Every Rolling Stones Album, Ranked

Every Rolling Stones Album, Ranked


Rolling Stones Announcing New Album On Wednesday
Rolling Stones Asserting New Album On Wednesday

The self-proclaimed “Best Rock and Roll Band within the World,” the Rolling Stones fashioned in London in 1962, with founding guitarist Brian Jones naming the band after “Rollin’ Stone” by Muddy Waters and serving to choose its early repertoire of blues and Chuck Berry covers. As British bands started ruling the U.Ok. and American charts within the mid-‘60s, the songwriting partnership of Stones singer Mick Jagger and his childhood pal, guitarist Keith Richards, propelled the band to the higher echelons of the brand new music scene, rivaling solely the Beatles for sheer high quality.

The knowledgeable rhythm part of drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Invoice Wyman accomplished the band’s basic ‘60s lineup, with Jones choosing up new devices like sitar and vibraphone because the Stones launched extra adventurous albums within the psychedelic period.

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Jones, scuffling with medication and drifting away personally and musically from his bandmates, was fired from the Stones in June 1969 and was discovered lifeless in a swimming pool weeks later. From then on, the Stones merely by no means stopped, and have employed a revolving lineup across the nucleus of Jagger and Richards. Guitarist Mick Taylor of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers joined for a string of putting up with albums reminiscent of Sticky Fingers and Exile on Major St., and was changed in 1975 by Faces guitarist Ron Wooden, who has been within the band ever since. Even following Wyman’s retirement in 1993 and Watts’ dying in 2021, the massively worthwhile excursions have continued.

Studio recordings, nonetheless, have grown fewer and farther between. Hackney Diamonds, arriving Oct. 20 on Polydor, is the band’s first assortment of recent songs in 18 years, in addition to its first with out Watts, who recorded two songs for it earlier than his passing. Under, we’ve ranked the entire Stones’ correct studio albums, together with Hackney Diamonds, defaulting to the unique U.Ok. variations of early albums quite than the quite a few worldwide variations thereof.

24. Soiled Work (1986)

Dirty Work

The Stones have famously by no means damaged up, but when that they had break up at any level within the final 60 years, it most likely would’ve occurred within the mid-‘80s. A rift between Jagger and Richards grew when the previous launched his 1985 platinum solo debut She’s the Boss, and Watts was privately scuffling with heroin habit, which stored the band off the highway for the higher a part of the Reagan period. For all these causes and extra, Richards had a bigger hand than normal in shaping Soiled Work, which has a bitter general temper. It’s unclear who wrote the lyrics to “Had It With You,” nevertheless it appears to properly sum up how each of the Glimmer Twins felt about one another on the time. Richards had simply performed on the Tom Waits artwork rock basic Rain Canines, and introduced Waits in to sing backup on the hit cowl of Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle,” however Soiled Work is the sound of among the coolest guys on this planet making a hopelessly uncool file. 

23. Bridges to Babylon (1997)

Bridges to Babylon

The push and pull between Jagger’s urge to adapt to the occasions and Richards’ want to let the Stones be the Stones got here to a head on Bridges to Babylon maybe greater than another album. Jagger enlisted hip younger hitmakers the Mud Brothers and Danny Saber to help the Stones’ extra traditionalist longtime producer Don Was, however Richards, grousing concerning the “loop gurus” updating the band’s sound, chased Saber out of the studio and sat out of taking part in on the one “Saint of Me.” Richards might have finally received that ideological battle – the three Mud Brothers-produced songs and the 2 Saber performed on boast pretty minor traces of hip-hop or dance influences, and the band by no means tried such overt modernization once more. It speaks volumes that one of many solely memorable melodies on the album is the refrain of “Anyone Seen My Child?,” which resembled ok.d. lang’s hit “Fixed Craving” so carefully that the Stones gave her a songwriting credit score. “We’re supplied with the occasional heaps of boogie freebasing – marshaled expertly by Don Was – and simply the odd sparkle of a diamond,” wrote Paul Moody within the NME evaluate. 

