Entertainment Music The albums you must buy: Essential Rolling Stones guide
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The albums you must buy: Essential Rolling Stones guide

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The Rolling Stones: they’re ancient, they’re brilliant, they’re irrelevant, they are ‘The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World’, they’re a pack of money-hungry old men with gold-plated walking frames, they’re the pure spirit of rock’n’roll brought to life. And they’re coming to Australia.

All these accusations and accolades are levelled at The Rolling Stones daily. But whatever your view, they have sweated and hollered on some of the best rock’n’roll records ever created. So the question is, do you have any of them? And if not, why not?

With The Stones hitting the 50 year milestone and playing massive shows at Madison Square Garden in New York and Hyde Park in London (both the scene of defining live shows in 1969), an Australian visit has just been announced.

The Rolling Stones juggernaut wobbles down under for an opening concert at the newly refurbished Adelaide Oval on March 22, pocketing $450,000 from South Australian taxpayers along the way. It will be the first time in almost two decades the band has performed in Adelaide. Further shows in other states will be announced in the coming weeks.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood will be joined for a special appearance by Mick Taylor, a member of the Stones between 1969 and 1974.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the concert to help officially open the upgraded oval would be money well spent for the state’s taxpayers.

To honour the forthcoming tour, here are the jewels of the Stones’ treasure trove. In 50 years, the band has produced both diamonds and dirt. We’ve stuck to the diamonds, and thrown in some other gems for your consideration as well.

Absolute Essentials

Beggars Banquet (1968)

beggars-banquetThe lowdown: The Stones’ first real producer, Jimmy Miller, did what no-one else had done before; turning a grab-bag of songs into a true album. Although the white hot Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man sound straight out of the turmoil of 1968, it’s gritty acoustic blues that rules the roost here. It was the end of Stones Mk 1: Brian Jones departed the world shortly after, but contributes ghostly slide guitar to No Expectations.

Best tracks: Sympathy for the Devil, Street Fighting Man, No Expectations, Salt of the Earth.

 

Let it Bleed (1969)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: While the rest of the music world had flowers in its hair, The Stones brought it dark. With Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor joining at the end of the sessions, most of the brilliant guitar work is from the mighty Keith Richards at the very top of his game. From The Boston Strangler to the threatening Monkey Man, your nightmares never sounded this good.

Best tracks: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Midnight Rambler.


Get Yer Ya Ya’s out (1970)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Messy, hot, brassy and beautiful; Madison Square Garden, 1969. One of the best live shows ever recorded.

Best tracks: Love in Vain, Live with Me, Stray Cat Blues.
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Sticky Fingers (1971)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Their funkiest record, and Taylor is just in the pocket here; as is bassist Bill Wyman – just listen to Can’t You Hear me Knockin?

Best tracks: Brown Sugar, Bitch, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’?

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Exile on Main St (1972)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Move to France, record in the basement of a mansion, hang with country legend Gram Parsons, record the most soulful, uplifting, chaotic sprawl of rock’n’roll noise ever, get chased out of town by the cops. Just like bands now, right? No?

Best tracks: Tumblin’ Dice, Shine a Light, Lovin’ Cup.
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Highly worthwhile

Aftermath (1966)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: The first album of all-originals, the Stones’ nasty streak begins to show here. Jones (while not writing any songs) makes a massive instrumental contribution. US version includes Paint it Black.

Best tracks: Under my Thumb, Stupid Girl, Mother’s Little Helper.

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Between the Buttons (1967)

Rolling-Stones-1967-Between-the-ButtonsThe lowdown: Not particularly well produced, but the US version contains some classics and this was Brian Jones’ last real contribution to the band.

Best tracks: Let’s Spend the Night Together, Ruby Tuesday, Connection.

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Some Girls (1978)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Punk kicked their rolled gold butts: challenged to front with a decent record or be eclipsed, they delivered their punchiest set in years. Richards getting clean in light of jail-threatening drugs charges also helped.

Best tracks: Before they Make Me Run, Beast of Burden, Some Girls.

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Emotional Rescue (1980)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Tough, contemporary, smart; largely forgotten now, but don’t under-rate this gem from The Stones’ early 1980s’ purple patch.

Best tracks: Emotional Rescue, All About You, She’s So Cold.

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Tattoo You (1981)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Superb record with no let up: from the classic Start Me Up to the blues of Black Limousine, this is the Stones with 100% mojo. Jazz legend Sonny Rollins guests on Waiting for a Friend.

Best tracks: Start Me Up, Waiting on a Friend.

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Going deep

Out of our Heads (1965)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Pop began to turn into rock in 1965. While this featured r&b covers from their live set, it’s the birth of The Stones’ legendary swagger. Released in different US/UK versions, the recently remastered releases include the bona fide classic Satisfaction.

Best tracks: Satisfaction, The Last Time
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Satanic Majesties (1967)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: The Stones never did ‘psychedelic’ well; but this uncomfortable attempt to fit into The Summer of Love has aged better than plenty of records from 1967.

Best tracks: 2,000 Light Years from Home, She’s a Rainbow.

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Black and Blue (1976)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: Of their dicey ’70s albums, this is the strongest; no masterpiece but the first stirrings of the re-birth to follow.

Best tracks: Memory Motel, Fool to Cry.

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Steel wheels (1989)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: After public rows and a near break up, few expected a passable album, let alone decent songs. Vaguely mired in 1980s production, plenty here still stands up.

Best tracks: Mixed Emotions, Slipping Away, Rock and a Hard Place. 

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Bigger Bang (2006)

Rolling StonesThe lowdown: The back –to-basics purity of this even surprised longtime fans: not world changing, but it’s good Stones!

Best tracks: Streets of Love, Laugh I Nearly Died.

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|This article was published courtesy of STACK Magazine

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