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YMMV / The Rolling Stones

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The band

  • Archive Panic: As their Web page says: "92 singles, 29 studio albums, 10 live albums and more songs than you can count."
    • And now they're starting to roll out previously bootleg-only material (such as the legendary 1973 Brussels show) via their Rolling Stones Archive site.
  • Broken Base: Their Satanic Majesties Request, either an underrated psychedelic masterpiece or a poor Sgt. Pepper knockoff.
    • Brian Jones vs Mick Taylor
      • or Mick Taylor vs Ronnie Wood
    • Who is the heart of the band, Jagger or Richards?
  • Chorus-Only Song: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" does have other words...
    • Shockingly enough, so does the seven-and-a-half-minute-long "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
  • Complete Monster: Beggars Banquet's "Sympathy for the Devil": The Devil himself initiates the song by fondly reminiscing on the many crimes he had committed on mankind such as compelling Pontius Pilate into sentencing Jesus to death; orchestrating the October Revolution and the execution of the Romanov family; pitting warring monarchs against each other to his amusement; and relishing in the stench of the rotten bodies left behind in the aftermath. Throughout the song, while the Devil tries to convey himself as a "Man of Wealth and Taste", his thinly veiled threats to damn the souls of anyone who disrespects him exposes the unbridled monster he truly is.
  • Covered Up: Some of their early hits count. "Not Fade Away" is debatable, with Buddy Holly's enduring popularity, but "It's All Over Now" (originally by The Valentinos, featuring a young Bobby Womack) and "Time is on My Side" (based on the Irma Thomas version, but in fact originally a semi-instrumental by jazz artist Kai Winding) are definitely better known as Stones songs.
    • "Harlem Shuffle", originally a Bob & Earl song from 1964 and covered by the Stones for Dirty Work in 1986, definitely fits here as well. It sounds so prototypically Stones that few even knew it was a cover before the days of the internet.
    • A slightly more complicated example would be "As Tears Go By" and "Wild Horses" (Sticky Fingers). Jagger and Richards wrote those songs, and the Stones' versions are definitive, but in both cases they were preceded by cover versions - they donated "Tears" to Marianne Faithfull before recording it themselves, while Gram Parsons convinced them to let his band The Flying Burrito Brothers cover the already-recorded "Wild Horses", and their version was released a year before the Stones' own.
    • Happened to one of their own songs. "I'm Free" is probably better remembered for the cover by the Soup Dragons. Thanks in part due to The World's End soundtrack.
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    • Zig-zagged all over the place with "Out of Time". They first recorded and released it on the UK version of Aftermath in 1966. A few months after that, Jagger produced a cover by English singer Chris Farlowe that was a #1 hit in the UK (and got some scattered Top 40 radio play in America). Then on the 1975 rarities album Metamorphosis, there was a version that took the Chris Farlowe backing track and replaced his vocal with a Jagger vocal. That version was released as a single and became a moderate hit, and seemingly eclipsed the other versions. Then the Aftermath version was featured in the opening of Coming Home and benefitted from Revival by Commercialization. But several decades later, the Metamorphosis version was included in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, suddenly raising its profile again.
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  • Crowning Music of Awesome: They weren't called "The World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" for nothing. In particular, the four-album streak of Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. is a staple of any respectable "greatest rock albums of all time" or "greatest albums of The '60s/The '70s" list, and Aftermath, Between the Buttons, and Some Girls frequently make such lists as well. They were also one of the world's best singles acts for quite some time; the three-CD box set Singles Collection: The London Years has a bountiful supply of Awesome Music, while you can't go wrong with any of the tracks on the band's best-known hits collection Forty Licks either. In conclusion, have fun with the Archive Panic!
  • Epic Riff: "Satisfaction", "The Last Time", "Get Off of My Cloud", "19th Nervous Breakdown", "Paint It, Black", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Brown Sugar", "Street Fightin' Man", "Sympathy for the Devil", "Gimme Shelter", "Rocks Off", "Tumblin' Dice", "All Down the Line", "Beast of Burden", "Shattered", "Start Me Up", "One Hit (To The Body)", "Mixed Emotions", "Can't You Hear Me Knockin", "Bitch"...