22. Undercover (1983)

Rolling Stones Undercover

Chris Kimsey had been engineering Stones albums for greater than a decade when he was promoted to co-producer on Undercover. Kimsey, who had additionally lately produced albums for Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, presided over maybe essentially the most overtly reggae-influenced Stones album. Sadly, its gritty, bombastic singles weren’t particularly radio-friendly, and Undercover broke the Stones’ streak of eight consecutive No. 1s on the Billboard 200. 

21. The Rolling Stones (1964)

The Rolling Stones

The primary albums by all the most important British Invasion bands blended authentic materials with covers of their American influences. And whereas the Beatles, the Who, and the Kinks all wrote a number of formidable songs for his or her debut LPs, just one Jagger/Richards tune, the comparatively forgotten acoustic ballad “Inform Me (You’re Coming Again)” seems on The Rolling Stones. As a portrait of a gaggle of preternaturally charismatic and assured younger guys, it’s an enchanting doc, however far much less important than their contemporaries’ first efforts. The Stones had been nonetheless merely doing their finest impressions of Jimmy Reed and Willie Dixon as an alternative of fashioning these songs into one thing to name their very own in 1964, and the tambourine is commonly regrettably blended larger than the drums. 

20. Blue & Lonesome (2016)

Blue & Lonesome

After 50 years of proving themselves as songwriters whose catalog reaches far past the Delta Blues, the Stones went again to the music that began all of it with their first full-on covers album, faithfully recreating Jimmy Reed and Willie Dixon songs simply as that they had in 1964. A long time of expertise and the weathering of time had made the Stones a greater blues band within the 21st century than they had been of their teen idol days, and Blue & Lonesome sounds nice. The easy however stylishly reverb-heavy fashionable manufacturing creates a extra totally realized temper than their early albums, and among the finest harmonica taking part in of Jagger’s profession on songs like Little Walter’s Chicago blues basic “Simply Your Idiot.” Like every Stones covers, although, the recordings on Blue & Lonesome largely exist to level you in the direction of all the good American information that made the band potential within the first place. “It’s as pleasurable and engaged because the band have appeared in fairly a while,” Andy Gill wrote in The Independent

19. Emotional Rescue (1980)

Emotional Rescue

Sandwiched between two greater, higher information, Emotional Rescue is a reminder of how pleasurable even the minor albums from Stones’ imperial interval might be. The title observe is a enjoyable trifle from the band’s temporary however respectable flirtation with disco, highlighted by a quick Watts groove and a playful  Jagger falsetto. The Stones have extra soul than they usually get credit score for, however Emotional Rescue is one album from them that’s all bravado and no introspection. “Acquainted is an understatement. There’s hardly a melody right here you haven’t heard from the Stones earlier than,” wrote Ariel Swartley within the Rolling Stone evaluate. 

18. Metal Wheels (1989)

Steel Wheels

After feuds and well being points stored the Stones off the highway for a lot of the ‘80s, the band ended the last decade on a excessive level. They had been inducted into the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame, Jagger and Richards had been fortunately writing collectively once more, and the band launched what was then essentially the most worthwhile tour of all time (the file’s been damaged many occasions since then, together with twice by the Stones themselves). At some extent when touring the again catalog was way more worthwhile than releasing new music, “Blended Feelings” nonetheless supplied the band its final American prime 10 single. Wyman, taking part in on his last album earlier than hanging up his bass, is stuffed with feisty melodies on songs reminiscent of “Rock and a Exhausting Place,” and the person who later turned the Stones’ full-time drummer, Steve Jordan, co-wrote the swooning “Virtually Hear You Sigh.” Metal Wheels is assured and succesful in methods their final couple albums hadn’t been, but additionally extra impersonal and streamlined than subsequent efforts. Solely “Continental Drift,” a collaboration with Morocco’s the Grasp Musicians of Jojouka, feels nearly like a throwback to the uncommercial style experiments of the Brian Jones-era Stones.  

