6. Gimme Shelter (Let It Bleed, 1969)
A song that feels dangerous and frightening, emblematic of a slew of Stones tunes published around the same time. Merry Clayton does a terrific job sharing the mic with Mick Jagger, and when he was at his prime that was not an easy thing to do. Merry made a lot of other famous songs great, too: She was a Ray Charles Raelette, and sang on songs like Sweet Home Alabama and Rock Creek Park. She was pregnant when she sang this song, and miscarried on the way home—perhaps part of the inspiration for the album title?
5. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Single, 1968)
One of the bands’ best known, most-covered hits, with some of Keith Richards’ finest guitar work. It was also the name of a Whoopi Goldberg movie. The movie wasn’t so great, but there was a funny scene where she tries to figure out the lyrics to this song. Nobody can understand Mick Jagger.
4. Street Fighting Man (Beggar’s Banquet, 1968)
Here’s why Beggar’s is an awesome album: The first song on side one is Sympathy for the Devil, and the first song on side two is Street Fighting Man. With so much front-loaded anarchy, there was simply no way you wouldn’t listen all the way through to the end.
Unlike Sympathy, which starts with bongo drums and screaming, SFM starts slow—acoustic—before turning into a full-fledged riot.
COME BACK TOMORROW AND WE’LL FINISH THE COUNTDOWN!