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16 July 2008

What is your favorite Rolling Stones song? If you'd care to, explain. [More:]I'd actually thought of posting this before I saw the Bowie thread a few weeks ago. Not that it really matters...

Mine is Tumbling Dice. The last thing I wanna do is over-think a Rolling Stones song, so I'll just say it's one of the coolest songs ever - from the sloshed opening riff (if you could even call that a riff, but oh that guitar sound!), the perfectly slackened groove, the near-incomprehensible lyrics, the good-time backup vocals, to the kicker - that totally badass 45 second breakdown. Every time I hear it, it gives me that tingle that every rock song should strive for - the tingle that need not do but one thing - remind you that you are a sentient being. The thing about it that slays me is that, effortlessly and simultaneously, it is both a buildup and a breakdown. It is thee perfect example of a perfectly sloppy bar song.
anything that hasn't been played to death on Muzak, shitty classic rock stations, and Every. Goddamn. Bar. In. The. Universe.

don't get me wrong, I think the Stones are actually pretty damn cool, but jesus hillbilly christ are they ever overplayed.

and the problem with that? they're all so goddamn earwormy-hooky that after I've been stuck with the hook to Brown Sugar or Honky Tonk Woman in my head for 17 hours... following exactly four seconds exposure to it as I walked past the open door of some pub? I just find myself wanting to cauterise that particular lobe of my brain, thanks.

I actually do quite like the song "Emotional Rescue".
posted by lonefrontranger 16 July | 16:36
"Only Rock 'n' Roll (but I like it)". As you noted, it doesn't pay to over-think anything by the Stones, so I'll just say i like it because I like it.
posted by dg 16 July | 16:44
'Memo from Turner' was released as a Mick solo song, but it's still my favorite.
posted by box 16 July | 17:01
Yeah, lfr, I'm a pretty picky Stones listener as well. "Emotional Rescue" is a good one. And another one of their 80s hits, "Undercover of the Night", missed the mark slightly, but was totally a predecessor to songs by dance bands like !!!, The Rapture, Bloc Party, etc.
posted by Hellbient 16 July | 17:01
Not really that big a Stones fan, but probably "Paint it black". Maybe "Angie" or "Far away eyes", maybe "Shattered". I can never really ever pick one favorite thing.
posted by DarkForest 16 July | 17:04
I like "Bitch", because it has good blaring horns and because my band in Bishkek fucking rocked when we did it.

I want my band back! :(
posted by Meatbomb 16 July | 17:10
but was totally a predecessor to songs by dance bands like !!!, The Rapture, Bloc Party, etc...

ooh, so right, and I'd never actually considered that.

I loves me some !!!, 'tis true.
posted by lonefrontranger 16 July | 17:10
Either Sister Morphine or Playing With Fire. There was a time and place when those songs were heard often in my day to day life. Also they were 2 songs that weren't really pop songs, not one of their most popular, anyway. The slide guitar and piano on Sister Morphine give me chills.
posted by chillmost 16 July | 17:14
Sympathy for the devil for me. I don't know why, but I absolutely love that song.
posted by seanyboy 16 July | 17:16
Memo from Turner is truly awesome, box.

My favorite is probably Monkey Man. When I hear it, I've got to shake my stuff. GOTTA SHAKE IT!!!
posted by jrossi4r 16 July | 17:18
I love all of it. The overplayed stuff, most everything. I don't like Brown Sugar that much. One year when I worked at the Big Kahuna they played Brown Sugar over and over and it wore on my nerves. Angie is a good song but I don't like it as much as I could because I had an Israeli ex-boyfriend that would sing it in his thick accent and it was all wrong.

