It all began in 1962 when a group of fresh-faced hipsters by the name of the Rollin' Stones performed at the Marquee in London. Nearly five decades, one added "g," and countless groupies later, The Rolling Stones are still going strong. Here are 19 of their greatest hits.
"Time Is on My Side," which appeared on the album 1235, is a cover of a song written by Jerry Ragovoy (Norman Meade) and was first recorded by jazz trombonist Kai Winding and his Orchestra in 1963. It was the Stones' first top-ten hit in the United States, peaking at number six and spending 13 weeks on the charts.
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," from the Out of Our Heads album, was the band's first number-one single in the United States and is arguably the Stones' best-known song, ranking number two on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Mick Jagger once said of the song, "It was the song that really made The Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band."
"Get Off of My Cloud," from the album December's Children (And Everybody's), was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Although lyrically defiant and acrimonious, the song was penned in response to the band's instant popularity following "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
"As Tears Go By," also from December's Children (And Everybody's), was written by Jagger and Richards but was made famous by Marianne Faithfull, who released a recording of the song in 1964 to rave reviews. The Stones performed their version of the song during their 1966 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, one of six visits the band made to that show.
In "19th Nervous Breakdown," from Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass), the Stones direct their ire at a spoiled young woman who is unable to appreciate life. The song went to number one in the U.K. and number two in the States.
"Paint It, Black," which appeared on the album Aftermath, is written from the viewpoint of a depressed man who wants to paint everything black to match his dour mood. "Paint It, Black" is among the band's most covered songs, including versions by Duran Duran, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, R.E.M., Rush, U2, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Keep reading for more of the Rolling Stone's greatest hits, including "Ruby Tuesday."
"Mother's Little Helper" relies on a bit of metaphoric magic. The "helper" here does not refer to a cooperative little sprite running around mom's kitchen but rather a "little yellow pill," as in: "Mother needs something today to calm her down/And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill. . . ."
Things don't end happily for this mother, as the song ends: "No more running to the shelter of a mother's little helper/They just helped you on your way through your busy dying day."
"Ruby Tuesday," which appeared on Between the Buttons, is a favorite among Stones fans. Some say the lyrics were inspired by a free-spirited groupie that Keith Richards knew. True or not, the song reached number one in the States and number three in the U.K.
"Jumpin' Jack Flash," from the album Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), has the distinct honor of being the only Rolling Stones' song to inspire the title of a Whoopi Goldberg movie. The song reached number one in the U.K. and number three in the States, and also ranked number two on Q magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.
"Honky Tonk Women," also from Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), is widely thought to be an homage to a prostitute. Aside from being one of the Stones' most popular songs, it also holds the distinction of being released in England the day after Stones founding member Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool.
"Brown Sugar" appeared on the Sticky Fingers album, but the Stones debuted the song live at Altamont, the 1969 free rock concert featuring a slew of hot bands and famously marred by violence, including the stabbing death of a fan during the Stones' set. The meaning of the song is debatable, but some suggest it's about an interracial relationship or heroin addiction.
"Angie," from Goats Head Soup, is clearly about lost love. What's not clear is who did the loving -- or the losing. Some say the lyrics are about David Bowie's wife, Angela, with whom Mick Jagger was close. Others think the song is about Keith Richards' lover, Anita Pallenberg, or possibly their daughter, Angela, who was born in 1972.
"Miss You" appeared on the album Some Girls. The song, which reached number one in the States and number three in the U.K., was reportedly inspired by Mick Jagger's deteriorating marriage with his first wife, Bianca.
14. "Beast of Burden" (1978)
"Beast of Burden" is also from the album Some Girls. In their 2003 book, According to the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards claims he wrote the song as a thank you to Mick for "shouldering the burden" in the studio while he was getting help for his drug habit.
"Emotional Rescue," from the album of the same name, earned a mixed reception. While the song was an immediate commercial hit, soaring to number three on U.S. charts, critics and die-hard fans were less than enthusiastic about its disco-infused sound.
"Start Me Up," off Tattoo You, often opens the Stones' live shows and was also used by Microsoft to kick-start its Windows 95 marketing campaign. Portions of the song were recorded in the bathroom of New York City's Power Station recording studio, famous for its "bathroom reverb" sound.
"Waiting on a Friend," also from Tattoo You, is a bit of a departure from the Stones' usual content. The relationships in the band supposedly inspired Jagger's lyrics, which discuss giving up women and booze for those friendships. Is that you, Mick?
Another top ten song for the Stones, "Undercover of the Night" appeared on the album Undercover. It is one of only a few Stones songs with a political bent, tackling corruption in Central and South America, with lyrics such as: "Hear the screams of Center 42/Loud enough to bust your brains out/The opposition's tongue is cut in two/Keep off the street 'cause you're in danger."
"Mixed Emotions," appeared on the Stones' comeback album, Steel Wheels, released after Jagger and Richards had spent a few years working on their solo careers. The song, which reached number five on U.S. charts, is the Stones' last U.S. top ten single to date.
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