17. Hackney Diamonds (2023)

Hackney Diamonds

The final two Stones songs that includes Watts arrive about midway by means of Hackney Diamonds, and devoted Stones followers may get somewhat choked up on the sound of that first acquainted rat-a-tat snare fill on “Mess It Up.” All of sudden you acknowledge that is what the Stones actually sound like. Steve Jordan, a massively completed session drummer whose historical past with the Stones goes again to Soiled Work, does a beautiful job preserving the grooves relaxed and regular on the opposite tracks, however no person, actually no person, performs with the identical unhurried shuffle as Watts. Becoming a member of longtime Stones producer Don Was behind the boards is Andrew Watt, the 32-year-old Grammy winner equally at dwelling making pop smashes with Justin Bieber and Publish Malone or bringing legacy rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Iggy Pop again to prominence. The brilliant, strident sound of the opening trio of songs co-written by Watt finally provides option to extra intimate moments just like the countrified “Dreamy Skies” and a closing cowl of the tune that gave the band its identify, “Rollin’ Stone” by Muddy Waters (introduced right here as “Rolling Stone Blues”). The seven-minute gospel-tinged “Candy Sounds of Heaven,” assisted by Woman Gaga and Stevie Marvel, seems like a triumphant huge swing at one thing they haven’t achieved earlier than – a real rarity for the Stones within the 21st century. 

16. A Greater Bang (2005)

A Bigger Bang

After many years of Jagger attempting to pull the Stones into the up to date pop panorama to the chagrin of Richards, the band lastly returned to its bluesy roots on A Greater Bang. It’s most likely not as a result of Richards received the ability battle, as a result of Jagger is extra engaged within the music than ever earlier than right here, taking part in guitar and/or bass on each observe, with extra activates vibraphone, harmonica, keyboards, and percussion. “Rain Fall Down” is proof that the band might nonetheless lay down a danceable groove with out chasing after stylish new collaborators. Solely “Streets of Love” sounds outright dangerous – not like most growing old bands, the Stones appear to worsen at ballads as they become old. “The true information flash is that the Stones have lastly accepted that they honestly are grown males. For as soon as, they don’t appear involved with competing with pop stars a 3rd their age,“ wrote David Browne in Entertainment Weekly evaluate. 

15. Voodoo Lounge (1994)

Voodoo Lounge

It’s grow to be a rock critic cliché that each time the Stones launch a brand new album, any individual someplace will hype it as their “finest since Tattoo You.” It feels silly to play that recreation, however since we’re rating these albums, Voodoo Lounge is our choose for his or her finest post-1981 LP. After rising to fame along with his band Was (Not Was) and their funky 1988 novelty hit “Stroll the Dinosaur,” Don Was turned the unlikely savior of growing old legacy rockers after producing Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning Nick of Time. Was additionally produced Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bob Seger, and Ringo Starr with various outcomes, however after Voodoo Lounge, he’s been the Stones’ longest-tenured go-to producer for almost three many years. Regardless of the absence of the newly retired Wyman, Voodoo Lounge captures the sound of the Stones simply taking part in in a room higher than any of their ‘80s albums, with occasional curveballs just like the chamber pop of “New Faces,” which nearly sounds prefer it might’ve been on Between the Buttons. The six-minute gradual burner “Through and Through” is a masterpiece within the Richards songbook, and was used memorably by The Sopranos.

