Friday, October 12, 2012

Top 50 Rolling Stones songs (Part 1 of 2)

The Rolling Stones today: Mick Jagger, left, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. (Rankin / Associated Press)

The Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary celebration started to actually get exciting Thursday with the release of the newly recorded single "Doom and Gloom" (listen below). A potent, vintage-sounding rocker driven by Charlie Watts' propulsive drumming and a killer Keith Richards guitar riff, it finds Mick Jagger snarling like a street fighting man about dirty politics and other pressing issues like dancing. Yeah, the Stones are back.

"Doom and Gloom" will appear on the Stones' compilation "GRRR! Greatest Hits Collection," due out Nov. 13. The 50th anniversary release will also include the new song "One More Shot." On Nov. 15, the Stones documentary "Crossfire Hurricane" will premiere on HBO. And then there are the tour rumors, with shows expected in Brooklyn and London the shows just announced for London (Nov.) and New Jersey (Dec.). 

The Rolling Stones started celebrating their 50th anniversary back in July. Since then, I've listened to every track the outlaw rockers have ever officially released (and some great bootleg stuff). Most of the tunes I listened to multiple times.

Here are the Top 50 Rolling Stones songs.

50. "Angie"
Don't trust anyone who says this is his favorite Stones song. And don't trust anyone who says he hates this melancholy beauty from the group's 1973 album "Goats Head Soup."

49. "Let Me Go"
Jagger is such a cad and this track off 1980's "Emotional Rescue"  is one of his best bad-boy anthems.

48. "Before They Make Me Run"
Speaking of bad boy anthems, Richards' signature tune from 1978's "Some Girls" finds him singing highly autobiographical lines like "Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine / Well here's another goodbye to another good friend."

47. "Hand Of Fate" 
The Stone are wonderfully nasty on this overlooked Delta-rocker about an unrepentant gunslinger from 1976's "Black and Blue." 

46. "The Last Time"
The first single credited to Jagger/Richards still sounds fresh and slightly menacing 47 years after its release.

45. "She's So Cold"
A playful kiss-off from "Emotional Rescue," Jagger delights in telling a woman how miserable she'll be without him — especially in old age. He gets away with being a juvenile jerk thanks to a great quasi-disco beat.

44. "Midnight Rambler"
A slow-burning blues workout about a serial killer that first appeared on 1969's "Let it Bleed," the song would become a show-stopper in concert through 1973 thanks to wicked leads by guitarist Mick Taylor.

43. "Bitch" 
The Stones' horn section give extra punch to this delectable, sex-starved ditty from 1971's "Sticky Fingers."

42. "19th Nervous Breakdown"
A nice Brian Jones riff and bassist Bill Wyman's awesome dive-bomb fuel this 1965 smash about  a  high-society girl who's "just insane."

41. "Shattered"
On "Some Girls," Jagger takes a bite out of The Big Apple, using a disco-friendly melody similar to the one heard a couple years later on "She's So Cold." 

40. "Ventilator Blues"
Culled from the 1972 masterpiece "Exile on Main St.," song features sizzling slide guitar work by Mick Taylor, who actually gets a song credit for once alongside Jagger/Richards. 
39. "Little T&A"
From "Tattoo You," a love song like only Richards could write (and sing).
38. "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"
Stones take on the NYC police in this "Goats Head Soup" funk-rocker that also laments a young girl who dies of a drug overdose.

37. "Play With Fire"
Jagger is singing about the same girl from "19th Nervous Breakdown" (also from 1965) but in a somber musical setting marked by gorgeous harpsichord playing by Phil Spector's main man Jack Nitzsche.

36. "Connection"
Can the The Stones deliver a sweet, pining love song? Sure. Check out this gem from 1967's "Between the Buttons."

35. "Fool To Cry"
From "Black and Blue" and probably aimed at fans of "Angie,"it's Jagger in balladeer mode on a song used excellently in the heart-warming and hilarious 1996 film "Beautiful Girls."

34. "Star Star"
Keith Richards rocks his favorite Chuck Berry riff while Mick Jagger sings about a world-class groupie on this controversial number — the original title and most of the lyrics can't be printed here — from "Goats Head Soup."
33. "As Tears Go By"
Jagger shows his sentimental side, singing over a string section, on this autumnal ballad that his one-time lover Marianne Faithfull first had a hit with in 1964.

32. "Monkey Man"
Spooky rocker from "Let it Bleed" featuring Nicky Hopkins' memorable piano playing came roaring back to life in Martin Scorsese's classic mafia movie "Goodfellas."

31. "Stray Cat Blues"
This song, from "Beggar's Banquet," is why if you were a parent who paid attention in 1968 you would walk through fire before allowing your teenage daughter to see The Rolling Stones.

30. "Mother's Little Helper"
Speaking of making songs mom and dad won't like, Jagger points out the hypocrisy of prescription drug (ab)use in this rollicking single from 1966.
29. "Under My Thumb "
From 1966's "Aftermath," it's Jagger at his most misogynistic, bragging devilishly about a conquest over a murky melody that sounds like something from an old-school horror movie. Incidentally, the Stones were performing "Under My Thumb" at Altamont in 1969 when the Hell's Angels stabbed Meredith Hunter to death while cameras rolled for what would be become the film "Gimme Shelter." 

28. "It's Only Rock 'N Roll"
The title track of the Stones' 1974 album finds Taylor's replacement Ronnie Wood firing off hot licks while Jagger responds to the same critics who will write that "'Gloom and Doom' is solid but not as good as 'Brown Sugar' or even 'Start Me Up.'"

27. "Start Me Up"
A sports arena cliche, sure, but when it first appeared on "Tattoo You" it was the catchiest rocker The Stones had released to radio since, well, "Brown Sugar." Which means it's one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

26. "Moonlight Mile"
The hushed, haunting closing track from "Sticky Fingers" chronicles the rigors of life on the road with sly drug references and a tasteful string arrangement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only they would release remixes with the guitars upfront and the vocals far far down........ That would sure be a top-50!