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar”, they were desperately wanting to return to their roots of country/R&B … so that is exactly what they did. They recorded the album over the span of 4 years, and a few months of that was spent locked off from civilization in Keith’s basement. The result was a product that was pure, raw, rock’n'roll. It is iconically Rolling Stones down to its core. There is not a bad track on the album and it spans the map of what these guys were made of. Influences are apparent, it’s home to one of their best recoded covers (Robert Johnson’s, “Stop Breaking Down”) and it’s a full double LP without a bad track on it … which is hard to do.
The “just missed our list” list …
Todd – Some Girls (1978)
It had been several years at this point since the band had pumped out truly great material. They had hit a slump, and Some Girls dug the right out. Tracks such as “Miss You”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Shattered” help mark the comeback of everyone’s favorite band, once again making everyones favorite songs.
Austin – England’s Newest Hit Makers (1964)
Self titled in the UK, England’s Newest Hit Makers was Rolling Stones’ debut to the world. To be fair, only one track on the album was actually written by Mick and Keith. The rest is a mix of country and R&B artists in which most of the Stones’ sound and influences derived from. What the album did for the band more than anything was brilliantly display what the Stones’ were capable of and just how nasty their performances were.
Wes – Between the Buttons (1967)
Still competing heavily with The Beatles, The Stones gave the world an album that was a bit less of an in your face punk album, but more of a melodic, poppy album that was full of fun songs and sing alongs. “Ruby Tuesday” is the best example of these types of tracks, as well as “Connections” They still had a bit of an edge to them however, with tracks like “Let’s Spend the Night Together”.
If you like our album list, check out our top 50 Rolling Stones Licks List here!
So there is the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, or got right, but still feel free to just rip on us in general …