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The Best Rolling Stones Albums Of All Time

best rolling stones albums

The Rolling Stones have left an undeniable mark on pop music, and their significance can’t be overstated. While often compared to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones were the more rebellious, edgy choice for fans in the ’60s.

This legendary band gave us not just hit singles but also an impressive lineup of albums that have withstood the test of time. In this article, we’ll dive into our top ten favorite Rolling Stones albums, a tribute to one of rock music’s longest-standing acts.

Unlike their contemporaries such as Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, or Bob Dylan, who have continually refined their craft over the years, The Rolling Stones’ catalog has more of a shotgun approach.

A large portion of the band’s most influential work was created during the ’60s and ’70s, a relatively brief period when you consider The Stones’ remarkable six-decade run at the top of the rock world.

During those pivotal decades, The Rolling Stones honed their unique sound and style. They were known for their energetic live performances, which in turn shaped their work in the recording studio.

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger took the lead in songwriting, but all band members, including Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones, contributed to their success. Even with lineup changes over the years, the band remained one of the greatest live acts in rock history.

Although they’re not often thought of as album-oriented artists like The Beatles or Pink Floyd they have, on many occasions, demonstrated their knack for crafting complete and cohesive albums.

Join us now as we journey through the ten best Rolling Stones albums ever recorded, you’ll find some timeless classics as well as some surprises. How does your list compare?

10. Goat’s Head Soup (1973)

Record Label: Rolling Stones Records

Producer: Jimmy Miller

the absolute greatest rolling stones albums

Goat’s Head Soup, the 1973 release from The Rolling Stones, was initially a dark horse among the band’s expansive discography. Yet, today, it’s celebrated as a key piece in the Stones’ musical jigsaw. Once hidden in the shadows of the band’s monumental works, this album now gleams with a newfound brilliance and deserved respect.

The record came to life again with a reissue, boasting a treasure trove of gems, including ‘Scarlet’, a track featuring Led Zeppelin’s legendary Jimmy Page. The album stands as a testament to the band’s adaptability, marking their pivot from their notorious rock circle.

Offering foot-tapping numbers like ‘100 Years Ago’ and ‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo’ interspersed with poignant moments like ‘Angie’, Goat’s Head Soup seamlessly blends the diverse elements of The Rolling Stones’ music. The result? A timeless masterpiece that showcases the band’s evolution.

9. Blue & Lonesome (2016)

Record Label: Polydor Records

Producer: The Glimmer Twins

essential rolling stones records

As we journey through the Stones’ discography, we encounter a rarity from the 21st century – 2016’s Blue & Lonesome. For a band whose creativity hit zeniths in the 60s and 70s, crafting a modern-day classic was an incredible feat.

The Stones’ quest to conquer live shows had often overshadowed their studio output. However, Blue & Lonesome acted as a strong reminder of the band’s intrinsic knack for creating spectacular records, solidifying their place as the undisputed kings of the road.

This album stands out as proof of the band’s unwavering spirit and talent, proving that The Rolling Stones could still deliver striking performances, even decades into their career.

RELATED: How Much Do You Think Keith Richards Is Worth?

8. Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (1970)

Record Label: Decca Records

Producer: The Rolling Stones and Glyn Johns

best rolling stones albums

Here’s a curveball: a live album on a list of the Rolling Stones’ greatest albums. Yet, overlooking Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, released in 1970, would be a rock ‘n’ roll sacrilege. This album encapsulates the pure, raw energy of the Stones in their prime – live on stage, feeding off thousands of ecstatic fans.

The Stones have left their unique footprint on countless stages worldwide, but few live recordings come close to matching the intensity of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out. This album captures the band’s electricity and fervor as they took over Madison Square Garden at the pinnacle of their fame.

A brilliant snapshot of a cultural and creative epoch in the band’s journey, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out is an unmissable record – a testament to the Stones’ live prowess.

7. Aftermath (1966)

Record Label: Decca Records

Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham

Must-Listen Rolling Stones Discography

When the Rolling Stones burst onto the scene, they rode the wave of rhythm and blues, much like their contemporaries. But by 1966, with the release of Aftermath, the Stones were marching to the beat of their own drums. For the first time, the album featured entirely Jagger/Richards compositions.

Aftermath emerged at the zenith of pop music, rubbing shoulders with iconic albums like The Beatles’ Revolver, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Although it might not have outshone these releases, Aftermath firmly established the Stones as a formidable force in the music world.

Tracks like ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ and ‘Under My Thumb’ found their rightful place on this album, fulfilling the immense promise the Stones had exhibited from their early days.

RELATED: The Story Of Karis Jagger

6. The Rolling Stones (1964)

Record Label: Decca Records

Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham

Ranking the Best Albums by The Rolling Stones

As one of the most impressive debut albums in rock history, The Rolling Stones’ self-titled 1964 record positioned the band as a fresh, distinctive force during the British Invasion. Fueled by a vigorous rhythm and blues energy, the album laid the groundwork for the Stones’ meteoric rise.

While the album paid tribute to the band’s idols, with covers of Chuck Berry’s ‘Carol’ and Bo Diddley’s ‘Mona’, it also spotlighted the Stones’ songwriting prowess on ‘Tell Me’. Though the song may not rival their later hits, it established a foundation for the band’s characteristic attitude and charm to flourish.

