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The Rolling Stones

To my shame, I have to admit that I've never really got into them. I own Forty Licks, and really like just about every track on it, yet for whatever reason I don't have any of their studio albums. Now, from Henrik's site (and popular consensus) I know that Exile on Main St is the most acclaimed and respected one, but my question is, is that where I should start? Any opinions would be really appreciated, thanks.

Re: The Rolling Stones

If you like every song off of 40 Licks I'd say you're pretty in to them and would like any of their albums. 40 Licks has pretty much every single they've put out so what are the songs do you like most?

Re: The Rolling Stones

I tend to prefer the singles from the late 60s, Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter, She's A Rainbow, Let's Spend The Night Together, etc. Maybe I should try Let It Bleed, Beggars Banquet?

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Well, Exile is a hell of an album, great roots rock
it's difficult to advise you because it depends on what style you like the most
these are (to my mind their best) albums by era

- 1964-67 : Every album is good but I would pick "Aftermath"(1966), their first album with all-original material, or the following "between the buttons"
-1968-72 : 4 masterpieces : "Beggar's banquet", "Let It Bleed", "Beggar's Banquet", "Sticky Fingers", "Exile". After experiencing psychedelia in 67, they came back to a more roots-oriented brand of rock. They were the best blues-rock band ever because, rather than aping that style, they made their own music mixing gospel, r&b, blues, rock'n roll and country in a "modern" way for their times. Those records (especially Exile) are haunted with soul, and it's unbelievable that this very American music was so well-played by a British band.
- The seventies : "Some Girls", where they incorporate a bit of disco

Re: The Rolling Stones

So try Beggar's Banquet and Let it Bleed
THese are the first 2 RS records I bought and I didn't regret it !
Sorry I typed "Beggar's" twice, which is very Freudian
i think it is their best record (with Exile)

Re: The Rolling Stones

Thanks a lot, plenty of great advice there, I think I will start with those two. I'd better get listening before the albums poll comes around!

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Let it Bleed is probably my favorite Stones album although I do like a lot of songs off of Tattoo You as well. I'm not a huge Stones fan so Exile is a little overkill for me.

40 Licks is really the best for any casual Stones fan since it covers their entire catalog. Either that or get both volumes of Through the Past Darkly and also Jump Back. The Stones will always be a singles band to me so it doesn't bother me too much that I don't listen to their entire albums.

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That's fair enough. I will try Let It Bleed and Beggar's Banquet tho, and if I like, I'll investigate more, with Exile next on my list.

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Don’t forget “Sticky Fingers” (1971). Maybe the most dark Stones album but with terrific songs as “Brown Sugar”, “Wild Horses”, “You Gotta Move”, “Bitch” or “Dead Flowers”. It's my favourite Stones album. #2 would be "Aftermath" (UK version, 1966) and #3 "Let It Bleed" (1969).

Re: The Rolling Stones

Honario! Can't you hear me knocking!

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I think "Let It Bleed" is the best Stones CD. And it is more accessible than Exile, which is more of a grower.

Also, while I respect and enjoy the Stones very much, I think they are a band this is kind of hard to get close to -- if that makes any sense. I just don't feel the same kind of special kinship with the Stones that I do with some other bands. While they have a ton of fans, I doubt they are the "favorite" band of many people.

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Too many typos!!! What I was trying to say is that I think the Stones are the kind of band that is hard to get close to.

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Yes, jp. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". And "Sister Morphine". And "Moonlight Mile".
So many gems in "Sticky Fingers"...

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A lot of Rolling Stone albums seem (to me anyway) to be lacking some 'superhits', but when you listen to the albums a few times you start to appreciate the cohesiveness of each and every one of them and realise they don't need any 'superhits' to be truely amazing. Hell, all the songs become 'superhits'.

That being said, I agree with John and see them as more of a singles band rather than an album band. Still, some amazing albums.

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The Stones first album is my favorite to me it was them banging raw rock tunes, the only drawback only one original song Tell Me is not that great. I like Satanic Majesties Request I know the critics did not like that album but its underrated to me. Beggar's Banquet and Let It Bleed belong in anyone top 100 list.

Re: The Rolling Stones

Mine is the consensus view of the Stones--no other band in history has duplicated their four-album stretch from Beggar's Banquet to Exile. However, I will put in a plea for Some Girls, the first Stones album I ever owned...I still have a soft spot for it.

I do think that Loophole is on to something when he calls them hard to get close to--unlike, let's say, the Beatles, who were sort of cuddly, or Bowie, icy but charismatic (or as my wife would say, hot), or Springsteen, with his aw-shucks workingman ethos, or U2, whose concerts are something like mass rituals, or the Clash, who literally invited the audience onstage to pogo.

With the Stones, on the other hand, we are invited to admire but not approach. They are, to be blunt, not attractive or particularly friendly-seeming people--I have a hard time believing that many people actually wanted to BE Mick or Keef (do them, maybe, but not be them). And, unlike many rock stars, they don't feel like they really belong to us, or to our social class...my god, they recorded their most acclaimed album in a frickin' castle on the Riviera!

(Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

Re: The Rolling Stones

That's the consensus view?

Rubber Soul
Sgt. Peppers
White Album

Man Who Sold the World
Hunky Dory
Ziggy Stardust
Aladdin Sane

The Bends
OK Computer
Kid A

Led Zeppelin I-IV

I'm not saying I think all of those rival the Stones (I'd say the first three do though). But, I'd be hard pressed to find a critic that considers the Stones run of albums to be a better run than The Beatles and I think a good number of critics would say Bowie had a better run too even though Man Who Sold the World wasn't that great. Either way I don't think it's the general consensus.

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I guess Magical Mystery Tour should be there instead of the White Album but I think that makes The Beatles case even stronger seeing they had a 5 album stretch before Yellow Submarine.

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John, I wrote that first sentence very badly; I meant to say that the critical consensus about the STONES is that Banquet-Exile is their peak period, not that it was the best ever, by anybody. Blame my poor writing for obfuscating the issue

However, it occurred to me there’s a reasonable, if somewhat arbitrary, way to measure this: take the best run of four consecutive albums for each artist, according to AM rankings, and add up the total rankings. So, for instance, to take a random example, U2’s best stretch of consecutive albums is from 1984-1991:

425. The Unforgettable Fire
36. The Joshua Tree
1280. Rattle and Hum
80. Achtung Baby

Adding up the rankings for these four albums, you get 1821…points, I guess. The lower the total, the more acclaimed the run is. U2’s run here is pretty good, but not great.

I decided to leave out live albums; you can probably figure out why.


For the Beatles, because of Magical Mystery Tour’s low rating, their best stretch is actually from Help! to Sgt. Pepper (699 pts: 665-27-2-5).

The Stones (again, leaving out the live album, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, with the very silly sleeve art), rate 115 points for the run from Beggar’s Banquet to Exile on Main Street.

As for the other artists that belong in the conversation, Bob Dylan does the best, with 482 points from Bringing It All Back Home to John Wesley Harding.

For Springsteen, the stretch from Born to Run to Nebraska gets 503.

VU: Velvet Underground & Nico to Loaded is 577.

Led Zep I-IV is 600 points.

Radiohead’s best is 681, from The Bends to Amnesiac.

As for Bowie, you’re right—Man Who Sold the World really drags that sequence down; his best run actually comes out as Young Americans to Heroes, with 1361 points. His best run doesn’t come close to topping, let’s say, R.E.M. (to randomly and unfairly use my favorite band for comparison), who get 896 from Document to Automatic for the People.

So, just comparing best stretches of four consecutive LPs, the Stones really do come out as the top CONSENSUS pick. If one wanted to quibble and include live albums, then the title goes to Dylan.

Of course, again, these are the critics’ rankings. You wouldn’t rank them this way, and neither would I.

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John, re-reading your post, I see you also gave props to the five-album sequence from Rubber Soul to the White Album.

OK, best five-album stretches. Top ten this time:

Springsteen: 643 (Born to Run to Born in the USA)
Led Zep: 1007 (Led Zep II to Physical Graffiti)
Beatles: 1039 (Rubber Soul to White Album)
Radiohead: 1046 (The Bends to Hail to the Thief)
Dylan: 1179 (Bringing It All Back Home to Nashville Skyline)
Beastie Boys: 1651 (Licensed to Ill to Hello Nasty)
R.E.M.: 1804 (Lifes Rich Pageant to Automatic for the People)
Elvis Costello: 1805 (My Aim Is True to Trust)
The Smiths: 2017 (s/t to Strangeways) (Hatful of Hollow is questionable)
Stevie Wonder: 2083 (Music of My Mind to Songs in the Key of Life)

The Stones aren’t near this list; they’re really sunk at either end by Goat’s Head Soup or Their Satanic Majesties Request.

OK, I’m stopping…I have now wasted too much time on a project that proves absolutely nothing (although I think it’s pretty cool).

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Considering the Beatles did Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper in a 18 month span and if you inlude singles We Can Work It Out/ Day Tripper, Paperback Writer/ Rain and Penny Lane/ Strawberry Fields Forever I would say that is a better run than Dylan or the Stones. The Beatles were a better singles artist than Dylan or the Stones sorry but that is the facts.

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One more point Magical Mystery Tour was originally released as a EP it was stretched as an album to please the Beatles American record company so it should really be Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers and the White Album. This is a good topic question I would add the first four Byrds albums also on this list.

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Yeah Magical Mystery Tour was a US only album...that's why I was screwed up before. I still count it as an album though. The fact that Magical Mystery Tour is rated so low and all those Stones albums are rated so much higher is pretty appalling in my opinion.

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I agree, MMT is underrated, most other Beatles albums are overrated though, and the Stones albums aren't. But we can go on discussing this all year, everyone has a different opinion so it's quite useless. Props to schleuse for doing what I was about to do as well.