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 combined with the reliable rhythm section of Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman—they created some truly 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 60s. Some Girls and the amazing rescue operation that resulted in Tattoo You served to remind us just how good they were in their prime.
Here are the albums I’ve reviewed: