Picking right on up were we left off at #30, we give you our next-to-last selections for our Fifty Licks: 50 Years list. This portion seems to focus more on the country/delta blues stylings of The Stones. I’d like to say that this list was especially fun for us to put together, and it is always great to revisit these songs that serve as an inspiration to me, but also to many more modern musicians that may not even realize it themselves. So here we go, let us continue with our 30th-11th favorite tracks from one of our favorite all time bands:
30. “Rip This Joint”
Another honky-tonkin’, rockabilly, hot Newaleans jazz mixed with delta blues track off of Exile. with lyrics are so fast they’d make a cheetah look slow.
29. “Dear Doctor”
An old-timey campfire sing-a-long if The Stones ever had one. The playfulness of the tune and Jagger posing his voice as a female in this track makes it among the funnest Stones song in their repertoire.
Harsh lyrics, mean guitar riffs, and a bitchin’ horn section. What more can you ask for?
27. “Let It Bleed”
Possibly the final jab at The Beatles taken by The Rolling Stones was releasing Let It Bleed months before the release of The Beatles Let It Be. Even though Let It Bleed was released earlier, Let It Be had been recorded years before. Something tells me that knowing of the album and the song, Let It Bleed‘s similarity in title and song was no coincidence, especially if you listen to the lyrics to this tune here. Cause we do all need someone that we can lean on …
26. “Let’s Spend The Night Together”
This fun lil ditty’s lyrics were probably considered to be fairly edgy back in the day. Paired with the poppy tune though, it may be hard to tell. Probably similar to something like Young Money’s “Bedrock” these days … right?
^See?! Modern day Rolling Stones!
25. “Miss You”
Originally written as an attempt to enter the disco-scene and launch The Stones into a world of dance, drugs, and fast women. Well the song failed to launch their disco career, which I’m sure means they didn’t really succeed with any of those other things as well … right? (Yes, I’m aware I just used the same type of joke in back-to-back song reviews, but repetition is funny … right?)
24. “Brown Sugar”
Despite my initial interpretation, this song is supposed to represent the duality of loving both women and drugs. And here I just thought Jagger was bumpin’ with Beyonce. Either way it’s a very danceable bluesy rock number.
23. “Love In Vain”
Another brilliant cover that was originally written and recorded by the man that made a deal with the devil, Robert Johnson. The Stones did it right in this stunningly beautiful rendition.
22. “Midnight Rambler”
Another piece of gold from Let It Bleed. This song is a cryptic tale of the rambler, a gambler, a thief, and a murderer. This self-proclaimed (not inaccurately so) rock opera was easily amongst the stand-out tracks from when I saw them live.
21. “Let It Loose”
Out of all the brilliant tracks on Exile, this one has always stood out to me. Maybe it’s the unusual guitar tone, the heart-wrenching lyrics, or maybe it’s the slow emotional build of the gospel ballad. Whatever it is, Martin Scorsese pin-pointed it and exploited the emotion of the tune perfectly in The Departed.
Encompassing a punk rock vibe while sporting lyrics that sound like some sort of weird slam poetry session. Some Girls was quite a weird eclectic group of awesome songs from The Stones, and “Shattered” was among the best of the bunch.
19. “Wild Horses”
“Let’s do some living, after we die.” I still to this day don’t know whether to love or loathe these lyrics. Either way, they stir some weird feeling up inside me. This song is cheesy to some, yet means the world to others. Just like my conflict with that one line, songs that cause such controversy inside us are certainly powerful in one respect or another.
18. “Dead Flowers”
A straight up country jam filled with slide guitars, harmonious vocals, and acoustic rhythms. My dear friend Charlie recently challenged whether Keith and Mick actually wrote this tune, and sure enough, after a Google search it was confirmed that they did. I guess that speaks to their diversity/range in song.
17. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
One of the most brilliant songs to never have a home. This song never found it’s way onto a real LP, but it certainly found its way into everyones heart. No matter how overplayed or cliche I tend to think this song is, every time I hear it I’m still taken back by all the details, emotions, and rawness that I tend to forget about.
16. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
Popularly rumored to have been literally written by Keith IN HIS SLEEP. It is one of the most iconic songs in the history of rock’n’roll and the sick bastard pulled it together inbetwix a few snores. Music being second nature to this man is one of the greatest understatements.
15. “Play With Fire”
If I’m not mistaken, this is the second song brilliantly used by Wes Anderson in yet another fantastic scene. “Play With Fire” is a suspiciously spooky song that leads the listener to believe that there really is a much darker side to The Stones than we all realize.
^Both Wes’s just love The Stones
14. “Jigsaw Puzzle”
Pure. Delta. Blues. This song is similar to “Sympathy for the Devil” in many respects. Slow building rhythm, run time of over six minutes, and the most meaningful/Dylanesque lyrics The Stones ever wrote. They somehow even managed to foreshadow themselves perfectly in the description of “the band”, even somehow dropping references to songs they wouldn’t write for another ten years. This may be a case of me reading into things more than I should, but I am a man that tends to think that coincidences are for the birds.
13. “She’s a Rainbow”
The poppiest, most accesible, most lovable song by these rough’n’tuff hooligans. This is the only track you will find on this list that resides on Their Satanic Majesties Request, a freakish album that was a deliberate and somewhat poor attempt to compete against Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Instead of innovative recording techniques, or a well thought-out and elaborate concept, The Stones just focused on ingesting copious amounts of drugs while recording. I guess for “Rainbow”, the payoff was worth the “sacrifice”.
12. “Salt of the Earth”
I’ll happily admit that this song just rocks me to my core. As Wes pointed out earlier, it is amongst the greatest of all album closers. They give a shout out to the common worker and level the playing field for all humanity. It’s a humbling song that makes me feel like I function as tampon to society for not falling in line and being a blue-colored worker. Later, I read a theory stating that Jagger/Keith (Keith is indeed the lead vocalist for the song) were actually showing the dichotomy between their own lives and the blue colored citizens of the world, and stating how far and above they are from that world. I choose to not believe that.
11. “Get Off My Cloud”
Even before I really knew what drugs were, I just assumed this song was about someone ruining Jagger’s “high” in some way. Come to find out, the song spurred from a tiff with a meter maid, taking the piss out of ole Mick in the midst of a particularly pleasant afternoon. Really, I just always loved it because it was a fun punk-pop song. Literally, it was one of the first pop songs that sounded like an all-out “F*%$* You” to whomever Jagger was yelling at. I’ve always loved belting out the lyrics, and due to the success of the single, I know I’m not alone.