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  • The Rolling Stones Albums From Worst To Best
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Wrangling with the history of any five-decade long institution is an inherently thorny business, but the Rolling Stones’ story is particularly challenging. Of the roughly five distinct periods that comprise the epic history of what is perhaps the greatest ever rock and roll band, the current one — in which the Stones as moneyed rock royalty occasionally reunite to milk a seemingly endless cash cow through intermittent reissues and greatest hits albums, just okay new releases, and extortionately priced stadium tours, is by far the longest. It has been 32 years since the band’s last great (or great-ish) release Tattoo You, 35 since its last inarguable bonafide masterpiece, 1978′s Some Girls. How strange this must understandably seem to a certain demographic. For rock music fans under the age of 30, this is the only version of the band they have ever known.

By comparison, the group’s high water mark lasted only four years, between 1968 and 1972, and comprised four studio records that represent perhaps the greatest distillation of rock, blues, country, and soul ever achieved. Untroubled and even enhanced by the passage of time, those four albums — the militant and populist moral quagmire of Beggars Banquet, the epochal, frightening, funny, and depraved Let It Bleed, the druggy, harrowing, staring-death-in-the-eyes stupor of Sticky Fingers, and the simply perfect Exile On Main Street — are by themselves a veritable Mt. Rushmore of the rock and roll genre. Anyone who wants to know anything about what came before and after would be well-advised to start here — where Robert Johnson casts a lurid eye at Liz Phair while shaking hands with Pussy Galore.

Most music fans are by now acquainted with the high and lowlights of the Stones’ insane journey — the early rise to prominence as hard-core interpreters of the American blues and the “anti-Beatles,” the full flowering of the Jagger-Richards song machine, which was ultimately to yield countless classics, the flirtation with psychedelia, the early death of the unanimously unliked band founder and original guitarist Brian Jones, the hiring of Mick Taylor as replacement resulting in vaulting heights nearly unimaginable, the stunning apocalypse of Altamont, Taylor’s eventual, regrettable departure, replaced by Ronnie Wood of the Faces. And on and on. Certain turns of phrase evoke whole, mythic tales that made the Stones early leaders in the clubhouse of rock debauchery: cocksucker blues, junkie nurses, poor Marianne Faithfull, and the apocryphal chocolate bar. To give any sort of comprehensive overview here would be nigh well impossible — fifty years to tell in a few short lines, to bastardize a lyric from Merle Haggard. (For interested parties the band’s history has been assiduously and expertly covered in a series of publications ranging from Stanley Booth’s brilliant memoir The True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones to Bill Janovitz’ terrific 33 1/3 consideration of Exile On Main Street.)

Over the years, many once-seemingly unimpeachable classic rock warhorses have experienced at least some amount of downward critical revision. Most people still probably wouldn’t argue that Who’s Next or Dark Side Of The Moon are not seminal records in the history of rock and roll, but elements of those albums which once seemingly marked them as groundbreaking or thoroughly novel can feel a little dated or silly. The point is not to denigrate these albums or artists, but rather to recognize that with the best Stones records, this kind of reevaluation has never been needed. No one really argues that Beggars Banquet isn’t as great now as the day it was released, or even more impactful. Besides being brilliant songwriters, the vintage Stones largely insulated themselves from the rigors of time by studiously avoiding the trends — or at least niftily navigating the line between commercially viable and traditionally minded (Their one early misstep in this regard being the too eager to follow-the-leader ersatz-Beatlisms of Their Satanic Majesties Request).

In their later iteration, the most puzzling and perhaps troubling question about the Rolling Stones is: Why they have stayed together? It can feel awfully mercenary, if only because they often seem so much happier and productive acting apart. Keith’s priceless 1987 documentary film tribute to Chuck Berry Hail, Hail Rock And Roll features some of his best and most expert playing in years, in the presence of his unquestioned idol. Similarly, his work in the late-’80s with his non-Stones band the X-Pensive Winos yielded some of his most immediate and energetic work in years. Mick has always engaged in a lot of silly shit but in some ways was never more persuasive in recent years then when killing it with his 2012 version of “The Last Time” on SNL backed by the Arcade Fire.

