Top 10 Rolling Stones Albums

Their first public performance as the “Rollin’ Stones” was at the Marquee Club in London, England in 1962. They named themselves after a Muddy Waters song from the 1950s and originally played variations of the blues. They were in competition with the Beatles throughout the 1960s until the “Fab Four” broke up in 1970. After the Beatles ceased to exist, the Stones became the “World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” by default. Over the course of the next half century they proved that they really were the “World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band.” The band was originally comprised of Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Brian Jones (guitar) Charlie Watts (drums), Bill Wyman (bass) and Ian Stewart (keyboards and road manager). Mick Taylor replaced Brian Jones on guitar for five years and then Ronnie Wood took over for the duration. Over the last 6 decades, the band has released nearly 100 albums comprised of an equal amount of studio, live, and compilation releases. This list is merely the tip of the iceberg that the reader can explore further.

10. Some Girls

The Rolling Stones’ 19th studio album Some Girls was released in 1978 during a dark period when the band seriously considered disbanding. Keith Richards had been arrested in Canada for “possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking” and faced prison. Mick Jagger had his own issues but the band doubled down and decided to keep on going. It was a #1 album in the US on the Billboard 200 and produced songs like “Beast of Burden,” “Shattered” and “Miss You.”

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9. Steel Wheels

Steel Wheels was released in 1989 just before the collapse of Eastern European Communism. It was the 21st US studio album and the last one to include original bass player Bill Wyman. Ian Stewart, the Rolling Stones’ original keyboardist and road manager died just after the previous album Dirty Work was released, so this was the first one that didn’t include him. Mick & Keith patched things up and they did their first American tour promoting the album since 1981 with classic Jagger/Richards compositions like “Sad Sad Sad,” and “Mixed Emotions.”

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8. It’s Only Rock & Roll

 It’s Only Rock & Roll was 2nd guitarist Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones before Ronnie Wood replaced him. Wood played 12 string guitar and contributed background vocals on some of the songs as well as being involved in co-writing the album’s title song. He willingly relinquished all credit for “It’s only rock & roll in exchange for Mick Jagger agreeing to appear on Wood’s upcoming solo album, which he did.

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7. Aftermath

In April 1966, Aftermath was released and critics called it an artistic success. The US version of the album led off with “Paint It Black” which became their 3rd #1 hit in the USA. Brian Jones began experimenting with a variety of instruments on the album including a sitar on “Paint It Black” and a dulcimer on “Lady Jane.”

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6. Their Satanic Majesties Request

When the album was released in December 1967 the immediate reaction was that they were copying the Beatles direction again. The album was without question influenced by Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band which was released just 7 months earlier. The original cover was a plastic flip image of the Rolling Stones dressed as medieval sorcerers and magicians as contrasted by the Beatles dressed as military musicians in front of 50 cardboard cutouts. The album itself was completely psychedelic and was extremely popular with hippies.

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5. Blue and Lonesome

Blue and Lonesome is the “Rolling Stones” 25th US album and was released in 2016. It’s the band’s most recent release and is comprised of 100% blues standard covers that are as old as the Stones. The album was welcome and praised by both critics and fans because of the fact that the band began as a blues band and its most popular work is blues based. The album is a tribute to blues legends that contributed to Chicago blues in the 1950s and 1960s. It features covers by everyone from the artist that inspired their name, Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, and many others. The album was recorded in 3 days and reportedly resulted from “a warm up exercise for a postponed album of new material.” In 2018 it won a Grammy for “Best Traditional Blues Album.”

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4. Between the Buttons

The album was released in the USA in 1967 and the result was positive as “Ruby Tuesday” became the “Rolling Stones” 4th #1 hit in America. “Let’s Spend the Night Together” had sexually offensive references for that period of time in America which accounted for its lack of popularity. Ed Sullivan asked the band to change the lyrics for their appearance on his show and they did but rolled their eyes while doing it. When the band finally played in mainland China for the first time in 2006 the government placed the same moral restrictions on them that the US did nearly 60 years earlier.

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3. Out of Our Heads

Out of Our Heads was released in the Summer of 1965. It contained hits like “The Last Time” which was a variation on a gospel standard along with “Satisfaction,” which became their first #1 US hit, and “Play With Fire.”

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2. Let It Bleed

Let It Bleed is the 10th studio album and was released on December 5, 1969 the day before the disastrous Altamont Festival that ended the reignited idealism of the 1960s for good. The album was a mirror image of the times with founding member Brian Jones being fired and replaced by Mick Taylor. The opening cut was the apocalyptic “Gimme Shelter” as they acted as prophets for their generation.

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1. Beggars Banquet

Every single song on Beggars Banquet, which was released in 1968 was a great song from “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Parachute Woman” to “Street Fighting Man” and “Salt of the Earth.” The film titled the “Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus” documents that time period. It was a period that augmented the dark side of the bad boys of rock and roll because of their alleged involvement with the occult.

