I’m a little late to this game but here’s my list.
Putting together a Stones Top 10 List has been difficult for each of us. It seems like an impossible task. But you know, if I had to put together a list of my all-time Top 10 Rock songs, something by the Stones would have to be on it… and that something would be Satisfaction. Now that I’ve got the easy one out of the way I can move on.
2120 South Michigan Avenue
This instrumental was named after the address of the Chicago’s Chess Studios where it was recorded but was also home to many of the electric blues artists the Rolling Stones revered. I was originally familiar with the version on the US album 12 X 5 (1964). In the 80s I picked up a British import vinyl called Around and Around that also contained a version of the song – but it went on longer than the 12 X 5 version. Hearing the longer version was like discovering the song all over again.
Off the Hook
I always liked this little straight ahead, party song. Maybe it’s because of the cool performance of that they did for the T.A.M.I. Show. It was on the US album The Rolling Stones Now! that was released in 1965. It made its way onto countless mix tapes I gave away in the 80s.
The Last Time
Killer riff on this gospel influenced number.
This was a big hit that I seem to favor because it was so different than everything else when it came out. Brian Jones was the mastermind behind this arrangement. He played the recorder part (and piano) that lends the song its iconic sound. The melancholy verses blend perfectly with the anthemic chorus.
Stray Cat Blues
This song debuted at the July 5, 1969 concert the band performed in Hyde Park, just 2 days after Brian Jones died. It made its recorded debut toward the end of ’69 on the Stones album Let It Bleed. But the definitive version was the one on Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! with Mick Taylor on guitar.
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
This 7+ minute cut begins like a pretty typical Stones song but after about 2:45 develops into an extended jam – they just kept the tape rolling, thank God. Fantastic guitar solos by Mick Taylor and Keith Richards, and a very nice sax solo by one of my heroes – Bobby Keys.
Hand of Fate
I’ve chosen this song because the guitar playing is so great. The guitar solos are fantastic, especially the one that burns through the final minute of the song. And who’s ripping off those cool riffs? Black and Blue’s mystery guitarist Wayne Perkins.
The Stones at their most pissed off – calling out late 70s, squeegee NYC as they see it. “Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don’t mind the maggots.”