14. The Rolling Stones No. 2 (1965)

The Rolling Stones

The Stones had been one of many key “British Invasion” bands flooding the American charts within the wake of the Beatles’ early 1964 breakthrough, however they had been truly the late bloomers of the scene, having landed their first U.S. prime 10 hit solely on the finish of that 12 months solely after 10 months of smashes from the Dave Clark 5, the Animals, Manfred Mann, the Zombies, and others. The tune that lastly broke the Stones within the States was “Time Is on My Facet,” a then-recent Irma Thomas B-side Jagger completely made his personal. Mick and Keith wrote three originals for The Rolling Stones No. 2, however covers had been nonetheless the majority of the band’s repertoire. “Off the Hook” options a few of Brian Jones’ best lead guitar, they usually coated the Muddy Waters obscurity “I Can’t Be Happy” lower than six months earlier than writing their very own equally themed basic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” 

13. Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

Their Satanic Majesties Request

1967 was the 12 months psychedelic masterpieces just like the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band, the Jimi Hendrix Expertise’s Are You Skilled?, and Pink Floyd’s Piper on the Gates of Daybreak radically expanded the inventive prospects of rock music with trippy manufacturing experiments and surreal lyrical imagery. Jones had already been main the Stones into new territory by incorporating all kinds of surprising devices, so it’s not completely truthful to imagine the band was just too earthbound and blues-based to deal with the gauntlet thrown by Sgt. Pepper. Whether or not it was too many medication, not sufficient medication, or the fallacious varieties of medicine, Their Satanic Majesties Request was a careless misfire in comparison with the up to date albums by which it was clearly influenced. Its repute has grown somewhat for the reason that preliminary disappointment, with “She’s a Rainbow” changing into ubiquitous in movies and commercials over the previous decade. Curios like the one Wyman lead vocal within the Stones catalog, “In One other Land,” make it an intriguing, revealing have a look at a band which might by no means enterprise fairly to date outdoors its consolation zone once more. 

12. It’s Solely Rock ‘n Roll (1974)

It's Only Rock n Roll

It’s not precisely a tragedy on the dimensions of Jones’ dying, however letting go of Mick Taylor is without doubt one of the saddest unforced errors in Rolling Stones’ historical past. As a flexible guitarist, he was indispensable to the sound of a number of of the band’s finest albums, and as a author, he believed he deserved credit score for a number of songs that had been attributed solely to Jagger/Richards. When Taylor needed to hear from a journalist that he wasn’t credited for “Until The Subsequent Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One” on It’s Solely Rock ‘n Roll, that was his last straw, and the tip of maybe the best Stones lineup. The Glimmer Twins, the within joke nickname by which Jagger and Richards credited their Stones manufacturing work, made its first look within the liner notes for It’s Solely Rock ‘n Roll. The title observe is each a definitive Stones tune and barely a Stones tune in any respect – Jagger recorded it in a one-off session with members of the Faces and David Bowie, after which let Richards overdub extra guitar earlier than finalizing the observe. “I hear sufficient new hooks and arresting bass runs and audacious jokes to stretch over three extraordinary albums, however I additionally hear rhymes that sound lazy with out speaking with Father Time,” wrote Robert Christgau within the Village Voice

11. Out of Our Heads (1965)

out of our heads

Jagger and Richards took a quantum leap ahead as songwriters in 1965, however the canonical U.Ok. model of Out of Our Heads doesn’t actually replicate that – “The Final Time” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” had been non-LP singles within the U.Ok. which solely appeared on the American model of the album. Nonetheless, Andrew Loog Oldham’s rising talents as a producer are evident all through, together with the minor basic originals “I’m Free” and “Play With Hearth.” Transferring from blues oldies to up to date soul within the band’s covers repertoire, Jagger sounds energized singing songs popularized by Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. 

10. Black and Blue (1976)

Black and Blue

After Taylor’s 1974 departure, the Stones extensively auditioned new guitar gamers, together with established stars like Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck, through the recording of Black and Blue. Three of the guitarists vying for the gig wound up taking part in on the album: Wayne Perkins, Harvey Mandel, and Faces guitarist Ronnie Wooden, who acquired the gig and has stored it for 47 years and counting. Black and Blue is without doubt one of the least energetic Stones albums, however that’s what makes it an excellent dangle and a perfect Sunday afternoon album. The very best songs, “Reminiscence Motel” and “Idiot To Cry,” are gems of electrical piano-driven ‘70s Stones balladry. 

