The Rolling Stones’ 40 best songs

An all-star cast pick the greatest cuts from Jagger, Richards and co

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Single from Tattoo You album, 1981

BOB HARRIS: It’s such a great record and I have a sentimental attachment to it because it was the first record I ever played on Radio 2. I thought, “We’ll set the stall out with this one.” It was symbolic, with that great riff to set us up and say, “Right, we’re in business.”


Single from Tattoo You album, 1981

JOE PERNICE: For completely nostalgic reasons. It was one of the first songs I ever learnt to play in a medley, along with Roddy Frame’s version of “Jump”. The chords, at least to my ears, are alarmingly similar.
SCOTT KANNBERG: It’s just a great confessional song that the Stones are pretty good at doing, I just love it. It’s got a weird sound to it. The video is one of my favourite videos of all time; it’s like they stand out in the yard looking really weird and wasted. The song is intimate and honest. I don’t really remember it as a kid. I discovered the Stones when I was 18 or 20 years old, and started to listen to all their records. I got into all their important records, and it was a song that really got to me. It’s also massively underrated and it’s easy to forget how many great songs they’ve written.
IAN ASTBURY: It captures being in a band and the intense friendships within that. This song lets you into their world.
NICK JOHNSTONE: Both the song and the great accompanying video capture that
laid-back Stones vibe perfectly. The melancholic lyric, the impossibly cool music, the camaraderie in the video: it’s the ultimate document of the classic Stones line-up, in particular the bond between Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. There are plenty of Stones fans who swear by the Brian Jones era, a minority who favour the Mick Taylor era – but, for me, the Richards-Wood double act is what The Rolling Stones are all about. It’s a great song about friendship between men. And over the years, I’ve often turned to it in times of crisis as a friend in itself.
ED HAMELL: In the end, this is what it all comes down to.

Exile On Main Street album track, 1972

JOHNNY MARR: By the time I got into Exile On Main Street, I’d already decided the Stones were the greatest band there’d ever been. It took me a few listens because of all the brass, but when I started getting into it from a groove and rhythm guitar point of view, I understood what they were doing. It’s another archetypal Keith riff, and I just love the R&B aspects of it.


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