Maybe the less cynical explanation for the group’s persistence lays in the same traditionalism that vouchsafed their greatest records with timeliness. A band that came of age worshiping Willie Dixon, opening for Muddy Waters and eventually working alongside the likes of Sonny Rollins and Chuck Berry might well see growing old with their music as a part of their destiny. While there is no doubt that money is incentivizing, they certainly have enough of it. Maybe they don’t quit because they worship a different tradition then rock-as-youth-movement, and rather imagine themselves playing their own kind of blues until finally they all finally drop — if we can stipulate that Keith is actually mortal. In this regard, the band’s one true remaining contemporary is Bob Dylan, who, following a difficult passage through his late 30s and 40s, has sounded more energized and creative as an old man than at anytime since the early 1970s. That hasn’t yet proven true of the Stones, but who’s to say it’s impossible? It seems like they don’t think it’s impossible, and that, more than anything else, is the reason you probably have a new Stones record and tour coming at you in the next year or so.

In any event, here is a through-the-past-darkly look at the Stones’ catalog to date. It should be noted that we have elected to rank only the U.S. studio releases, which in some cases are different than what was released overseas. We have also included one live album — Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out — because it iterated something extraordinary about the band’s remarkable prowess. Ranking these records is a bit like ranking scripture. Certain things stand out, but probably the entire thing is best taken as a whole. Also, it means we are probably going to hell. Pleased to meet you …

Start the Countdown here.

Comments (101)
  1. man. i shouldn’t look at this…..

    ……aw, fuck, I’M GOING TO LOOK AT IT ANYWAY.

  2. I’m glad for the mention of ‘Heart of Stone’, probably my favourite song by them.

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          • redients

            1/2 pound fresh salmon
            Good olive oil
            Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
            4 tablespoons unsalted butter
            3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
            1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
            1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
            Mods are onto me. Can only do signature recipes in doses ( no pun intended)
            1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
            1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
            1 tablespoon capers, drained
            1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
            1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
            1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
            3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
            1/2 cup good mayonnaise
            2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
            2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

          • Directions
            Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
            Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.
            Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

          • Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.
            Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve ho—Hey what the hell? Where did trolling bear and the gang go??? Don’t keep me stuck on this hispter board by myself!! Seriously. Holy man. What a bunch of rabbits. Seriously.

      • You fucking suck.

  3. This is a fucking tough one. I can only separate the Stones’ albums into tiers, that look something like this.

    1. Beggars Banquet / Let It Bleed / Sticky Fingers / Exile on Main Street
    2. Aftermath / Between the Buttons / Flowers / Some Girls
    3. Out of Our Heads / December’s Children / Satanic Majesty
    4. Everything Else

    • I agree with the tiers! My top four is gonna change depending on my mood, but it’s always gonna be Beggars, Sticky, Bleed, and Exile. With Aftermath popping in occasionally to make things crowded.

    • I like your tier theory. They look a lot like my tiers. I probably have Goats Head Soup in my second tier though. And Satanic Majesty might be lumped into the “everything else” category.

  4. Playing with fire, aren’t we ?

  5. Let It Bleed behind Aftermath?? That’s a tough argument to make . . .

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  7. I’m impressed that someone actually dared take on this feat in the first place! And now I’ll read it.

    • Yeah, I struggle with Aftermath being in that spot. Exile’s my favourite, hands down, and I would put beggars at 2, but Let It Bleed at 3, easily. It’s a bit weird for me to read this list cos I’m so used to the UK releases. I mean, come on, Satisfaction isn’t on an album!

    • It was a daring gambit to generate page views.

  8. New plans for tonight: blast Rip This Joint until the law is called.

  9. I’d have Emotional Rescue a tad higher. It’s definitely better than Satanic Magesties and Black and Blue. Some of the real early albums with bunches of covers should probably be lower. A good compilation of their singles prior to Aftermath is really what you need in your collection. Oh, and Beggars Banquet is their best album.

  10. I always hold Sticky Fingers at #1, and don’t quite understand why everyone agrees on Exile.

    Moonlight Mile is one of the best songs ever written.

    • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Apr 3rd, 2013 0

      Late to the party, but I have to cosign your Moonlight Mile love. That song is beyond excellent.

  11. You can’t argue with the contents of that top 5, just maybe the order. But Exile number 1 all the way. Slays me every time I listen right through.
    If I’m honest there’s two/three Stones records I’ve never listened to.

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  12. a bigger bang should be higher……..

    ….. what?

  13. Sooooooo am I the only one who thinks Between the Buttons manages to edge Aftermath and Some Girls out of the top five?

    • Agree 100%. That album coalesces the rawness of the sexuality of the groove of the Stones more than any other.

    • If we’re talking UK versions, I agree with you 100%. The singles on the US version of Aftermath might push it ahead, but I have always owned the UK version. I’m pretty sure that the Stones, like the Beatles, were pretty upset with the American versions of their albums by this point.

      Here’s my advice of putting together an early Stones collection. Get the American version of everything before Aftermath. Get the UK versions of Aftermath and Buttons. Get everything that you don’t already have from Flowers, and fill out your collectiong with The Singles Collection.

  14. Take Hot Rocks and Exile and call me in those morning. Satanic for pain managment

  15. I personally think Sticky Fingers should be number one, but there’s no denying the endless mass of creativity flowing out of Exile.

    Heck of a list guys, I’d say you did a great job with it!

  16. Still holding out for the Spoon best to worst article, if only to see the ensuing shitstorm

    • 1. Ga Ga Ga Ga
      2. Kill the Moonlight
      3. Girls Can Tell
      4. A Series of Sneaks
      5. Gimme Fiction
      6. Transference
      7. Telephono

      There, I done did it for you.

      • A good list. I still can’t imagine that Goat’s Head Soup deserves a fairly high ranking though. And for me, Let it Bleed would be #1. A Bigger Bang may not exactly be particularly great, but its abyssal ranking wasn’t justified. All in all, quite a good job. And The Rolling Stones fans of yore rejoiced well into the night.

        • Wow somebody really hates A Bigger Bang and really loves Goat’s Head Soup. For me, its the opposite. Although “Angie” was stellar, admittedly.

      • Transference is criminally low

      • 1. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga *

      • haha this is great! Heres mine……

        1. Gimme Fiction
        2. Kill The Moonlight
        3. Girls Can Tell
        4. Series of Sneaks
        5. Soft Effects EP
        6. Transference
        7. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
        8. Telephono

    • 1. Kill The Moonlight
      2. Girls Can Tell
      3. Transference
      4. Ga Ga Ga
      5. Gimme Fiction
      6. A Series of Sneaks
      7. Telephono

      • i am right there with you. can just talk about spoons records on a site. see you over at i have this great story about the first time i saw the video for everything hits at once in my dorm on MTV2.

  17. After the top 5, Stones albums are hard. I think the turning point from the psychedelia stylistically for me was “We Love You”- seems trippy but the edge is there. I think certain singles are underrated even if the albums weren’t great. “Undercover of the Night” and “Emotional Rescue” are both super scuzzy in a way that the Stones perfected. Totally underrated.

  18. Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) is one of the best hits records ever, and neatly collects all those great early Jagger-Richards songs (minus most of the covers) – I know greatest hits records don’t usually qualify, but BHHTAGG would make my top five, and Flowers would be in my top ten.

  19. . . . though I suppose Flowers is more of an odds and ends collection – but a great one

  20. I know this isn’t exactly adding to the conversation in any way but I fucking love Some Girls.

  21. my first thought was, “do we have to?”

  22. This actually wasn’t bad. I haven’t listened to all of the latter-day stuff so I can’t speak too much to the order there, but the stuff that counted you nailed pretty well. I’m glad Let it Bleed fell under the other big 3 – I feel like a lot of people hold it above Beggars & Sticky Fingers (I put the latter ahead of the former but there’s no wrong answer), and I just don’t think it’s quite as good, though still being incredible. Also, way to give proper respect to Some Girls.

    That said, you may have tried not to insult the Black Crowes, but you kinda did by insinuating their sound stopped progressing from Stones/Faces knock-offs with the first album. They’ve outdone A Bigger Bang a number of times.

    Also, you officially have no excuse not to do a Guided by Voices one now, even if I’ll probably disagree hard with at least half of it.

  23. Sticky Fingers is my #1…I like Exile but never understood what everyone sees in it.

    Oh and re: Spoon, I realize I’m in the vast minority here but I honestly feel they’ve gotten better and better with each album.


  24. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking is the best Stones song by a mile in my book. A big part of the reason I regard Sticky Fingers so highly.

  25. Hahaha, well played.

  26. 1. sticky fingers
    2. let it bleed
    3. exile on main street

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  28. All throughout my teenage years, Let it Bleed was my favorite, but now I have to go with Beggars Banquet. The acoustic tracks on that album really get me for some reason: “No Expectations,” “Prodigal Son,” “Factory Girl.” Also, “Street Fighting Man” is just pure adrenaline and energy, I love it.

  29. I would have been ok with either Beggars Banquet or Exile on Main St. at the number one spot. Exile on Main St. might be the most cohesive and perfectly flowing album I’ve ever head. No track really stands out because they’re all so good. I think it actually hurts its reputation that it doesn’t have any obvious “hits” that sound separate from the rest of the album.

    • “I think it actually hurts its reputation that it doesn’t have any obvious “hits” that sound separate from the rest of the album.”

      How does that hurt its reputation? There’s not much room for its reputation–as one of the greatest rock albums of all time–to get any better. And isn’t that part of its charm, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Kind of like ‘Astral Weeks’ doesn’t have any “hits” but all the songs hang so well together?

      • I guess I completely failed to communicate my point. Scratch what I said completely. It was complete word vomit because I was in a hurry. Obviously, this album has a sterling reputation. However, I often come across people who don’t “get” this album or who will tell me it is overrated. They will often argue in favor of Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, or Sticky Fingers. They will throw out song titles like Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses, Sympathy for the Devil, etc.”What great songs does Exile on Main St. have?” they might say. They are thinking more about individual songs than they are thinking of the album as one long artistic statement. That is how most music fans are. Us music nerds on stereogum might worship Exile on Main St., but I think the average Rolling Stones fan goes with another album. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

        • Right on, I get where you’re coming from now. The songs on ‘Exile’ don’t have radio polish or they don’t snap like a good pop song is supposed to, so certain listeners aren’t going to “get” it.

        • I completely understand what you’re saying… I think that’s why I love Exile the most.

  30. Right.

    I’ll have to go back and listen to ‘Aftermath’ again, but I’m pretty sure you’re wrong to have it ahead of ‘Let It Bleed’. Three years after ‘Aftermath’ landed the Stones had stepped their game up considerably. The boys of 1966 would have given their left testicles to record a “Gimme Shelter”. Granted, ‘Let It Bleed’ is a little uneven, but the strong cuts on there are powerful enough to make up for it.

  31. I’m probably alone on this, but for me its Satanic Majesties and Between the Buttons for 1 and 2.

  32. Is there any record as apocalyptic and terrifying as Let it Bleed? The only major disagreements I have here (besides that record being better than Aftermath) are that I think Tattoo You and Satanic Majesties are both even better records than he gives them credit for. My tiers would be as follows (in order):

    1. Exile on Main St. / Let it Bleed/Beggars Banquet/Sticky Fingers
    2. Some Girls / Aftermath / Tattoo You / Between the Buttons
    3. Goats Head Soup / December’s Children / Out of Our Heads / Goats Head Soup

  33. I have really mixed feelings about Goats Head Soup. Sometimes I think it’s a lot better than people give it credit for, but other times I feel like it’s just a really weak and uninspired album. Also, anyone who wants to get into the early Stones has to own the London Singles Collection, some of the best rock and roll music ever made.

  34. I don’t hear a lot of objections to the ordering of their post-Tattoo You albums, so either Stereogum got it right or no one really cares. Despite heavy Stones listening for half my life, I can honestly say I have not listened to any of the albums after 1981.

    Should I consider this list a good guide for diving into to the later stuff or should I not even bother? Any personal, empassioned recommendations for the post-81 material would be appreciated

  35. I’ve never been sure how to approach the earlier 60s Stones albums. Unlike The Beatles the reissues have maintained the US/UK disparities between those LPs, all of them seeming rather thrown together and of their time. I’ve just stuck with the ‘London Years’ 3CD and just trusted that was a good representation. I might pick up the higher-placed 60s records I don’t have on this list to find out what I’ve been missing. What am I missing?

    In any case, my mum once told me that the 70s was really their decade and I find I enjoy that sound more too. I’d probably put Some Girls even higher than it is here, I love it. I’m another one who likes Exile but feels a bit baffled by the widespread consensus on it. If you enjoy the band jamming away just as much as a perfectly crafted piece like Brown Sugar, I can see how it must have the edge. When I dip in and out of the Stones, Exile is not often the album I pick, so I know I just need to spend more time with it…

    • beggars banquet was when they really found their sound. that album along with sticky fingers and exile formed the majority of their touring set in the 70s when they became the biggest band in the world. those songs are still considered the big hits that they comprise most of their set with.

    • I kinda mentioned this above, but I’ll risk somewhat repeating myself. First, no offense intended, but hellblau doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I get what you’re saying, but to say that the Stones didn’t find their sound until ’68 is just an abortion of an opinion. “Beggars” was somewhat of a creative shift for the band, and it probably marks the beginnings of their being considered an “album band” capable of competing with the Beatles, but the Rolling Stones were already the Rolling Stones before 1968.

      You only have to worry about the US/UK split for everything before “Satanic Majesties.” The reason why these splits exist is because singles were not traditionally included on a LP in the UK. The BBC wasn’t allowed to play studio recorded singles, bands would come to the radio studio and perform live sessions, this is why you see BBC sessions on a lot of bonus material. So if you wanted to hear “Satisfaction” you had to go out and buy the single. In fact, full albums were originally seen as a side course to keep fans excited about the next single. The music culture was different in the US. Singles got played on the radio which drove record sales. So to increase album sales record labels wanted the big radio hits on the album.

      The conception of an album as a coherent work, rather than as a collection of non-singles didn’t really start until ’66. The two pre-Beggars LPs that can definitely be thought of as conerent wholes and definitely belong in your collection are “Aftermath” and “Between the Buttons.” The UK versions are

      • (continued, accidentally pressed submit)

        the band’s artistic vision. US record executives randomly cut out songs to insert singles at the start. (This practice is what inspired the famous “Butchers” cover that the Beatles did for one of their US compilations. They also liked to cut off songs from the album so they could release it in a future compilation.) Now, it’s tricky because the singles that were inserted on those two albums are “fucking amazing,” while the non-album tracks are usually just “pretty great.” Therefore, the US versions might appear, and might even actually be better. But my advice would be to listen to those two albums as God and the Glimmer Twins intended, and get the UK versions. If you don’t have them, you can get the singles elsewhere.

        Now for everything before “Aftermath,” I just got the American versions. Yeah, I know what I jsut said, but none of these albums were really “albums” albums and, the single and b-side omissions hurt, amdthe deep-cuts aren’t as interesting as they would soon be. If you have the “London Years” singles collection or a good comp, maybe you want to look into the UK versions though. It would be cheaper because they’re only three pre-Aftermath UK albums as opposed to 5 for the US.

        As far as quality, I’d say “Aftermath” and “Between the Buttons” are mist-owns. (As well as “Satanic Majesties”, which is I think people defend for being interesting than good).I enjoy all the pre-”Aftermath” stuff, but to be honest they kind of blend together a bit. Each album has some highlights, some enjoyable moments, some interesting ideas, but each has some filler, with the exception of”England’s Newest Hitmakers”/Self-titled which is pretty bad ass and menacing for being the album that knocked “With the Beatles” off the top spot of the UK charts.. It’s not really a Stones album, but it’s probably the one album you need to listen to if you want to understand the Stones.

        Sorry for being really, really long winded and I hope this helps.

        • Yep all very helpful, and sorry I missed your bit about this higher up. From what you’ve described, maybe it wouldn’t have been so controversial to trim down to a concise, definitive catalogue plus a singles collection for the CD era, like the Beatles did with their UK LPs and Past Masters…it’s a similar tale of the different historical record-buying climates and the whims of labels, really. But I can see that it’s complex and that perhaps the Stones got off lightly compared to the Fabs, so their US versions have been held in more affection than something like Beatles VI could ever be.

          Thanks for making it all easier to navigate, anyway, and I will definitely start filling in a few gaps now.

        • ok, that’s good. I wasn’t trying to say anything derogatory about pre-beggars material. I don’t even want to sound like I’m saying aftermath and between the buttons are anything less than excellent albums. what I’m saying is that the popular image and sound of the rolling stones that has carried into the present, came out of that late-60s to early-70s period. that’s their most famous work. that’s the period where they were the most culturally important. as great as their pre-beggars material was, at that time they were still basically chasing trends. with beggars and the next few albums that followed they created material that was completely their own.

          • I get what your saying. But I’d argue that their singles form ’65-’67 are just as important to their how non-fanatics view their legacy as the stuff form the “Beggars” to “Exile” period. I mean, ask a casual Stones fan to name the biggest Rolling Stones song they’re just as likely to say “Satisfaction” or “Paint It, Black” as they are to say “Gimme Shelter” or “Wild Horses.” I mean, this wasn’t a band that finally found its sound. The Stones had six albums (5 in the US) reach the top 3 in the albums charts. They had ten US top 10 singles in just under four years. Granted, they hit another level in ’68, but they were already the second biggest band in the world.

  36. Exile has tracks such as ‘Shake Your Hips’, ‘Sweet Black Angel’ and ‘Turd On The Run’ which on their own are not exactly great Rolling Stones tracks but put them together in a cohesive unit such as Exile and they simply shine. I agree with Exile at first place, and personally I would have put “Sticky Fingers” in a very close second.

  37. Goat’s Head Soup is a criminally underrated album. I wrote it off for years but it’s a masterpiece.

    • What makes you say this? I always listen to it again and again hoping to find something I’m missing, and I usually don’t hear it.

  38. So…can we get a Depeche Mode one of these soon?

  39. Looking at their “worst” records, it’s kind of amazing how good they have been overall. I mean, for a bunch of twenty somethings who lucked into an awesome, post-beatles contract, I think we can all agree they didn’t waste the opportunity… to do as many drugs as possible and still sell records.

  40. Because it’s Videogum and these lists seem designed to inspire mild contention I was expecting something stupid like Goat’s Head Soup put down as their worst or Majesty’s Satanic Request as their best. Way to defy expectations gang!

  41. *Under THE Red Sky

  42. Never quite understood the reputation of EXILE. I think LET IT BLEED, STICKY FINGERS, BEGGAR’S BANQUET and AFTERMATH are better and more cohesive.

    And I don’t know, what everybody hears in TATTOO YOU and SOME GIRLS: I think they’re both rather terrible. BLACK & BLUE on the other hand is way underrated. And IT’S ONLY ROCK N ROLL isn’t that bad.

  43. Even though their output is obviously voluminous, it’s pretty easy to rank the Stones’ albums. You can slot Beggar’s, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile in any order 1 to 4. Then you take Aftermath, Buttons, Some Girls and Tattoo You and rank them in any order 5-8. From there, you rank the rest by having a bias toward their remaining 60′s output, then their remaining 70′s output, then the 80′s, 90′s, etc.

    I’m of the opinion among what I call the late 60′s and early 70s sister albums that Exile is better than Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed is better than Beggar’s, with Exile being the best overall Stones album, a record truly designed for front to back sit down listening.

    I have no major quibbles with the authors’ rankings…Tattoo is noticeably too low and Aftermath is the same too high. Goat’s Head Soup is too high as well. I actually think Satanic Majesties is a unfairly maligned record as is Emotional Rescue, but I’m probably in the minority with that view. All in all, not too bad of a job here…kudos.

  44. I would’ve put a bigger bang higher,though it does have too much filler,still it’s impossible for definitive list as it’s all subjective eg;I’m quite possibly alone in thinking Love you live is best live album.

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