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What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones as musicians, songwriters, influence, or as a band? Do they belong in the top five rock groups of all time?

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Yes. They belong in the top 2.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

In the top 5, no doubt. They WERE rock'n' roll in th e'60s and '70s, they popularized blues rock and the blues in Europe and America in the sixties

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

They deserve all the recognition they've gotten. Brilliant band. I especially love their lesser known early stuff, such as Aftermath and Between The Buttons. And Exile is every bit the masterpiece people say it is.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I don't have the total worship of the stones that many others do. In terms of writing and influence Dylan is far far superior, and in terms of rocking and rolling I think Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin are better.

None the less, for many people the Rolling Stones are the pure embodiment of rock and roll (especially since many of my generation aren't familiar with Chuck Berry) and ran farther with blues rock than any other band. So yes, I woul put them in the T5 artists of all-time.


the band is not among my favorite acts of all time, but there is no doubt of their impact and influence in rock music. And certainly no denying "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I wasn't counting Dylan, since he's not a rock group. Same for Chuck and Elvis.

While I may prefer the Kinks or the Beach Boys, I can't deny the "greatness" of the Stones. If you put their best 50 songs up against any other group, only the Beatles would give them a go.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

The last time I made a top artist list, the Stones placed number 3 (behind Radiohead and The Beatles).
Sure the Stones have a lot of crap (not so with my top two) but if you really sort out what's good from what's bad you're left with a hell of a lot of great songs and albums.

Just ignore everything they did after "Start Me Up"
and "Tattoo You" and you'll be fine.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

An opinion, Modernrocker? Certainly. To use the terms you ask about…

As musicians: B+. Charlie Watts is easily among the best drummers in rock history, period. Mick and Keith frequently chart very high on lists of the best singers/guitarists (#16 and #10 respectively on the most recent Rolling Stone lists I can find). Some of that has to be discounted as influence rather than musical ability, but it’s clear that neither of them is a slouch.

As songwriters: A. With the understanding that in their most fertile period they were working in the blues tradition, in which originality is frankly not as important as doing something interesting with established forms, they were master songwriters. I don’t totally agree with Paul about their top 50 songs, but they’re up there in that category.

Influence: A+. No band in history can touch them in this category. Including, imo, the Beatles.

As a band: A. Hard to separate this from influence, since they almost define the archetype of a rock band. For me, the ideal rock band would be one in which: 1) All members contribute significantly, and 2) the whole is greater than the sum. The Stones get a *slight* deduction on #1, since Mick and Keith usually mastermind things.

Are they in the top five?

Probably. In my book, there are six bands who can make a legitimate case for being the best ever. This is, to use nicolas’ terms, a lists of bests, not favorites—no special pleading from me here for X or Blur. Those six are:

The Beatles
The Clash
The Rolling Stones
The Velvet Underground

Knock out your least favorite band from that list, and if the Stones are still on it, then, yeah, they’re top five.

(Radiohead is new to my top tier, by the way…I’ve been re-evaluating them, and the hype is true—they’re unbelievably good.)

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

On my list of "favorite/greatest" band list (call it what you will, it's a combination of objective and subjective) they are #4 all-time. (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Who are ahead). What amazes me most is that from Beggars Banquet to Exile on Main St., they made four killer albums in a row. Jagger/Richards are right next to Lennon/McCartney among songwriting duos, and there's no denying the influence they've had. Some people could do without Mick's stage strutting and Keith's permanent high, but I think it just makes them more legendary.

Another thing that helps: I saw 'em live 2 years ago at Giants Stadium. They were freakin' amazing. What Ron and Keith have as two guitar players together is really magical on stage.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I don't view the Stones as nearly as influential as Led Zeppelin certainly not the Beatles since they were a major influence on bands like Pink Floyd and my favorite band Radiohead. The Rolling Stones have not made anything substantial since 1972 that would compare with The Bends or OK Computer

The Beatles beat the Stones as the role model archetype of a rock band The Beatles unlike Buddy Holly "and" The Crickets or Bill Haley "and" His Comets, or Little Richard, Elvis, etc., etc. The Motown groups were singers, not musicians. The Beach Boys used session players to play their instruments. They sang and danced to choreographed moves. The Beatles were "The Beatles." They wrote their songs (their best songs, imo were better than their covers), they played their instruments. I think the Stones are overrated. Peace

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?


Now I'm curious...

Radiohead, how did that come about?

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I love the Stones when they aren't playing the blues.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Nothing too odd about it, Anthony--I think there were three factors...

1. Immersion. I brought a box of CDs home from a storage unit where I'd been keeping them...among them were OK Computer and Kid A, and I just sort of found myself listening to them more than most of the others. At about the same time, a friend bought me Amnesiac for my birthday.

2. Context. I think I needed to listen to a certain amount of music which had been influenced by Radiohead (i.e., pretty much everything labeled "rock" in the last 12 years) before I could really appreciate the trail they blazed. Believe it or not, I think listening to a lot of opera helped, too (especially Benjamin Britten).

3. Thom Yorke seems to make a lot more sense after a divorce. (Rimshot!)

OK Computer is definitely among my personal top 10 albums now, and Kid A probably in the top 50 or so. If I was making a list of my favorite artists, they're around #8 or #9.

To get back to the Stones for a minute, Karmapolice (with a name like that, did you think we'd assume your favorite band was Steppenwolf?) points out that they haven't released anything since 1972 on the level of Radiohead's best albums. Which is true, but about as relevant as pointing out that Willie Mays hasn't hit any home runs since 1974...

I agree with Alex D--no band has a four-album stretch to match what the Stones did from '68 to '72 (in fact, we had a thread about that once).

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Alot of what is great about the Stones can be summed up when you're watching the opening to "The Departed" and they're playing Gimme Shelter. Man, that just sets the stage. Also, the opening of Sympathy for the Devil is amazing. The created something that wasn't there before and wouldn't have been there without them. To me, that's the litmus test for greatness. I've never gotten in to any of their records, but I'd say they deserve to be up there with the Beatles and Zep.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I like the Stones' rootsy, bluesy stuff on Exile and Sticky Fingers best. Some of their other stuff, especially their later stuff comes off to me as very commercially hook oriented.

They are definitely responsible for some of the best albums and best singles of all time, and they influenced a lot of rock bands to be way more lively on stage.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

"I agree with Alex D--no band has a four-album stretch to match what the Stones did from '68 to '72 (in fact, we had a thread about that once)."

Want to debate this with me? No disrespect to the stones, but clearly the best stretch of albums of all time is RE-SP-WA-AR. The stones may have the second best streak, but the "great" Beatles albums can't be touched. The strength of each and every song on those albums, excluding 3-4 tracks on the white album, is high. But the very highpoints are unreal. Eleanor Rigby, Tomorrow Never Knows, A Day in the Life, While my Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness is a Warm Gun, and Something stand apart from any song on Banquet, LIB, Fingers, or Exile. Well, Sympathy for the Devil is incredible, but it still isn't as good as A Day in the Life.

I also disagree with what you wrote in your previous post about the stones being the most influential act of all time. Every act since the Beatles has owed an enormous debt to them. The Beatles took Chuck Berry rock song structure and catapaulted it into the stratosphere. Their studio innovations are unique. Backward tape loops, psyechedlic soundss, classic orchestras accompanying the band, the list goes on and on. Even the bands who badmouth the beatles (thinking of the sex pistols) owe them a tremendous amount. By the time the Rolling Stones started writing their own music (late 64?) The Beatles had established themselves as the biggest band of all time. The Stones themselves were hugely influenced by the Liverpudlians. I'd argue that Dylan, Hendrix, the VU, and Bowie are all as if not more influential than the stones (dylan for sure). Not that these artists are better, just that they have had a broader influence on the musicians of future years.

This is not to say that I don't like the Stones. I love the Rolling Stones. In terms of top rock groups, I have them as such

1. The Beatles
2. Led Zeppelin
3. The Rolling Stones
4. The Velvet Underground
5. Radiohead

The Who, The Beach Boys, R.E.M, U2, and Nirvana get honorable mentions.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

You forget, SR, that Magical Mystery Tour came between SP and the WA. Just a 3 album streak. Not quite Rolling Stones.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

For me, the only comparable streak from a band is the current one that Radiohead is ensnared in. Yes, Amnesiac is a masterpiece. So is Hail To The Thief.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Well, schleuse... that's really great to hear. I mean, I always knew that you appreciated the hell outta them, but to know that your, ahem, critical awareness and personal taste have met, well... it's a wonderful thing. I just wish my old man would come around; I keep beating him over the head with OK Computer, with the usual "dad, this is like the greatest record of the last fifteen years", but all I get in return is "son, I don't get it."

