Top 10: Greatest Rolling Stones Lyrics

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February 21, 2013 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

10) Song: Pass the Wine

Album: Exile on Main Street: Deluxe Edition

Lyric: “I’m glad to be alive and kicking, I’m glad to hear my heart’s still ticking, so pass me the wine baby, and let’s make some love”

Rationale: If I had to sum what the essence of what their music was about, using a lyric from one of their own songs, it would no doubt be this one.

9) Song: Some Girls

Album: Some Girls

Lyric: “Some girls give me diamonds, some girls, heart attacks, some girls I give all my bread to, I don’t ever get it back”

Rationale: When asked what the focal point of most Rolling Stones songs were, Keith Richards responded “Women”.  On “Some Girls” this was never clearer or better.

8) Song: Tumbling Dice

Album: Exile on Main Street

Lyric: “But baby I can’t stay, you got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice”

Rationale: The best line, on the best song, on what is considered to be their best album, is obviously going to be on this list.

7) Song: Waiting on a Friend

Album: Tattoo You

Lyrics: “But I need someone I can cry to, I need someone to protect, making love and breaking hearts, it is a game for youth, but I’m not waiting for a lady, I’m just waiting for a friend”

Rationale: Essentially a love letter to Keith Richards, it’s refreshing to see Mick Jagger, someone who’s so preoccupied with lust, and having sex with anything with two legs that says “yes”, be willing to put all that on hold just to hang out with his friend.  Whether it’s true or not is a whole other story.

6) Song: Let It Bleed

Album: Let It Bleed

Lyric: “Yeah, we all need someone we can bleed on yeah, and if you want it, baby, well you can bleed on me yeah, we all need someone we can bleed on, and if you want it, baby, why don’cha bleed on me all over”

Rationale: It’s dirty; it’s filthy; and it’s rife with sexual innuendo and imagery.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5) Song: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Album: Let It Bleed

Lyric: “I saw her today at the reception, in her glass was a bleeding man, she was practiced at the art of deception, well I could tell by her blood-stained hands”

Rationale: The syntax of the lyric just make for a powerful imagery of a woman who manipulate and control men.  What sticks out the most, is being practiced at deception and her blood stained hands.  Very vivid imagery.

4) Song: Shattered

Album: Some Girls

Lyric: “Love and hope and sex and dreams are still surviving on the streets, and look at me, I’m in tatters, I’m a shattered”

Rationale: It was really difficult for me not to put the entire song up on this countdown, but I had to employ some semblance of self-control.  Seriously though, what better way to describe Manhattan?

3) Song: Beast of Burden

Album: Some Girls

Lyric: “There’s one thing baby I don’t understand, you keep on telling me I ain’t your kind of man, ain’t I rough enough, ain’t I tough enough, ain’t I rich enough, in love enough”

Rationale: As far as I’m concerned this is the ultimate in unrequited love.  There’s this sense of what do I have to do in order for this other person to reciprocate, maybe if I was more this or that.  But “Beast of Burden” perfectly conveys that feeling in a way that no one really expected from the band.

2) Song: Shine a Light

Album: Exile on Main Street

Lyric: “When you’re drunk in the alley, baby, with your clothes all torn, and your late night friends leave you in the cold gray dawn, just seemed too many flies on you, I just can’t brush them off”

Rationale: Concern and care is a side that we really never see from Jagger, and for him to voice such remorse and concern for what former guitarist Brian Jones had become, a suicidal alcoholic, showed a tremendous amount of maturity for the band during their “bad boy” years.  It not only deals with the hopelessness of the predicament, but also the phoniness of people who ditch him when he needs them the most.

1) Song: 100 Years Ago

Album: Goats Head Soup

Lyric: “Mary and I, we would sit up on the gate, just gazing at some dragon in the sky, what tender days, we had no secrets hid away, well it seemed about a hundred years ago”

Rationale: The fact that he refers to Marianne Faithful, his onetime girlfriend in this song, is amazing.  He’s not only comparing himself, but her as well and how stardom has changed the both of them.  The song, and this line especially shows a more vulnerable and innocent side of Jagger that we don’t really see at all.  It’s as if he’s commenting that all the fame and success has brought him so far away from his past, from himself, that times were much simpler, and pleasant.  But, those days are distant memories that won’t ever return.

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