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Bob Gersztyn

As a teenager in Detroit, Michigan during the early 1960’s Bob Gersztyn saw many Motown and other R&B artists including Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. After his discharge from the army in 1968 he attended school on the GI Bill and spent the next 3 years attending concerts and festivals weekly. It was the seminal period in Detroit rock & roll that Bob witnessed spawning the MC5 and Stooges along with shows featuring everyone from Jimi Hendrix and the “Doors” to B. B. King and John Lee Hooker. In 1971 He moved to Los Angeles, California to finish his schooling where he became an inner city pastor promoting and hosting gospel concerts. He moved to Oregon in 1982 and began photographing and reviewing concerts for music publications. Since that time he has published myriads of photographs, articles, interviews, and contributed to 2 encyclopedias and published 6 books on everything from music to the military. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Bob%20Gersztyn His rock & roll photo art is available for sale on Etsy @: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ConcertPhotoImages?ref=seller-platform-mcnav Bob may be contacted personally at bobgersztyn@gmail.com

16 thoughts on “Top 10 Rolling Stones Albums

  • October 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm
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    Have you not heard Exile on Main Street? Sticky fingers? The Stones 2 greatest albums and you’ve not even got them in the top 10 😂😂😂

    Reply
  • October 7, 2021 at 3:27 pm
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    Exile, Sticky, Stripped, Babylon missed, Who made this list? Fast correction needed.

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  • October 7, 2021 at 7:39 pm
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    Steel Wheel’s…really?? If you were a hermit for the last 40 years and never heard of the Stones then looked at this list first you would be greatly misled with the inclusion of this album among the top 10 Rolling Stones releases.

    Even in a generic search ranking their albums best to worst you would be hard pressed to find anywhere it is in the top 20 and on most it ranks below Undercover, one of the most universally panned albums they made.

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  • October 7, 2021 at 8:32 pm
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    The author obviously knows nothing about the Stones. What an embarrassing article.

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  • October 8, 2021 at 4:03 am
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    Exile#1
    Stiky#2
    Thats it…

    Reply
  • October 8, 2021 at 8:01 am
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    The only reasonable explanation to this mess of an article would be if some intern edited the original title of the list, wich was supposed to be “Top 10 Stones albums not counting Exile and Sticky Fingers”.

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  • October 8, 2021 at 10:56 am
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    This is the worst list I’ve ever seen. This had to be made by someone who has never listened to any stones albums. Yikes

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  • October 8, 2021 at 6:57 pm
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    Honestly, so many great Stones albums – different styles, different times; but still good, like Tattoo, Exile, Black n Blue, Emotional, Undercover and so many more. Take the time and give a listen. 🙂

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  • October 8, 2021 at 6:59 pm
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    I agree to all that misses the 2 best R&R albums Stones ever made, Sticky fingers and exile on main Street. The above list must be revised at once!

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  • October 9, 2021 at 12:56 am
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    If you’re a stones fan don’t forget Decembers Children More Hot Rocks and High Tide and Green Grass I have London label bought when the first come out in the sixty’s they are the greatest rock and roll band ever

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  • October 9, 2021 at 3:16 am
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    Normal. It’s a blues rock review
    I appreciate the list.
    Today is nice to get new taste of the Rolling Stones sound. Yeah Exile and Fingers are everywhere, but not ignore the value of the listed albums please, as well for me for example A BIGGER BANG is a fresh master piece, if you look to the new hard sound there, and the strong drumming of Charlie Watts connected with the words put on the music as never.

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  • October 9, 2021 at 9:47 am
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    3 important albums you’ve missed by the Stones.
    1. The Rolling Stones
    2. Sticky Fingers
    3. Exile on main street

    Reply
  • October 9, 2021 at 9:48 am
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    3 important albums you’ve missed by the Stones.
    1. The Rolling Stones
    2. Sticky Fingers
    3. Exile on main street

    Reply
  • October 11, 2021 at 8:21 am
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    What an embarrassing list. “ Steel Wheels” is better that “ Sticky Fingers” and “ Exile” ? Has this reviewer even listened to the Stones? Worst “ Best Of” list I have ever seen. I love “ Goat’s Head Soup”, but apparently “ Blue and Lonesome” is better rated? WTF indeed.

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  • October 11, 2021 at 2:21 pm
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    The guy who wrote that list should be fired.
    When dealing with blues rock, how can you ignore Exile on main street and Sticky Fingers ?
    Ridiculous. Leave articles on Stones to somebody who knows them

    Reply
  • November 6, 2021 at 1:42 pm
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    Unbelievable! You include so-so albums like “Satanic Majesties” and “Steel Wheels” while omitting the almost universally celebrated classics like “Sticky Fingers” and “Exile on Main Street” from the apex of The Rolling Stones timeline. Even the live album “Get Your Ya Ya’s Out” from 1970 should rank ahead of many of those listed.

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