THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time, one song per artist. Want more? Go to the G.O.A.T. Page for all the GOATs so far!
I’m posting my 40 favorite Rolling Stones songs, complete with covers, all under the tag “Rolling Stones GOATs.” If you hit that tag, at the bottom of each post, you’ll be able to see all my picks.
25. Under My Thumb (Aftermath, 1966)
The Aftermath album had some really good songs: Out of Time, Mother’s Little Helper, Paint it Black (U.S. release only), and this one. It’s otherwise forgettable, except for “Stupid Girl,” another sexist and gender-abusive cut. It’s remarkable that in the late 1960s, a time of unprecendented liberalism where women’s rights were in the forefront, a rock-and-roll band would come out with what was basically a conservative mega-hit, resistant to all the social change around them. This was also the song the band was playing when Meredith Hunter was killed by the Hells Angels at Altamount.
24. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow? (Single, 1966)
This might have been the first time The Rolling Stones appeared in drag—on the dust-jacket for the 45 of this song. It was also the first Stones song to include horns. It was one of their more complex early singles, with a very heavy blues arrangement.
23. Start Me Up (Tattoo You, 1981)
There is no reason Tattoo You should have been a good record. None of it was new—the whole thing was outtakes from several years of recording sessions. And some were from the Black and Blue album, probably the worst of all the 1970s Stones albums. And yet, Tattoo You had many good songs on it, including this one, which became one of the band’s biggest hits. Originally recorded for Some Girls, it’s straight-up rock and roll raunch, complete with the famous lyric: “You make a dead man come.”
Come back tomorrow for the crudest Stones song of all time—and that’s saying something, especially after we just heard about dead people coming.