At any rate, the Stones. Well, they're not in my top 5. Or my top 10. Or my top 50 for that matter. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but my general litmus test for enjoyment of bands/artists with larger bodies of work is that if I'm not too keen on their singles, I likely won't enjoy the rest of their stuff. Whether or not this is a legitimate gauge is tough to say, but generally, I've found it to be true, and especially with the Stones (as I think that overall, their sound has stayed relatively similar across their career for their singles to be quite representative). My enjoyment begins and ends with "Gimme Shelter", which pretty much ruins my life every time I hear it. Simply incredible. Songs like "Satisfaction", "Paint it Black", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", et al. are all take-it-or-leave-it for me (on most days, leave it). But where it gets interesting is "Sympathy for the Devil", the second worst song I've ever heard. Hate it. And I'm no baseball fan, but that's an extremely bad batting average.

So yeah... Stones... I'm sure they deserve #2, but for me they'll probably never be more than a band with one amazing song and a shit-ton of duds.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I didn't forget MMT, I don't think it should be counted. It's not a studio album, but rather a gimmick. I wouldn't consider it anything more than the Yellow Submarine sound track. If we absolutly must count Magical Mystery Tour than I guess the stones have the best streak. This is closely followed by The Velvet Underground. VU&N, WL/WH, VU, and Loaded are all great albums.

I don't thnik Radiohead's "streak" right now is as impressive as the Stones or the VU's, as I don't think Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief are particularly great albums. Pyramid Song is brilliant, but Amnesiac is Kid B and I don't think Hail is that strong. For me, In Rainbows felt like a comeback, a return to form by the best band of my generation. if you were going to list Radiohead's best consecutive albums I'd suggest Bends-OKC-Kid A-Amnesiac. Still not a lover of Amnesiac, but at least this way you get OK Computer.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I had forgotten Velvet Underground's streak. You have a good point there. Nico to Loaded are all awesome.

Well I think MMT is as much a studio album as Help!. A good half of the songs on both aren't even in their respective films. In that regard, Yellow Submarine is much more a soundtrack and much less a studio album. Indeed, MMT and Help! are considered as part of The Beatles' studio canon in the sources I've seen.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I don’t count MMT for streak purposes. It was a British EP which was repackaged with two singles for the American market, so I don’t think it counts as a proper album…which is not to say I don’t enjoy it, by any means.

That said, I still don’t think the stretch from ’66 to ‘69 stands up to the Stones’ streak. Revolver and Abbey Road are both masterpieces, but Sgt. Pepper, while a very good album, is extremely overrated, and the WA is a mess—a double album with about a single album’s worth of good material.

VU’s four albums are probably #2. I’ll reserve judgment on Radiohead’s best streak because….em, I haven’t heard The Bends in about 13 years.

(I wish I could shoehorn R.E.M. into this conversation, but, although they have some good four-album stretches, they’re not really in the same league. However, I don’t think anybody can match their EIGHT-album stretch from Murmur to Automatic; I think #2 is Hunky Dory-Heroes (leaving out Pin Ups) and #3 is Hard Day’s Night-Abbey Road.)

As for the influence thing, I wasn’t thinking of studio wizardry…I was thinking of the way a rock band is “supposed” to be. I don’t have a whole lot invested in the claim.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

No love for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band? I've alwasy thought it was the best of the four. Revolver is maybe better, but I don't think Abbey Road is as good. We could be going into the realm of opinion but I feel Peppers flows much better than Abbey Road and is overall more cohesive, even if songwise they're about as good as each other. The White album is certainly an uneven affair but I feel there is a certain beauty in it's disorder. If you look past the poor material you find a wealth of great songs. Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence, Happiness is a Warm Gun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Helter Skelter, I'm so Tired, and Julia are all wonderful songs.

This thread is about the Stones so now I'll talk about them. Exile is a masterpiece, everyone agrees on that, but it's not as strong an album as Revolver. Do Beggar's Banquet and Let it Bleed really top Abbey Road and Sgt. Peppers? Sticky Fingers is amazing, but it's also a bit of a weak link in this discussion of "greatest of all-time".

My apologies for hijacking this thread.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

i only own one stones album (exile). not really enough for me to comment on whether they should be in the top 5. i must say (i can't get no) satisfaction deserves its place though. i would even be happy to see it take out the no#1 spot actually. interesting comment about the top 50 songs thing. obviously i wouldn't know, but it sounds like it could be true.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I'll have to side with SR about the White Album. It's definitely one of the greatest double albums ever, probably only second to Blonde on Blonde. And this is because of its messiness, not despite it. At least the filler sounds good. It's the insanity of the album that makes it so good.

But, I think Exile is better than almost anything the Beatles did. It's a very different kind of record though.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

SR, I wouldn’t say I have no love for Sgt. Pepper. I think it’s all-time top 50…but top 5? I think that’s due to hype. Song for song, it doesn’t stand up to Revolver, or even Rubber Soul. All four albums in the Stones’ streak crush Sgt. Pepper, in my opinion. Well, maybe not Sticky Fingers.

Interesting take on the White Album from both SR and Sean—that its chaos is its genius. I don’t really agree, but that seems like a valid way to think of it.

By the way, for my money, the finest double-album of all time—and maybe the finest album of all time, period—is London Calling.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

London Calling is excellent too, but I can't stand the song Train In Vain. So I'd put it at the same level as Electric Ladyland, Trout Mask Replica, Double Nickels On The Dime, and Exile.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

The Rolling Stones have written some of the greatest rock songs and influenced many rock bands.

The Beatles were on a another level compared to the Stones. They tried to keep up but like Brian Wilson just gave up.

Whats the logical precedent for "Eleanor Rigby" or "I Am the Walrus" or "Golden Slumbers" or "Nowhere Man" or "Strawberry "Fields Forever" or "Across the Universe" in Pop Music and Rock Music? The Stones they didn't take tunes like Zep but you know they wrote a lot of tunes using the blues as a map. I don't think the Stones were innovative.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Stones were great, from '65-'72, like everyone else is saying. Anthony, they have TONS of album tracks that obliterate their now-very-tired singles...try "Moonlight Mile" or "Shine a Light" or "Monkey Man" or "No Expectations" or "2000 Light Years from Home" on Songza. It's worth a shot.

On the topic of 4-album streaks -- are we counting solo artists, or just bands? Cuz I can think of some amazing solo streaks.

Another fine band streak is The Who's: Tommy/Live At Leeds/Who's Next/Quadrophenia.

Of course, if you don't count live albums, that hurts 'em, but then again Magic Bus was barely even a proper album. Tack The Who Sell Out at the fron and remove Live at Leeds, and that's still quite strong.

Out of recent years, I'd give you OutKast. Seriously.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

“[The Stones] tried to keep up [with the Beatles] but like Brian Wilson just gave up.”

Gonna have to disagree with you there, Modern. It’s true that the Beatles are ahead of the Stones down to about ’68, but after that I think there’s no question that the Stones were a better band (for starters, they were still on speaking terms with each other, at least the ones who didn’t, you know, die).

The thing about pop music is you’ve got to play your game. The Stones responded to Sgt. Pepper, and to 1967 generally, with the embarrassing Satanic Majesties Request. Frankly, they got back on track when they abandoned their brief experiment in trying to be the Beatles and returned to what they did best. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t “keep up” with the Beatles; it means that they weren’t well-served by trying to be something they weren’t. I suspect if the influence had gone in the other direction and the Beatles had tried to make an album that sounded like Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf, it would have been a disaster.

The Stones could not have made “I Am the Walrus” and the Beatles could not have made “Gimme Shelter.” So I’d say we’re lucky we had both bands, because those are two very great songs.

As for Brian Wilson, I think we have to cut him slack for going mad, no?

In any case, I don’t think either music or criticism is well-served by viewing artists as being in direct competition with each other. Rivalry, yes. Blur v. Oasis, no.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I'd also like to state that people that think that good Beach Boys output ended with Pet Sounds haven't done enough digging. Just a public service announcement!

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I like Pet Sounds though I think it’s an extension of Phil Spector with added arrangements. The melodies though can’t be argued they are beautiful.

I like Smiley Smile better I think it's an underrated album. Its unfortunate Brian Wilson never finished “Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" which reminds me of Frank Zappa on the shelved Smile album.

Brian Jones was like Brian Wilson in a way he was musically the reason the band experimented. I don't think Brian Wilson had the support from the rest of the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson deserved better support in my honest opinion.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

whenever i think of the rolling stones as people, i never want to conciede their genius. but then i listen to their music i remember that they are.
top 5 of all time? yes, definately. they are my personal #4

what a terrific band.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I'm new here, so I don't know the history of some of these arguments. I have to make the following observations after scanning this thread:

1 - for anyone to suggest that the Beatles blew the Stones away is crazy, especially looking at the stretch of work from Beggar's Banquet through Exile. The Beatles were a great band - but they were not the only great band
2 - show me a better, fiercer, more powerful song than Gimme Shelter.
3 - The Stones are 1, 2 or 3, depending on your preferences. To put them lower than that feels incorrect. I love Led Zeppelin - I do not think the body of work or influence merits them being considered above the Stones.
4 - I don't get all of the Radiohead love (kind of the same way I don't get Pet Sounds as the greatest album of all time). I have all of the albums, I've listened to them, I love 2 of them, like 2 others and struggle with a couple. Granted - I'm a lot older now than I was when music "changed my life" and I listen less closely than I used to. Maybe I need to be educated, but I don't know how one can put Kid A in the same sentence with Exile on Main Street. Do the folks here really believe that after we're all dead and buried, the future Acclaimed Music Forum people will be talking about Kid A next to Revolver and Loaded and London Calling and Bollocks?
5 - yes, it's fair to penalize the Stones for lasting too long and making some bad albums. But at their best, they were arguably the best ever (meaning there's a legitmate argument there).

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I have no doubt that the future Acclaimed Music Forum people will most certainly be talking about Kid A next to Revolver and Loaded and London Calling and Bollocks

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Agree with Chris.

Frank -- your comment about Kid A's legacy is about as shortsighted as Charles H. Duell's famous quote.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

It won't live on as well as OK Computer or maybe even The Bends...

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I can only hope people will be praising Kid A like they do with the others. Kid A was a freaking revolutionary album, something that comes along quite rarely.

And imo Kid A >>> Loaded.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

like i said - maybe i'm too old, maybe i am unable to hear Kid A the way it was intended.

on the top albums of this decade, there are 8 ranked above Kid A. i don't hear anyone creaming with nearly the emotion about those as they are about Kid A (and Radiohead generally). is Kid A an album that was so brilliant that critics couldn't fully comprehend it when it was new?

or are these other 8 albums also going to be in the conversation with Bollocks and Exile?

and to be clear - it is not my intent to bash on people who love Radiohead and rank Radiohead as one of the top couple acts ever. i am just using this forum as an opportunity to get some insight, as i don't get it. in my mind, among artists of the past 15 years, radiohead sits level with oasis and beck and wilco and teenage fanclub.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Radiohead has a lot of supporters here, and i am one of them! well, you can't judge the 2000s list as completely accurate yet because the end of the decade lists haven't come out yet (and those get much more weight on this site) and their eventual inclusion on future all time lists will give them even more. so the 2000's will become far more accurate by the end of this year, at least.

radiohead is my #3 artist behind the beatles and bob dylan and i think Kid A will surely top numerous end of the decade lists and i will guess sit in at least the top 3 of this decade on this site, though i would place it #1

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Proposition: the older the album, the more stable the critical consensus about it. Albums from the 1960s are not likely to move very much in the rankings. Albums from the 80s are probably a little more volatile—I imagine a lot of albums from that era haven’t found their level yet. Albums from the 00s…who knows? I’m sure some of them are going to fluctuate wildly. Anything from the last 10-15 years ranked on an all-time list is, at best, a first approximation (which isn’t to say it’s not fun to rank them that way).

So…I like Kid A a lot, although I think it’s a little too impenetrable to the casual listener to be all-time top 20. OK Computer, on the other hand, will almost certainly end up on the same echelon as the albums frank mentions…as, in fact, it already is. (In Rainbows might be a sleeper.)

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

Regarding how much albums move through time...

I used to read a lot of reviews in the 80's. I seem to remember a lot of critical lists having Astral Weeks as one of the top 2 or 3 or 5 albums ever, along with Sgt Pepper and Blonde on Blonde and Exile. I don't recall seeing Pet Sounds anywhere near the top or the VU & Nico.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I think one reason for that, Frank, is because now that more time has passed, it's easier to see what modern artists have been influenced by. Half of the good new alt-rock albums sound like Pet Sounds (thinking of MPP and FF) and every left-of-center rock movement owes some credit to the Velvet Underground. Sgt. Peppers and Astral Weeks, despite being the incredible masterpieces that they are, haben't had the same level of widespread influence.

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

the 1974' NME 100 has Pet Sounds on #3, VU&N on #13 and Exile On Main St on #38...
maybe a crack in the union jack..?

Re: What is your opinion of the Rolling Stones?

I'm one of those people who don't really "get" Radiohead either and I've heard nearly all their albums now. I do find myself liking IN RAINBOWS and some of Yorke's solo album so there's still hope for me to be a convert at least into liking them....but they have a LOOOOONG way to go to get into my mental Top 20, let alone Top 10 artists.

Some of this is undoubtedly that I find it hard to call anything "Top 20 all-time" until I've known about it for at least 5 years. (And even 5 is doubtful..it probably takes 10 years assessment for me to really know how well I like an album.)