Well, here we go with a new weekly feature nobody requested, my favorite song from favorite musical artists. I’m eager to get started, but wonder if I will make it all the way through this year with a weekly post. I’m almost through a full year doing weekly mite-based cartoons, so I guess anything is possible. So without further ado, I offer you my favorite Rolling Stones song …
Wait, what was I thinking picking the Rolling Stones to profile first? They may be the hardest group I could have chosen. They have been making music now for 50+ years! Oh sure, you might advise me to disregard their more recent efforts, but even their 2005 album A Bigger Bang contained the very tasty “Rough Justice” single. Don’t believe me? Take a listen …
Not bad for old guys. So I felt I couldn’t discount any of their 25+ albums. Well, that narrows it down a bit … NOT!
Most critics tag “Gimme Shelter” as the best Stones song ever, and I agree it is a great one, but not my all-time fave. To make sure I didn’t miss any, I refreshed my memory of top Stones songs by checking out the list of top 100 Rolling Stones songs as listed by Rolling Stone.
There was “Gimme Shelter” in the #1 spot, but as I perused the list, I saw that it would be difficult to narrow list down to five finalists. Hey, there’s “Rough Justice” at #84. Told you it was a good one. Without further ado, this is my list of finalists as I scrolled backwards through the Top 100 from Rolling Stone:
“Bitch” from Sticky Fingers – This up-tempo rocker features a great brass section and a tasty guitar riff between choruses. I love the line “Yeah when you call my name I salivate like a Pavlov dog.” Love is indeed sometimes a bitch.
“Time Waits for No One” from It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll – I think I like this ballad more as I age. Mick Jagger croons plaintively that ” Hours are like diamonds, don’t let them waste,” while Mick Taylor delivers a soaring guitar solo that may be the best in the Stones catalog.
“Rip This Joint” from Exile On Main Street – This is the fastest Stones song ever, taking the listener on a wild cross-country journey in a homage to early rock & roll. It gets my heart pumping wildly and I love the Richard Nixon reference “Dick and Pat in ole D.C., well they’re gonna hold some shit for me.” Gimme’ another helping of that wailin’ saxophone, please. This one sadly bumped “Rocks Off,” also from Exile, from my short-list.
“Under My Thumb” from Aftermath – If these misogynistic musings that pass for lyrics were released today, the Stones would be vilified in today’s ‘Me, too’ world, but they come from a 1966 time capsule, and they are a creepy look at a dominance/submission sort of relationship. The marimba from Brian Jones gives the song a light, airy, ethereal feel while lyrics like “Under my thumb, the squirmin’ dog who’s just had her day” takes the song down to some uncomfortable depths.
“Wild Horses” from Sticky Fingers – This plaintive love song is the epitome of a Jagger/Richards collaboration as Mick wrote the verses and Keith the chorus. It’s just a beautiful love song supposedly written for Marianne Faithfull by Mick and for Keith’s infant son. “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away” from loving this song and the lyrics.
Those are five great songs and there are oh so many more, but my all-time fave Rolling Stones song has to be …
“Paint It Black” from Aftermath – I get chills just typing the song title as I can hear Keith Richards playing the haunting opening guitar riff in my head. I’m not big on sitar music, but the Brian Jones sitar throughout “Paint It Black” is exquisite. It’s not exactly an upbeat song with lyrics like “I look inside myself and see my heart is black,” but I don’t want upbeat pop songs from the Stones. I want my Stones songs to be dark, nasty rockers, and “Paint It Black” not only does not disappoint, but it reaches the pinnacle for me.
Next Week – Weezer