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.)