Start Us Up

[They've called us out over at The JB Random Report regarding our opinion of The Rolling Stones pretty much coasting during the last 25 years, as far as recorded output goes. But we're not haters. So, we're posting a relevant feature from the 12/2/02 issue of our old newsletter to prove it. -KJ]

While The Beatles are without a doubt the most popular and influential act of the rock era, it can be argued that The Rolling Stones have had more of a direct influence on the sound of the rock combo per se. Never ones for elaborate studio wizardry, The Stones’ loose, seemingly sloppy groove and interlocking twin-guitar approach has been adopted by countless bands, particularly within the American indie/alt-rock nation--just ask The Replacements or Liz Phair. And let’s not forget the band’s influence on Aerosmith, Guns 'N' Roses or The Crowes: both Sheryl and Black.

So, we’ve compiled a few lists--we even went over our customary number of entries on one of them-- and dedicate this issue entirely to one of the few acts--even though it’s been a long time since they’ve deserved the title--to have ever been worthy of being called The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

"The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band changes every night. Somewhere in some little dive in the middle of nowhere there’s a band playing like nobody’s business. And on that night, they are the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band."
Keith Richards


(in chronological order):

1. Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones Records-1971)
Welcome to the ‘70s. The Stones will be your guide.

2. Exile On Main St (Rolling Stones Records-1972)
Their ultimate album and one of the great rock and roll classics. Decadent, raunchy, awesome.

3. Some Girls (Rolling Stones Records-1978)
The punks may have said they were rebelling against the rock and roll status quo exemplified by The Stones. But privately, no one in their right mind would ever dis this one.

4. Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones Records-1980)
Not a great one, but we have a soft spot for it, nonetheless.

5. Tattoo You (Rolling Stones Records-1981)
The last hurrah. Their final stab at remaining The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

(in chronological order):

1. "19th Nervous Breakdown"
One of their coolest tunes. Just ask The Strokes: they’ve based their entire sound on this song.

2. "Ruby Tuesday"
A psychedelic classic.

3. "Gimme Shelter"
Not only a classic, this baby also boasts one of the greatest intros ever.

4. "You Can’t Always Get What You Want"
"...but if you try, sometimes you get what you need." Amen.

5. "Can’t You Hear Me Knocking"
The Santana-like jam at the end of this track is one of the top moments of guitarist Mick Taylor’s stint with the band.

6. "Happy"
Keith’s signature song: "I need a love to keep me happy". For us, sometimes this song alone comes mighty close.

7. "Shattered"
By 1978 disco and punk had threatened to make the Stones obsolete. This was their way of fighting back.

8. "Beast Of Burden"
Soulful, bluesy, and hands down, one of their very best. A bedroom classic, as well. Oh, yeah.

9. "Start Me Up"
The last great Stones classic. Great video.

10. "Waiting On A Friend"
Mick and Keith’s musical tribute to their long-lasting friendship. Beautiful.

Gotta fit "Under My Thumb", "Time Is On My Side", "Paint It Black" and "Send It To Me" in there somewhere, though. [Our thanks to "5"er Amanda Hanks for inspiring this list.]

There’s a million of these, but here are 5 interesting ones:

CHARO AND THE SALSOUL ORCHESTRA / "Let's Spend The Night Together"
Yes, that Charo. We’ll let you make up your own mind about this one.

DEVO / "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction"
When covering a song the idea is to make it your own. Otherwise, what’s the point? One of the coolest covers in rock and roll, period.

PETER FRAMPTON / "Jumping Jack Flash"
More Stonesy than the band’s own classic. The rare instance of the cover actually improving on the original. Look for the version off Frampton Comes Alive!

BETTE MIDLER / "Beast Of Burden"
Midler covers the Stones? Bleecch! Not even Mick Jagger’s appearance in the video could save this one.

BRITNEY SPEARS / "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction"
"Satisfaction" is one of the most covered songs of all time, so it merits double mention. It’s also been desecrated more times than we care to list (memorable among them: Justine Bateman’s all-girl bar band in the 1988 film of the same name) but Ms. Spears’ version is just plain horrendous.

Despite the Stones’ reputation for being a great live act and huge concert draw, their live albums have never met with much critical acclaim ­ or sales.
(We happen to like Still Life [Rolling Stones Records-1982] but acknowledge it's not all that. And yes, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out [ABKCO-1969] is overrated. It doesn't suck, tho.)


Jesse Bueno Lovera said...

OK this is gonna take a while...
I'll respond to each section, then steal these list ideas for next weeek


"Gimmie Shelter" - Along with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "The Wait" & "Sweet Child O Mine" One of the greatest, most haunting intros ever.

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" Awesome.

"Happy" GREAT song, it bothers me that Mick won't do the background vocals at their live shows.

"Start Me Up" Needs nothing further.

"Waiting on a Friend" Only you could see the same thing I see in this one. And you know who did that amazing sax solo right? The great Sonny Rollins


Fucking Briney Spears? Charo? Peter Frampton?

Devo gets a thumbs up

I LOVE the Bette Midler "Beast of Burden" dug the video too.


The Stones are a phenominal live band who for some reason can't capture that on their live albums. "Still Life" is OK but "Ya Ya's" really is amazing I don't think it's overrated at all. If you really wanna cringe @ a Stones live album just listen to "Love You Live"

Kiko Jones said...

- If memory serves "Happy" is performed at shows during Keith's mini set, giving Mick a chance to catch his breath. There's plenty of vocal backup onstage for Keith, regardless, but your point is understood.

- Rumor has it, there are some 38 reggae versions of "Start Me Up" in the vaults. (Allegedly, it wasn't working out and they decided to play it as a straight ahead rocker.)

- Revisit Frampton's "Jumping Jack Flash" before you dis it.

- Yeah, never understood why Sonny Rollins went uncredited on that track. His participation became common knowledge almost immediately, tho.

- Why the fuck they chose to release a doctored live album like Love You Live (studio performances w/added crowd noise) is just inexplicable.

godihateyourband said...

i find it interesting that all your choices are post-60s (and 3 are ron wood records). emotional rescue??? over "let it bleed"/"between the buttons" (my personal fave)/"beggars" or even "TSMR"? not even a fair fight. i will give you side 2 of "tattoo you" for godhead status, but i find the rest merely okay by stones standards (save start me up-- one of the worst songs ever).

Jesse Bueno Lovera said...

Remember the list was "favorites" not necessarily "best." I agree that "Between The Buttons" was amazing, a grossly underrated record. great songs on that one, "Connection" in particular. But underrated Stones albums can easily be another Top 5 list. Never dug "TSMR" always thought it was a follower not a leader, but "2000 Lightyears" is one of their greatest songs.
Sorry Mena, can't get into the Peter Frampton version, still have uncomfortable Bee Gees "Sgt Pepper" flashbacks.

Kiko Jones said...

Yeah, absolutely no effort was made on this end to establish a definitive Stones canon, GIHYB; just listing faves.

You see, absolutely no dis on the '60s Stones--almost half of the fave tunes list are from that era--but 'round here '70s Stones is where the heart resides. (Kinda like soul music: much respect for '60s Motown but '70s R&B wins out every time.)

"Start Me Up" one of the worst songs ever? Who are you, Mighty High, all of a sudden? I can list 5,000 songs we can agree on are worse than "Start Me Up". One of the worst ever? You don't have to like it, but that's too much hyperbole, my friend.

godihateyourband said...

i absolutely stand behind the start me up comment. now, i am speaking in a major songs by major bands context. i'm flirting on a top 50 list.

hear ya though on the 70s fix. most of my fave soul is 70s too.

godihateyourband said...

also, props for mentioning the flick 'satisfaction'. love that piece of crap!

Kiko Jones said...