My most favorite Rolling Stones and an absolute favorite in general is (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. I like it because it's such a brilliant song. It's perfect. After that, it's so hard to pick. Like I said, I like most of The Rolling Stones. Miss You is great. It makes you want to shake your hips. Fool to Cry is a song that's definitely not overplayed. I loved Beast of Burden when I was 12. Ha! Still love it.
posted by LoriFLA 16 July | 17:23
Reflecting further on why "Bitch" is the best Rolling Stones song:
  • it doesn't waste time - the whole thing has reached a rocking crescendo in a little over 2 minutes;
  • the lyrics "juiced up and sloppy", "move like a stud, kicking the stall all night". Getting to sing those made me feel like a rock star more than anything else we did;
  • The way stuff piles on, so fast... it's almost like really good sex that ends in premature ejaculation. Cool baseline... hey, powerful lyrics... ooh, horns too... wow, now all together at once... and now MICK SCREAMING OVER IT ALL!!! Holy shit is it over already I was just getting into that.
posted by Meatbomb 16 July | 17:25
In addition to most of the songs already mentioned (except "Emotional Rescue"), I like "Happy," "She's So Cold," and "Little T&A." (For some reason the percentage of Rolling Stones songs I like that are sung by Keith Richard(s) is very high compared to the tiny percentage of their songs he sung.)
posted by kirkaracha 16 July | 17:32
Gimme Shelter. I have no idea why. I just like it the best.
posted by gaspode 16 July | 17:35
The entire Let It Bleed album, front to back.
posted by bmarkey 16 July | 17:37
Under My Thumb. . .as misogynist as it is. It pretty much captures the Stones, IMO.
posted by danf 16 July | 17:39
I've been to a Rolling Stones concert where a very talented backup singer sings a huge part of Gimme Shelter, with Mick Jagger and solo. I would like to relive that moment. Maybe I can find something on YouTube.
posted by LoriFLA 16 July | 17:47
It was the Bridges to Babylon tour.
posted by LoriFLA 16 July | 17:52
"Rocks Off," from Exile On Main Street. It has the lyric "The sunshine bores the daylights out of me,' and the music to back it up.
posted by jonmc 16 July | 18:29
Wild Horses & Gimme Shelter
posted by mullacc 16 July | 18:29
"She's a Rainbow". For sentimental reasons.
posted by syntax 16 July | 19:02
This is a hard one since so many of their songs are outstanding classics that must be acknowledged, like "Satisfaction". The rankings are interesting -- I wouldn't have predicted that "Paint It Black" would be the top song by a mile, but I guess it doesn't surprise me, in terms of what fits modern tastes. "Sympathy for the Devil" at #2 is more in line with expectations. But "Angie" at #5? Talk about your dark horses. I can't remember ever hearing it on the radio, even with classic rock stations up the wazoo around here (these days it's country, of course). Some songs would rank higher if people didn't screw up the metadata, true.

Anyway, me. Probably of the classics my fave is "You Can't Always Get What You Want", because it's so damn universally true, and of the second-stringers I'd go with "Ruby Tuesday" and "Beast of Burden" (sue me, even the cover duet with Bette) with "Get Off My Cloud" as runner-up. Honorable mentions go to "Dead Flowers", "Shattered", and if you want a name-drop from the lower reaches of the catalog it would have to be "Moonlight Mile". This is to show that I am not simply a dilettante. And if you want a song I hated at the time but now appreciate, it would easily be "Waiting on a Friend".

*Steel Wheels tour, Alpine Valley*
posted by dhartung 16 July | 19:17
Waiting on a Friend, no doubt. Second: Gimme Shelter. And You Can't Always Get What You Want. And Sympathy For the Devil.
posted by chewatadistance 16 July | 19:39
anything from Between The Buttons, you choose, it's all great
posted by matteo 16 July | 19:53
"Miss You" and "Wild Horses." I can really only explain that "Miss You" sounded so wonderfully dirty to me as a kid listening to the (wait for it) ayem radio. I also remember answering this as a kid for my 14 years older sister and she said "God, you go for the depressing shit." I was, I dunno, eight? ish?
posted by rainbaby 16 July | 20:05
I can't remember ever hearing it on the radio
Really? They play it all the time here. I just asked mr. rossi (a HUGE Stones fan) this question and he said, "Right now, Torn and Frayed." Then we discussed how few bands you could ask this question about and what a testament it is to the Stones' awesomeness that so many people are chiming in in this thread.
posted by jrossi4r 16 July | 20:12
I love "Gimme Shelter" for that wonderful guitar. And I have great memories of seeing the Stones at Wembley Stadium in, I think, 1981, when Charlie Watts came on stage and started a drum riff by hitting his sticks together, followed by Keef with that opening 'duuuuh-du-du-du, duuuuh-du-du-du...' of Honky Tonk Women, which has the best opening line of any song ever written too.
posted by essexjan 16 July | 21:02
Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter, and Paint it Black, because otherwise Laibach, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Avengers wouldn't've been able to do such amazing cover versions.
posted by Zack_Replica 16 July | 21:42
1. Gimme Shelter - dark AND funky both. And you can't back away from lyrics like "Rape, murder is just a shot away, just a shot away..."

