"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Regular Guy's List of the Rolling Stones' Top 20 Songs

We listened to a lot of Rolling Stones over the Regular Family's trek across the Midwest for Christmas, and I thought after reflection I'd produce the Regular Guy's list of top Stones' songs.   So here goes, with the second ten first, in descending order:

20. Loving Cup (Exile on Main Street)
19. Wild Horses (Sticky Fingers)
18. Bitch (Sticky Fingers)
17. Monkey Man (Let it Bleed)
16. Let it Loose (Exile)
15. Prodigal Son (Beggar's Banquet)
14. Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Sticky Fingers)
13. Shattered (Some Girls)
12. Happy (Exile)
11. Rocks Off (Exile)

This is a pretty idiosyncratic list, more so than the top 10 will be.   Numbers 20-17 will look pretty standard -- great Stones songs that nearly everyone likes.   But after that are simply some of my personal favorites.   Let it Loose was my favorite song from Exile for a long time, and the way the female voices come out of nowhere at the end always catches me emotionally.   Prodigal Son captures Mick and Keith channelling Southern black blues almost perfectly, and reminds me how much of rock came from taking traditional song structures and running with them.   Can't You Hear Me Knocking just has the nastiest Keith rhythm guitar lick... which is what we listen to the Stones for in the first place.   Meanwhile, the last three are not great epochal songs the way the final ten will be, but they represent the Stones at their best... hard-rocking fun party music, which is what rock-and-roll is supposed to be.  

In particular, Rocks Off is the worst of the opening tunes of the four greatest Stones albums from their Golden Age:  the period from Beggar's Banquet in 1968 through Exile in 1972.   But it's still one of the greatest and most raucous opening numbers of any album from the rock era:

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