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The Rolling Stones are called the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world with good reason. They’ve released some of the biggest rock songs of all time throughout their 60+ year career. A Rolling Stones concert is still a can’t-miss event.
Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, their main songwriters, penned some of the most foundational and enduring rock songs. What are the best Rolling Stones songs? Find out below.
Best Rolling Stones Songs
34. “Just Your Fool”
The Rolling Stones have always, at their core, been a blues band. They were named after a Muddy Waters song, after all.
They dedicated an entire album, 2016’s Blue and Lonesome, to the genre that inspired them to pick up instruments.
The Rolling Stones are working on a new album, but Blue and Lonesome is their latest.
It was also the last album before the unfortunate death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts in 2021.
The boys are clearly having fun on “Just a Fool,” originally recorded by Muddy Waters, harmonica player and legend in his own right, Little Walter.
33. “Living in a Ghost Town”
In 2019, the Stones released a compilation album of songs from 1971 forward, Honk.
They lead it off with “Living in a Ghost Town,” a fresh recording from recent sessions.
It kind of has a late 70s/early 80s Stones vibe, its “whoah-oh” hook hearkening back to 70s megahit “Miss You.”
Dig that old-school harmonica from Mick Jagger.
32. “Monkey Man”
Taken from 1969’s Let it Bleed, “Monkey Man” is a Rolling Stones concert and fan favorite.
It definitely has that bad-boy Stones vibe going on and is, like much of their material, a hyped-up take on the blues music they loved growing up.
“Angie” is the ultimate Rolling Stones ballad.
Taken from 1973’s Goats Head Soup, which was recently given a Super Deluxe re-issue treatment, it’s famously about David Bowie’s wife, Angela.
30. “Love is Strong”
Many would say the Rolling Stones’ heyday was in the 60s and 70s.
They might be correct, but their material after those decades never dips in quality.
Subtle, sexy “Love is Strong” is from 1997’s Voodoo Lounge.
Featuring more tasteful harmonica from Mick Jagger, “Love is Strong” is led by some pulsating bass from Darryl Jones.
Original Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman left the band in 1991, and Voodoo Lounge was their first record without him.
29. “Under My Thumb”
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones was a jack of all trades, and he can be heard playing the irresistible marimba hooks throughout “Under My Thumb.”
The poppier side of the Rolling Stones rarely gets any better than on “Under My Thumb.”
It appeared on an album that signified a huge leap forward for their songwriting, 1966’s Aftermath.
28. “Time is On My Side”
In their early career, the Stones were a helluva R&B band.
They absolutely swing on “Time is on My Side,” a jazz track from 1963 that was popularized by Irma Thomas’ version.
27. “Anybody Seen My Baby”
“Anybody Seen My Baby” is like no other Rolling Stones song.
The lead single from 1997’s decidedly modern-sounding Bridges to Babylon, “Anybody Seen My Baby” is simply smooth.
Its funky, almost hip-hop-sounding verses starkly contrast the dark singalong chorus, but it all fits together.
26. “The Last Time”
The guitar work throughout “The Last Time,” especially its simple-but-perfect lead riff, is some of Brian Jones’ best.
One of those classic early Rolling Stones songs, it has that blues and R&B edge that defined their first singles and albums.
Its genius lies in its gritty verses contrasting the catchy, singalong chorus.
25. “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll”
“It’s Only Rock n’ Roll” is a thesis statement from the band.
The high-energy rock track is emblematic of 70s Rolling Stones. The funky, sly number gave the name to their acclaimed 1974 album.
Sure, it’s only rock n’ roll, but we like it – yes we do.
24. “Miss You”
How many top 10 hits did the Rolling Stones have? They had 23 total, the most recent being “Miss You,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978.
Though “disco sucks” was a mantra in the late 70s, every rock artist from Rod Stewart to KISS had their disco singles.
“Miss You” is the Stones’ take on the genre, and it’s done in their incomparable style. Who knew Bill Wyman could be so funky?
The harmonica gives it a distinctive Stones flavor as well.
23. “Street Fighting Man”
This just in: the sixties were a time of social upheaval. “Street Fighting Man” was the Stones’ take on what was happening around them.
“I think the time is right for a palace revolution,” Jagger sings over heavy, gritty blues from his bandmates.
There’s also a bit of a folk influence as well. Indian instruments add to its unique vibe.
22. “Rough Justice”
“Rough Justice” begins with one of the most Rolling Stones-sounding lyrics: “One time you were my baby chicken/now you’ve grown into a fox/once upon a time I was your little rooster/but am I just one of your cocks?”
Like much of 2005’s A Bigger Bang, “Rough Justice” finds the band getting back to their harder rocking roots. It rocks like a Stones song hadn’t in quite a while.
The biting slide guitar is the highlight of the song.
21. “No Expectations”
The b-side of “Street Fighting Man,” “No Expectations” represents the darker, folkier sound of 1968’s Beggars Banquet.
Brian Jones is the star of “No Expectations.” His slide playing is otherworldly.
Interestingly, Johnny Cash covered it in the 70s.
20. “19th Nervous Breakdown”
We begin our top 20 Rolling Stones songs with “19th Nervous Breakdown,” one of my favorite 1960s tracks from the band.
The janky riff is a lot of fun, as are the lyrics.
In many ways, “19th Nervous Breakdown” shows how unique the Stones were on the 60s rock scene.
No other band would begin a song with the line, “you’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal, dull affairs.”
Jagger and Richards are the most famous members of the band, but Brian Jones once again proves on this track just how essential he was to their sound.
His riff is one of the most overlooked of the sixties.
19. “Gloom and Doom”
Jumping ahead several decades, we have another later-era Stones classic, “Gloom and Doom.”
First released on the 2012 compilation GRRR!, “Gloom and Doom” is the sort of biting social commentary that the Stones do so well.
The lyrics and screaming vocals are vintage Jagger. It has the trademark Stones blues swing, and the stop/start structure of the verses gives it another layer.
18. “Tumbling Dice”
Many people see the Stones’ 1972 double album Exile on Main Street as their high-water mark, and it’s easy to see why.
In many ways, they never improved on its greasy blooze rock.
Amid rockers like “Rocks Off” and “Rip This Joint” and the folk and country flavors of “Sweet Virginia” and “Sweet Black Angel” is “Tumbling Dice,” a catchy piece of pop and R&B that is still one of the most recognizable Stones tracks.
17. “Ruby Tuesday”
Though they’re known as the bad boys of rock n’ roll, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards could write some beautiful songs.
A perfect example is “Ruby Tuesday,” which features an effortless melody and delightful baroque pop feel.
16. “Moonlight Mile”
While we’re on the subject of pretty Rolling Stones songs, Sticky Fingers’ closing track, “Moonling Mile,” is certainly among them.
The orchestral arrangement creates an epic feel, which Jagger and Richards are up to the task of providing.
15. “Let’s Spend the Night Together”
For their version of “and now for something completely different,” the other side of the “Ruby Tuesday” single was raunchy, suggestive rocker “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”
Famously, they had to change the lyrics of this pulsating blues to “let’s spend some time together” on the Ed Sullivan Show. You can literally see Jagger roll his eyes every time he has to say it.
Muddy Waters does a fantastic version on his Electric Mud album.
14. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
As far as iconic 60s Rolling Stones songs go, it doesn’t get much better than “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
After a few albums where they dabbled in baroque pop and psychedelia, non-album single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” found the band returning to their blues roots.
Its riff and lyrics set the template for many Stones songs to come.
13. “Mothers Little Helper”
“What a drag it is getting old,” indeed.
Like “19th Nervous Breakdown,” middle eastern-tinged “Mothers Little Helper” is an example of how the Stones were writing hit pop songs about things nobody else was at the time.
The story of a mother who turns to drugs to alleviate her issues, “Mother’s Little Helper” is led by a brilliant sitar-sounding hook played by Richards and Jones.
12. “Get Off My Cloud”
The Stones earned their reputation as the grittier answer to the Beatles with defiant tracks like “Get Off My Cloud.”
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts leads the way on this one. His drumming kicks off the song and is practically the hook.
11. “Let It Bleed”
By the late 60s, our heroes had cemented their reputation as rock n’ rolls band boys.
Overtly sexual “Let it Bleed” is a case in point.
The title cut from their 1969 album continues the combination of folk and Stones-y rock they perfected on the prior years’ Beggar’s Banquet.
10. “Wild Horses”
Our choices for the top 10 Rolling Stones songs begins with “Wild Horses.”
Another fantastic ballad from Sticky Fingers, “Wild Horses” is their most overt nod to country rock.
There’s even a conspiracy that legendary cosmic cowboy Gram Parsons wrote it.
Charlie Watts’ drumming is so heavy that it should be distracting, but as always, it’s perfect.
9. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
We return to Let it Bleed for #9 on our best Rolling Stones songs list.
The album closer is among the most famous of their hits.
Not gonna lie, I used to torture my nieces and nephews with this song. It’s incredible how often kids say “I want.”
8. “Beast of Burden”
As far as smooth, sexy Rolling Stones songs go, “Beast of Burden” just may be the best.
A highlight of the 1978 album Some Girls, its simple riff is so wonderfully Stones-y.
7. “Honky Tonk Women”
What is the Rolling Stones’ biggest hit? That’d be “Honky Tonk Women,” which spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” this 1969 non-album single set the template for many Stones songs to come.
6. “Brown Sugar”
A controversial song about the abuse of Southern plantation owners, “Brown Sugar” led off Sticky Fingers with a bang.
Its riff is so based that even Bob Dylan covered it a couple of times later in his career.
5. “Gimme Shelter”
What are the top five Rolling Stones songs? You’re about to find out.
They were always known for adding percussion to their songs, especially maracas, but the layers on “Gimme Shelter” are on another level.
The harmonica and backing vocals are also a highlight of this classic.
4. “Dead Flowers”
Alright, twist my arm, I’ll tell you: “Dead Flowers” is my favorite Rolling Stones song. My old band even used to cover it.
Its mellow, grooving country feel is the Stones’ most spot-on foray into the genre.
FYI, it’s super fun to scream the vocals in the chorus when performing it live.
3. “Sympathy for the Devil”
“Sympathy for the Devil” is a prophetic parable about the 60s. Like “Street Fighting Man,” which also appeared on 1968’s Beggar’s Banquet, it shows how intelligent the Stones are at social commentary.
The song looks at the upheavals of history, culminating in the 1960s, from the devil’s perspective.
Its stark arrangement suits the song, and the layers of percussion are practically a hook themselves.
2. “Paint It, Black”
Taken from 1966’s turning point Stones album Aftermath, Brian Jones steals the show on sitar on “Paint It, Black.”
One of the most endearing and enduring Rolling Stones songs, “Paint It, Black” is a good example of how the songwriting of Jagger and Richards grew from more blues-based rock to complex folk and pop in the mid-60s.
1. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
What is the #1 Rolling Stones song of all time? We have to go with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
As we’ve seen on this list, the Stones have no shortage of legendary riffs, but none are as iconic as “Satisfaction.”
It also has that trademark snarky, rebellious feel, which comes across both in its music and lyrics.
Keith Richards was upset that the fuzz guitar riff wasn’t played by horns, as he had envisioned, but Otis Redding brought his dream to life on his definitive cover.
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