2. The entire Exile on Main St.album - not a dud in the bunch. Turd on the Run!

3. And how come none of youse like She's A Rainbow? Great song.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 16 July | 21:44
crap. The Laibach link goes to the incomplete version. Use this one instead.
posted by Zack_Replica 16 July | 21:45
jon...that's some of the greatest lines ever written. Of course, it's followed by "chasing shadows, moonlight mystery" in perfect time. It's prolly one of the greatest couplets in the history of rock and fucking roll.

I like and love too many Stones songs to mention. Rocks Off is magic. Torn and Frayed too. Every single thing Keith ever sang. Even that slow one off Voodoo Loonge I to google. It's "The Worst", which opens with Keith's raggedy voice "singing"

Well I said from the first
I am the worst kind of guy
For you to be around

Man I like the Stones.
posted by richat 16 July | 21:58
Probably of the classics my fave is "You Can't Always Get What You Want", because it's so damn universally true

About three months ago I was over at my in-laws' house for my birthday. My wife's sister was there, with her 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

Well. The daughter wanted the couch to herself for some LOOK AT MEEEEE game she was playing, but the son was well situated there and (rightly) had the attitude of "suck it, it's not your couch."

So the daughter pitches a fit, goes over to her mom to whine: "But Drewwwwwww won't get off the cowwwwwwwwwch, and I waaaaaaaaaaaaant it to play my roooooooooolling gayyyyyyyyyyyyme..."

At which point, with Groucho Marx-like comic precision, Drew pops up gopher-style over the back of the couch, slaps the biggest shit-eating grin he can muster on his face, and sings "You CAN'T always GET whatchoo WAAA-HOO-HAUNT..."

At that point I was on the goddamn floor, and my wife's sister turns to me, smiles, and says simply, "He can be taught."
posted by middleclasstool 16 July | 22:18
I really like Loving Cup. And I never get tired of Stray Cat Blues. Sweet Virginia, Some Girls, You Got the Silver, its hard to pick just one.

*Steel Wheels tour, Alpine Valley*
posted by dhartung 16 July

I was there!
posted by Sailormom 16 July | 23:12
Star Star - has a great Chuck Berry kinda intro riff, the lyrics are good and raunchy.

Stray Cat Blues, Monkey Man, pretty much anything on Beggars' Banquet. The live Midnight Rambler on Hot Rocks (yes, the studio version is creepier.) Soul Survivor.

Far Away Eyes for Mick's hillbilly vocal stylings.

I also gotta go with Gimme Shelter - it's an eerie, eerie sounding thing, gives me a chill for reasons I won't go into. Fuck, I could go on all night, so I'll stop now.

*Steel Wheels, Atlanta*
posted by trondant 16 July | 23:48
Gimme Shelter. Love it. There are many that are a close second, though.
posted by goo 17 July | 03:30
Oh Yeah, well, Gimme Shelter goes without saying. I thought the question was to be interpreted as "What is your favorite Rolling Stones song, other than Gimme Shelter?"
posted by chillmost 17 July | 03:57
"Going to a Go Go." Sure, it's a cover, but my favorite Beatles song is "Rock and Roll Music," so there.

My favorite Stones song that's actually by the Stones (other than the obvious "Gimme Shelter" and "Satisfaction") is "Sweet Black Angel," for its heartfelt skewering of whitey and its richly evocative musical setting.

What bullshit. "Get Off My Cloud," motherfuckers!
posted by Hugh Janus 17 July | 08:17
The thing about "Gimme Shelter", great as it is, is that it is very much of its time -- which was just a moment, a moment we may not (God willing) see again in our lifetimes. That makes it hard for it to be a favorite.
posted by dhartung 17 July | 12:16
Ruby Teusday, Midnight Rambler (from Get your YaYa's Out) and 2000 Light Years From Home.
posted by quonsar 17 July | 14:49
Most of my favorite Stones songs are all by the Faces.

But for whatever reason, I really dig the opening 15 seconds or so of Honky Tonk Women - the part where I imagine Keef kinda limbering up his fingers and wrist before the proper riff kicks in.
posted by Triode 17 July | 21:14
what a wake-up || Don't yell at me.