Except for one unfortunate detour into acid land, The Stones compiled a very impressive catalog from 1965 to 1971. After surviving as an R&B cover band for a couple of years, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards discovered they could write songs, too, and many of their best songs not only rocked but featured incisive lyrics full of perceptive social criticism. When they stayed close to their R&B roots and played to their strengths—lyrics with anti-conformity attitude and the great rhythm section of Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman—they captured the essence of great rock ‘n’ roll.
Then they became a stadium band and fucked it all up. Their music became more about marketing than substance, producing predictable music fully consistent with their brand. The Stones shouldered on as rock celebrities, capitalizing on name, reputation and the Baby Boomers’ ravenous appetite for reliving the 60’s.
As ridiculous as they seem to many in my generation, you can’t take away what they did accomplish in their heyday. Here are the albums I’ve reviewed: