I bought my first Rolling Stones record when I was 12 years old. It was “Hot Rocks,” the classic 1971 compilation that collected the group’s hits from 1964 to 1971.
I already knew that I liked them, just from hearing them on the classic rock station that ran in the background of the art room when I was at summer camp. But when I got the record home and played it, I realized that they had way more songs that I already knew and loved than just the ones I could identify by name from the back of the jacket.
I spent a lot of time with that record. Even though I had already been a pretty avid music listener up to that point, the Rolling Stones got me to look deeper into the music, to try and pick out what each instrument was, who did what, who wrote what, and so on. They got me interested in seeing how a song was assembled and what the components were, as opposed to looking just at the finished product as something to tap my foot to, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Side four of that record also opened with a live version of “Midnight Rambler,” which I was totally fascinated by. I was particularly fascinated by the distorted rhythm guitar, which led to me listening to other music with distorted guitars – hard rock, punk rock, heavy metal, etc. Then I started playing myself.
The Beatles may have created the first records I ever played, but the Rolling Stones were the first band that I felt was mine, an opinion reinforced by the fact that when I talked about them constantly at school, no one else joined in. They were too busy listening to “Maneater” and “Cum On Feel The Noize.” But that only made me dig my heels in and identify with the Stones even more. Fuck everybody else, this belongs to me.
Of course they were one of the most popular bands in the world, so seeing them as “mine” should go a long way towards proving how completely clueless and sheltered I was, but that’s how it went down.
I still listen to them all the time, and god knows their catalog is big enough that you can comb through it forever and never digest all of it. Despite this fact, a lot of people seem perfectly happy to focus on “Satisfaction” and “Start Me Up,” and decide that’s plenty.
This is an outrage.
The Rolling Stones have dozens of songs as good as, if not better than, their big hits, and the time is ripe for The Z Review to run down their lesser-known gems that are no less deserving of your time and attention. With that in mind, here is our list of lesser-known Rolling Stones songs that are worth seeking out.
“I Don’t Know Why” (original single)
“Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” from “Goats Head Soup”
“Little T&A” from “Tattoo You”
“Monkey Man” from “Let It Bleed”
“Sway” from “Sticky Fingers”
“Time Waits for No One” from “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll”
“Before They Make Me Run” from “Some Girls”
“Stray Cat Blues” from “Beggar’s Banquet”
“Hey Negrita” from “Black and Blue”
“Love In Vain” from “from “Beggar’s Banquet”
If you enjoyed this list, check out some other great stuff on The Z Review