BEST: Not Fade Away 2ND BEST: Carol Worst: Walking the Dog Stars:4
The Rolling Stones Now (1965)
Not really an album but a release – The Rolling Stones Now, 12×5, the Rolling Stones, Out of Our Heads and December’s Children are all basically the same album-some originals and covers. Take the few originals from these records add them to Aftermath and delete the filler there and you have a great album and proper representation of the Stones song writing abilities.
BEST: Heart of Stone 2ND BEST: Little Red Rooster Worst: Surprise, Surprise Stars:4
A very strong all originals effort. “Going Home” is an experiment that actually led some where for the Stones-the extended jam-far better than the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” which led nowhere.
A major step forward, finally eshewing their poorly executed blues covers for original material. The genesis of their misogynistic outlook (“Stupid Girl“, “Under My Thumb”) is offset by the delicate “Lady Jane” and the sublime “I am Waiting”, perhaps their most underrated tune. A landmark album in the Stones development. Up to this point they were a 2nd rate cover band capable of great singles. Aftermath put them on the road to becoming a complete band.
A thin sounding album. The Stones had barely become a credible blues band and had just started to show promise as a pop band. This album shows them as a poor man’s Beatles. The Beatles were probably the Stones’ worst influence. When they try to follow the Beatles they sound contrived. “Miss Amanda Jones” hints at the Exile on Main Street sound they would later stumble upon. Great piano work throughout.
Did you know?: When the Rolling Stones appeared on the Ed Sullivan show to play Let’s Spend the Night Together, they agreed to change the “racy” lyrics to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.” Click here to listen to it.
Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
The Stones playing to their contemporary influences with little practice and fair effect. They went from a blues cover band to a band finding their own voice in a hybrid blues/rock genre to this. Not a bad example of mid 60’s psychedelic music. Not very good either. “She’s A Rainbow” would have made a fine addition to Between the Buttons. The poor music hall/Sgt. Pepper/Kinks sounding “On with the Show” ends this album. With the superb Beggars Banquet on deck-yes indeed!
This album contains many weak musical experiments, but when they work they’re good – “2000 Man”, “She’s a Rainbow” and “2000 Light Years From Home. On the down side, one can think of “Sing This All Together” as the Stones’ Revolution 9, one year before the fact; “Gomper” really sucks, as does “On With the Show”. This album is always bashed, but it was a necessary step in the stones evolution- perhaps its failure gave them the incentive to forge ahead into the most productive stage of their career. “Citadel” contains a trademark Stones riff.
The leap forward that Satanic should have been. A revelation after the dismal psychedelic failure of Satanic, though “Street Fighting Man” retains some experimental touches. The Stones fully embrace their blues roots, with a strong dose of C&W. Their first truly consistent/listenable album from start to finish- up to this point they were the consummate singles band. A great album, not perfect, as Jagger’s vocals occasionally tend to border on the corny.
Best of the Stones live albums in the 60’s. Glyn Johns produced but a little heavy on the older Rock and Roll tunes. A re release double CD of this entire concert would be in order. This album contains a better version of “Sympathy for the Devil”(more blues, no background woo woo’s). Overall, a solid live album.
Out of the Beatles shadow, with a sound of their own that is firmly in place, Sticky Fingers is an assured album but doesn’t break any new ground. The most complete Stones album- all their influences meld together seamlessly in this collection- from the heavy blues of “Sway” & “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'”, traditional blues of “I Got the Blues,” C&W with “Dead Flowers” & “Wild Horses” and killer ballads with delicate instrumentation, “Moonlight Mile”. An album filled with despair, as persomified by “Sister Morphine.” “Brown Sugar” seems out of place, in a way, in that it is a lusty party tune, unlike anything else on this album, though “Bitch” does have a pretty good foot stompin’ groove. Oddly, enough this cd contains one of their worst ever- “You Gotta Move”.
BEST- Brown Sugar 2ND BEST- Can’t You Hear Me Knocking WORST- You Gotta Move STARS- 4 Did you know?: The original Sticky Fingers album featured an Andy Warhol photograph of a male crotch and a workable metal zipper.
Exile On Main Street (1972)
Although never an original favorite and one with a very unclean and very muddled sound, it is probably their best. No where to be found is the normal Stones swagger which appears to have been consumed by the ego destroying heroin. Exile is really what the Stones are about-its not derivative and its not the strutting stuff that the stones produced with an eye and ear to their image. This is a faceless album by mature musicians that sequestered themselves down in the south of France (for tax reasons), with shed loads of dope of all kinds and produced a sprawling epic.
