So The Stones are 50 this week. I must admit it always makes me chuckle when people say that The Stones were great at singles and rubbish at albums. Let’s be honest, The Beatles wiped the floor with them on both accounts. Besides there are some great Stones albums. I am sure you know all about Exile on Main Street, Aftermath and Sticky Fingers. But IMO there are a few more that need re-discovering.
1 Their Satanic Majesties Request – I really don’t understand why some Stones fans are still sniffy about this album. It more experimental, more ambitious and more entertaining than anything else they recorded in the 60s. So what if it wasn’t Sgt Pepper, pretty much everything recorded in the last 60 years is in the shadow of that masterpiece. It is a wonderful record with some very strong tunes, imaginative arrangements and some suitably silly interludes.
For Brit Psych, notoriously associated with flowers, folky guitars and all manner of tweeness it is also pretty rowdy too. In fact not much recorded in 67 sounds as tough as Citadel – that riff is as dirty as anything Keef would lay down over the coming years
For me The Stones died a little when Brian left. They lost a bit of exoticism, a bit of edge and they also went a little too Transatlantic. Which is a real shame as maybe they might have gone on a totally different, and perhaps more adventurous, musical journey.
2 Some Girls – This is also absolutely phenomenal. It was as if the band cocked an ear to what was happening in the late 70s – new wave, disco, err country etc – and shrugged their shoulders and decided to record an album that absorbed those influences but was better than almost anything that the young pretenders were offering. I guess I really like the way they send themselves up too. There’s not a huge amount of humour on those early 70s albums, Some Girls is gag central. In Miss You it also contains arguably their last truly magnificent pop song.
3 Flowers – Ok, so not strictly a proper album, but a round up of their finest baroque pop. Ruby Tuesday, Lady Jane and the inexplicably unreleased (until then) Sittin’ On A Fence. One for Left Banke fans.
4 Beggars Banquet – For me an atypical late 60s, early 70s Stones album. The highlights are incredible – Sympathy, Street Fighting Man, No Expectations etc but there’s plenty of filler too.
5 Emotional Rescue – Some Girls pt2 aka Emotional Rescue, is also great, especially the Sham 69-esque Where The Boys Go and She’s So Cold. They started getting dull again after that.