9. Tattoo You (1981)

Tattoo You

To launch a tune as iconic and legacy-defining as “Begin Me Up” 17 years into your profession is unparalleled. So is shortly cobbling collectively an album out of unfinished outtakes from earlier albums as an excuse to tour, and winding up with considered one of your best-selling releases. Tattoo You is the epitome of the sorts of absurd triumphs the Stones have repeatedly pulled out of their asses after they most likely didn’t have a proper to. Prolonged grooves like “Slave” and “Ready on a Buddy,” each that includes jazz legend Sonny Rollins, give the album a leisurely grace, and for as soon as Wooden will get in two songs, “Black Limousine” and the beautiful “No Use in Crying.” 

8. Goats Head Soup (1973)

Goat heads Soup

Clavinets, wah-wah pedals, and Leslie audio system fill Goats Head Soup with murky psychedelia and gurgling funk-rock. It’s not precisely a Parliament album, nevertheless it has a particular, groove-heavy sound and lyrics stuffed with city paranoia like “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” and “Dancing with Mr. D.” Goats Head Soup might now be seen as a relative letdown after a string of unimpeachable classics, nevertheless it bought much better than Exile on Major St. and has a gnarly allure with moments of disarming magnificence. The twangy epic “Winter” could also be Taylor’s masterpiece, though as soon as once more Jagger and Richards, the latter of whom doesn’t even play on the observe, hogged all of the songwriting credit for themselves. Richards additionally contributes considered one of his best lead vocal performances, penning the ballad “Coming Down Once more” about his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. 

7. Between the Buttons (1967)

between the buttons

It would sound humorous to say that the archetypal dangerous boys of rock made an album that could possibly be described as “twee.” Between the Buttons, nonetheless, is a fetchingly bespoke potpourri of pop kinds, its sound largely formed by Jones leaping across the studio laying down overdubs of dulcimer, kazoo, tuba, recorder, accordion, and vibraphone. Appropriately, it’s the Stones album prominently featured in Wes Anderson’s ever-so-precious The Royal Tenenbaums. As soon as once more, Individuals acquired a superior model of the album due to the inclusion of the U.Ok. standalone singles “Let’s Spend the Night time Collectively” and “Ruby Tuesday.” 

6. Some Ladies (1978)

Some Girls

Wooden by no means introduced new musical dimensions and textures to the Stones like his predecessors Jones and Taylor – if something, it was extra like having two Keiths within the band. Nevertheless, Wooden’s tenure as a full-time member will get off to a bang on Some Ladies, to this present day the band’s most closely performed album on basic rock radio. Some Ladies may be Watts’ best hour – he’s by no means sounded extra fired up than on “Respectable,” and his idiosyncratic tackle a four-on-the-floor dance groove made “Miss You” the best disco crossover tune by a veteran rock act. Sadly, with its cringey references to the sexual predilections of various ethnic ladies, the lyrics of the title observe have aged extra poorly than any in Jagger’s large, usually problematic songbook. 

5. Aftermath (1966)

aftermath

The primary Stones album comprised completely of authentic songs made a compelling argument that Jagger/Richards might greater than dangle with Lennon/McCartney. It additionally confirmed, through “Silly Woman” and “Beneath My Thumb,” that the misogyny and condescension to ladies that they’d picked up secondhand in a few of their blues covers was going to stay a characteristic of their very own songwriting for the foreseeable future. The 11-minute blues odyssey “Going House” displaced Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” because the longest album observe by a significant rock artist, and continues to be by far the longest Stones tune. The American version of the album opens with the towering “Paint It, Black,” however even with out it, Aftermath is the jewel of the Stones’ early years. 