A double album that would have made a pretty good single album. Even as a single album, the tunes are second rate compared to the likes of “Beggar’s”, “Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers.” Musically they have covered this ground on the three previous albums, and in better style. I’ve always found “Tumblin’ Dice” to be overrated. Also marred by too many horns and gospel background singers- always two sure signs of a band in decline- check out Dylan in the mid ’70’s and Springsteen in the early ’90’s. Overall very listenable, it just doesn’t merit the endless critical praise.
Decent Stones album. Uninspired but still some good music on this one.
BEST-Hand of Fate 2ND BEST-Hey Negrita WORST-Fool to Cry STARS- 3
Love You Live (1977)
A sweaty bluesy late ’70s show that precursed the Stones’ come back. Some good live versions of their classic hits and the blues covers sound better than the antiseptic recordings on their early studio cds. “Sympathy for the Devil” is a mess. “Happy” is terrible.
A return to the Sticky Fingers form-the Stones playing the Stones and writing good rock tunes with bad boy lyrics. “When the Whip Comes Down” should have been the opener in line with other classic stones cds. Instead Some Girls follows the precedent set by Black and Blue (Hot Stuff) by opening with a disco tune and opens with the overtly disco sounding “Miss You”. The Stones next outing would open with disco sounding “Emotional Rescue”. The original album cover featured photos of celebrities, for which the Rolling Stones did not receive authorization to use. Subsequent printings of the album had their faces removed and the final printing inserted nameless faces.
BEST: When the Whip Comes Down 2ND BEST: Shattered Worst: Miss You Stars:5
Emotional Rescue (1980)
Tatto You Part One, or Financial Rescue. Seems to have been a rushed effort with little redeeming quality.
BEST: She’s So Cold 2ND BEST: Down in the Hole Worst: the rest of the album Stars:2
Tattoo You (1981)
Follow up to Emotional Rescue. “Start Me Up” opens this album in fine form. There is to be sure some filler and on reflection you can tell the Stones merely mined some throw aways from years past but this is a far better collection than Emotional Rescue.
BEST: Start Me Up 2ND BEST: Waiting on a Friend Worst: Neighbors/Black Limosine Stars:4
Still Life (1982)
Not as good as Flash point and shorter. Concerts from 1981
BEST: Satisfaction 2ND BEST: Start Me Up Worst: Let Me Go Stars:3
Contains the first Stones attempt at humor with “Too Much Blood”-the Jagger voice over about the Texas Chain saw Massacre is as funny as anything they’ve ever done. The Beatles score a 5 second 1st round knock out over the Stones in the comedy department who cultivated a bad boy dark image with no room for comedy or even anything more than sneering irony.
A fairly redundant release-but this is nothing new from the Stones. Their entire history seems to be scheduled around releasing three albums and then a greatest hits album from those three albums. When they had perhaps six albums they would release a larger greatest hits album. There is very little extra on this box set to justify the price. The booklet looks more like a cost savings exercise than a serious attempt at decent packaging. The early Stones were a singles machine, as this set proves. Many of the b-sides weren’t too shabby either.
BEST: 2ND BEST: Worst: Stars:4
Did you know?: The single “I Wanna Be You Man”, included in the London Years, was written by the Beatles (Lennon/McCartney) and given to the Rolling Stones. The song also appears on the Beatles album With The Beatles.
Steel Wheels (1990)
Another fairly solid Stones album with nothing new.
BEST: Mixed Emotions 2ND BEST: Rock and a Hard Place Worst: Hearts For Sale Stars:4
Flash Point (1991)
A good representation of the late 80’s stones. “Start me Up” should have always been their opener from the date of its release.
BEST: Little Red Rooster (with Eric Clapton) 2ND BEST: Start Me Up Worst: Sex Drive Stars:3
Voodoo Lounge (1994)
Good effort and some attention to controlled experimentation that works like their reworking of “She’s Like a Rainbow” which is good as is “Thru and Thru”
BEST: Out of Tears 2ND BEST: Worst: Stars:4
BEST: 2ND BEST: Worst: Stars:3
Rock and Roll Circus (1996)
From a December 1968 concert with The Who, John Lennon and Jethro Tull.
The Who parts are far better than the Stones songs.
BEST: 2ND BEST: Worst: Stars:2
Bridges to Babylon (1997)
Another fairly good Stones offering.
BEST: Flip the Switch 2ND BEST: Anybody Seen My Baby Worst: Saint of Me Stars:3
No Security (1998)
A good period piece of the live Stones in the late nineties.