This debut record was the launch pad for the Rolling Stones’ unparalleled musical journey, setting the stage for an unmatched rock ‘n’ roll legacy.

5. Sticky Fingers (1971)

Record Label: Rolling Stones Records

Producer: Jimmy Miller

Greatest Rolling Stones Records Ever

Sticky Fingers, the band’s 1971 release, marked a new chapter in the Stones’ saga. Not only was it the first album to feature the famous tongue-and-lips logo, but it was also the first released on the band’s own record label.

The album delivered a potent mix of rock, blues, country, and a bit of psychedelic thrown in for good measure. With tracks like ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Wild Horses’, and ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’, the Stones crafted a classic that’s as vibrant today as it was in the ’70s.

Sticky Fingers was a testament to the band’s ability to push the envelope, masterfully blending a variety of influences into their signature sound.

RELATED: Meet Marsha Hunt, Mick Jaggers ‘Brown Sugar’

4. Beggars Banquet (1968)

Record Label: Decca Records

Producer: Jimmy Miller

Top Rolling Stones Albums of All Time

Beggars Banquet, released in 1968, marked a return to the roots for the Stones, as they traded in the psychedelic musings of their previous album for earthy, blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. This change of direction produced some of their most enduring anthems, such as ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’.

This album was a milestone in the Stones’ evolution, with the band embracing a more mature and refined sound. It served as the blueprint for the Stones’ classic period in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Imbued with a raw, minimalist production style, Beggars Banquet is an unmistakable masterpiece that’s foundational to the Stones’ legend.

3. Tattoo You (1981)

Record Label: Rolling Stones Records

Producer: The Glimmer Twins

rolling stones discography

Often hailed as the last great Stones’ album, Tattoo You, released in 1981, was a commercial and critical success. The album was primarily composed of outtakes from previous recording sessions, which were reworked and completed for this release.

Despite the patchwork nature of its creation, Tattoo You boasts some of the band’s best late-period songs. The rollicking ‘Start Me Up’ and the sublime ‘Waiting on a Friend’ stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Stones’ discography.

Endowed with an eclectic mix of rock, blues, and even reggae, Tattoo You is proof that the Stones could still deliver the goods, even after two decades in the business.

RELATED: The Very Best Rolling Stones Songs

2. Some Girls (1978)

Record Label: Rolling Stones Records

Producer: The Glimmer Twins

rolling stones best albums

When the winds of change were blowing hard in the late ’70s, many bands of the past were left scrambling, but not The Rolling Stones. In the face of a rapidly changing music scene, they rose like a phoenix from the ashes with the iconic Some Girls in 1978.

Some Girls found the Stones embracing the sounds of the era while maintaining their unmistakable essence. They slyly incorporated elements of punk, disco, and new wave, but the riff-driven rock that had made them famous was still at the heart of it all. This was the Stones not just surviving the ’70s, but thriving.

Some Girls was a showcase for Keith Richards in particular, returning to form with a vengeance. The album bristled with energy and vitality, from the biting ‘When the Whip Comes Down’ to the danceable hit ‘Miss You’. But it was ‘Beast of Burden’ that proved to be the enduring classic, still a staple in the band’s live sets to this day.

The album reaffirmed The Rolling Stones’ ability to adapt and innovate, proving that they were far from becoming relics of a bygone era. Some Girls demonstrated a band that was in tune with the times yet unwilling to sacrifice their true identity, marking a high point in their storied career.

1. Exile on Main St. (1972)

Record Label: Rolling Stones Records

Producer: Jimmy Miller

best rolling stones albums

In 1972, The Rolling Stones unleashed their masterpiece, Exile on Main St. Although it initially received mixed reviews, the album has since been hailed as one of the greatest rock records ever made. The pure, unfiltered essence of rock and roll distilled into a double LP, it gave listeners an adrenaline rush so intense that even Keith might’ve said, “Steady on, mate.”

Exile on Main St. was an aural travelogue of American roots music, from the deep-fried southern rock of ‘Tumbling Dice’ to the country twang of ‘Sweet Virginia’, to the Chicago blues of ‘Ventilator Blues’ and the gospel-infused ‘Just Wanna See His Face’. This was the Stones at their most sprawling and eclectic.

The album’s recording process was infamously chaotic, largely conducted in a villa in France to avoid the British taxman. With a rotating cast of guests and musicians, the band captured an atmosphere of decadence, excess, and creative fervor that pulsated throughout the album.

Exile on Main St. is a testament to the Stones’ resilience and relentless commitment to their craft. It’s a wild, raucous, and utterly brilliant record that represents the Stones at the peak of their powers. It remains a vital cornerstone in the band’s enduring legacy.

Final Thoughts On The Best Rolling Stones Albums

Well, there you have it folks, a whirlwind tour through the towering peaks of The Rolling Stones’ sprawling discography. From the sultry blues-inspired undertones of their early work to the stadium-shaking anthems of their golden years, this journey has been as wild and unpredictable as the band itself.

They’ve taken us on a rollercoaster ride of raw emotion, unbridled energy, and the kind of rock n’ roll that gets under your skin and stays there. Remember, these records aren’t just music, they’re time capsules, each one capturing a unique moment in the wild ride that is The Rolling Stones.

So here’s to Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie, and the memories they’ve given us. Long live The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the world