Top 10 Stones

The Rolling Stones still play, I guess you can call it that, but they can’t play this now. They’re all tricks and humping the stadium for yawns. They used to rock like this:

They rock the shit out of this too, Brian’s rhythm and Bill especially:

With the Stones I want to avoid the MONSTER SONGS that everyone has heard too much, but some of the hits are too good:

This next is the first Stones song I ever heard, on the AM radio in 1964. It’s still one of their best, at the time they were first trying to bust out of the strictly I-IV-V thing, which was pretty soon actually. The Stones always followed the trends, and so much for their uncompromising vision. Who cares. Here they do the girl group thing, as did the Beatles and all the Brit groups at that time, which I think is really interesting because you didn’t see much, if any, of this crossover thing in the U.S. After the Brits did it, it became OK for American boys. A lot of this song comes from the Ronnettes:

There are at least two versions of the next song, this is the one from the Flowers album but it has a longer coda, and is much better without the orchestration and kinda bumbling classical rhythms of the other one. Asking Charlie Watts to play classical music, the very idea. You’re obsolete my baby.

Let’s get Monkey Man in here before it’s too late. The blending of guitars and Nicky Hopkins on piano in the middle part still gives me the chills:

This song has the worst video ever made so I went for the blank screen. Really, it’s painful to watch. But the song…Stanley Booth wrote the best book about the Stones (“The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones”), he put it this way: “it has the best music ever on a Rolling Stones record, but unfortunately none of the Rolling Stones is playing it.” Stanley is referring to Sonny Rollins on sax and I can’t say he’s wrong. But ya know, to my no doubt philistine ears that’s the best Sonny Rollins ever sounded too.

I haven’t touched on Exile yet and it’s hard to know what to do with it. The whole thing is like one song, a complete tour of their music. When it first came out I didn’t like it that much, although I loved Tumblin Dice. It took me that whole summer to really get into it, but then I hardly listened to anything else for months. I still love Tumblin Dice but I love this one more better, the slowest song on the album. Mick’s got those hedonist blues:

It feels weird to leave off the songs from Sticky Fingers since there isn’t a bad song on the album and there are several great ones. Many could be subbed for those that made my list. But I’m down to two and Gimme Shelter is one of them. The other is fairly obscure, from an uneven album that many believe marks the beginning of the end for the Stones. I guess so, but they still had some great ones in them and this is one, another slow one:

And now Gimme Shelter. Extra stars to Merry Clayton, who also never sounded better. The third time she says “murder” is like the smile on the Mona Lisa.

I’ll divide up the points three points each.

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