While Little by Listen is certainly small in name and stature, that doesn’t mean we can’t assemble a huge list. All three of us have had a long love for the Rolling Stones, and with their 50th Anniversary this year(a milestone reached by only an elite few) , it sort of lends itself clearly to a top 50 songs list. So while Time is releasing a commemorative book for the Stones this week and there is even a 50th anniverary tour to come, nothing says legendary like a LxL top 50 list for your band. Yesterday, we brought you the best five Stones albums, today we bring you Fifty Licks.
50. “Moonlight Mile”
One of their best album closers (beside maybe “Salt of the Earth”), “Moonlight Mile” closes Sticky Fingers on a gracious note, a song also brilliantly covered by the Flaming Lips live.
49. “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”
Despite its filthy sounding title, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” is one of the more glammed-out tracks in the Stones’ library, invoking the likes of Lou Reed and the New York Dolls.
48. “Start Me Up”
A quintessential Stones single that returned the Stones to their roots off of their best 80’s album, Tattoo You.
47. “19th Nervous Breakdown”
This song always hit me as the Stones equivalent to the Beatles “I Feel Fine”: a mid 60’s single that gets forgotten often even though its just downright groovy.
Another song off of Tattoo You, a feathery affair that showed the Stones were still trying new tricks twenty years after they started.
45. “Ventilator Blues”
“Ventilator Blues” makes for a great heavy blues romp in the middle of Exile, heavy on honky tonk piano, big brass, and Jagger’s grungy voice.
“I need love to keep me happy.” A pretty simple and even silly lyric that never sounded so good and true as it does on “Happy”.
43. “She Said Yeah”
A great early Stones song that has been revitalized a bit by being included on a recent Chanel TV ad.
42. “Shine A Light”
A song that is about as iconic as it gets for the Rolling Stones, especially now that Scorsese named his documentary on the band after this gospel-tinged anthem.
41.” No Expectations “
Love the sound of that whistling blues guitar. The second best slow tune off of Beggars Banquet.
40. “I Am Waiting”
The first of three Stones songs on this list that is included in Wes Anderson films, this one being included prominently in Rushmore, my all-time favorite movie.
39. “Mother’s Little Helper”
One of the more festive songs for the Stones, “Mother’s Little Helper” would also be great to Russian dance too.
One of the most sentimental Stones songs, Jagger also delivers one of his most interesting vocal performances. It’s also been rumored that “Angie” was David Bowie’s first wife/Jaggers lover, Angie Dickinson. Jagger later explained that it was a pseudo name for heroin. Neither explanation would be terribly surprising.
37. “Honky Tonk Women”
More cowbell! “Honky Tonk Women” is a classic Stones single where Jagger appears as cool as the other side of the pillow.
36. “Beast of Burden”
Another late career gem off of one of their best albums, Some Girls, “Beast” is straight up FUNKAY.
35. “Stop Breaking Down”
The Stones are known for their blues covers, and their version of Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breaking Down” is one of their best.
34. “Tumbling Dice”
“Tumbling Dice” is perfectly fitting for the spirit of Exile On Main Street – a free-wheeling, swashbuckling rock ‘n’ roll album.
33. “Torn & Frayed”
We are on a serious run of Exile tracks (with good reason). “Torn & Frayed” is one of the sloppiest sounding songs on Exile, but sort of captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll in its looseness.
32. “Not Fade Away”
This Buddy Holly cover is actually better known than the original, and is one of if not the finest Rolling Stones cover.
31. “Monkey Man”
The first song on our list off of Let It Bleed, “Monkey Man” is one of the most explorative Stones song structures, with some excellent Keith guitar licks, and I would argue just hearing Jagger say “monkey” is a thrill.