4. Let It Bleed (1969)

Let It Bleed

The simplified view of the Stones’ guitarists is that Richards is the unequalled grasp of the riff, whereas the second guitarist tends so as to add extra texture and extemporization. Let It Bleed, recorded in between the Jones and Taylor eras with minor contributions from each, is the album the place Richards performs almost each guitar half and will get to indicate what he’s actually able to. The interwoven guitars on “Gimme Shelter” stands out as the most spectacular and mesmerizing factor Richards has ever achieved. “You Can’t All the time Get What You Need” is, nonetheless, the primary Stones tune Jagger performed guitar on, each within the studio and stay, within the legendary live performance movie The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Launched between Jones’ dying and the outbreak of violence on the Altamont Speedway Free Pageant, Let It Bleed has a darkish aura that appears to replicate how grim issues had been changing into across the band in 1969. If something places Let It Bleed behind the opposite albums from the band’s late ‘60s/early ‘70s peak, it’s the inclusion of the plodding “Nation Honk” as an alternative of the upbeat single model, “Honky Tonk Girls.” 

3. Exile on Major St. (1972)

The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street

Who you like within the tug-of-war between Jagger and Richards most likely has a heavy bearing on whether or not Exile on Major St. is your favourite Stones album. Jagger all the time decried the muddy combine, which typically buries the vocals way over another Stones file, whereas Richards, whose signature tune “Comfortable” was the album’s second single, has all the time appeared way more happy with its gradual rise to consensus acclaim after middling early opinions. Most iconic basic rock double albums are formidable and exhausting by design, with bands letting each member pitch in on songwriting, or stretching songs out into prolonged jams and style experiments. Exile, in contrast, is without doubt one of the least adventurous Stones albums, nevertheless it’s a unusually breezy 67-minute pay attention that makes you are feeling such as you’re within the basement of Richards’ French villa, listening to the band knock out one elegantly wasted anthem after one other. 

2. Beggars Banquet (1968)

As all the time, even the Stones’ finest ‘60s albums might have been even higher if the calls for of the U.Ok. charts didn’t necessitate a gentle stream of non-album singles. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was recorded in the identical classes as Beggars Banquet, however preceded the album by a number of months, serving because the wake-up name that Their Satanic Majesties Request was only a temporary detour earlier than the Stones returned rocking more durable than ever. “Sympathy for the Satan” might have been dulled by many years of ubiquity, however nothing can diminish the nerve of Jagger singing “Who killed the Kennedys?” in a vocal recorded mere days after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Richards had made his first lead vocal cameo on Between the Buttons, however “Salt of the Earth” is the actual introduction of the sort of rootsy facet two Keith showcase that may grow to be a staple of almost each subsequent Stones album.

1. Sticky Fingers (1971)

Sticky Fingers

The 1970 breakup of the Beatles and a string of excessive profile rock star deaths together with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Stones’ personal Brian Jones contributed to a pervasive sense that the get together was over, and that the exhilaration of the ‘60s was tapped out. As an alternative of studying the room, the Stones made Sticky Fingers and stored the get together going for one more 50+ years. There’s loads of melancholy on the album, and “Wild Horses” and “Useless Flowers” established Jagger and Richards as the best dabbling nation songwriters in rock star historical past. The band’s first full album with Taylor established above all else, although, that the Stones weren’t going to cease having an excellent time, and that somewhat darkness and adversity solely appeared to offer their hedonistic anthems extra depth and resonance. Fellow survivors the Who helped invent area rock on Who’s Subsequent in 1971, however the Stones merely refined their slippery, slouching grooves, resisting the bombast that may outline rock within the new decade. “A few of it’s silly, and a few of it’s simply plain dangerous. I play it on a regular basis, and the extra I play it, the louder I play it,” Greil Marcus wrote in Creem.  

To see our operating checklist of the highest 100 biggest rock stars of all time, click here.



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