    • The "Satisfaction" epic riff came about when Keith Richards stumbled out of a hotel bed, recorded the riff, and promptly fell back asleep (the recording is two minutes of riff and forty minutes of snoring!). That's right kids, Keith came up with an epic riff in his sleep!
      • Keith Richards has said that if he were only allowed to play one riff for the rest of his life, he'd pick "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Keith Richards. Charlie Watts, to a certain extent.
    • Sixth Stone Ian Stewart. Despite being demoted early in the band's career, he is universally beloved by both band and fans.
    • Among sidemen, Bobby Keys and Nicky Hopkins.
  • Face of the Band: Mick Jagger, and in The '60s, Brian Jones. After Jones's death, it became Mick and Keith Richards from The '70s onwards.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Their Satanic Majesties Request and to a lesser extent Between the Buttons are considered an aberration by some fans.
    • The mid-70s albums are also considered this by some.
      • As is the post-Tattoo You albums to varying degrees.
    • That said, almost nobody wants to acknowledge Dirty Work.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During the recording of "Gimme Shelter", guest vocalist Merry Clayton hit some very high notes, and broke her voice during the bridge. She shortly after had a miscarriage, due to the stress that she put on her body during the recording. It probably wasn't very wise for the Stones to have named the album it is listed on as Let It Bleed.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: They're a subculture in Argentina: "rolingas", heavily based in worker and lower classes, with its own fashion and musical genre, which they themselves never wore. When they were playing a few arenas by city in the mid nineties, they'd play to about 70,000 people each night.
  • Growing the Beard: Aftermath, the first album solely written by Jagger and Richards. Beggars Banquet is sometimes considered to have done this a second time, as it launched a four-album streak that is now widely regarded as one of the strongest series of releases in rock and roll history.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Gimme Shelter" from Let It Bleed took on a whole new meaning after Altamont.
    • "Mother's Little Helper" as well, if only because of the rise of Oxycodone and addictions to prescription pain medications and doctor shopping.
    • "Paint It, Black" — a song about the depression that follows the death of the singer's girlfriend — became this after the suicide of Mick's girlfriend, L'Wren Scott, in 2014.
    • "Sympathy For The Devil" — by the 2000s, the line "Anastasia screamed in vain" is all the more cutting after it Anastasia's body was finally founded, meaning that despite all the women who tried to claim her identity, the poor girl (or anyone of the Romanovs) did not survive.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In a 1970 interview, Mick Jagger was quoted as saying, "I'd rather be dead than singing 'Satisfaction' when I'm forty-five." Sir Mick, now in his seventies, continues to perform the song at every concert the Stones give.
    • In "Street Fighting Man", Mick Jagger sings "Summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street", a play on a similar line in the Martha & The Vandellas song "Dancing In The Street" ("Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street."). Mick later sang the original song as a duet with David Bowie in 1985.
  • Magnificent Bastard In "Sympathy for the Devil" from Beggars Banquet, the Devil is the suave, manipulative protagonist of the song. His existence being to tempt mankind into evil, the Devil lavishly orchestrates several events in human history towards this dark end from: arranging Jesus's crucifixion; dismantling the Romanov family dynasty in Soviet Russia; and pitting monarchs into warring each other. Despite him freely admitting his monstrousness, the Devil balances this by establishing himself as a sophisticated Man of Wealth and Taste who criticizes society's blurring of the line between good and evil, making it apparent that he and humanity were one and the same.
  • Memetic Badass: Keith Richards should have died of a drug overdose decades ago. He is immortal.
    • Multiple times it has been suggested (one of them by Bill Hicks) that if nuclear apocalypse happens, all that will be left are a handful of cockroaches and Keith Richards.
    • And then there was this New Rule from Real Time with Bill Maher:
    "New Rule: Airplane black boxes must be made out of Keith Richards. The Man who has done more drugs than Courtney Love, Robert Downey Jr., and Rush Limbaugh combined recently fell out of a tree and crashed a jetski. And yet, that cigarette never fell from his lips. Something tells me the future of medical science isn't injecting stem cells, it's injecting heroin."
    • One suspected reason for his survival is that he has a very rare genetic mutation that renders him largely immune to the negative side effects of those drugs. Richards himself also notes in his autobiography that he always took special care to avoid increasing his dosage, which many drug users do not avoid doing and which is a sure way to increase one's risk of overdose (though it's still a risk even if one does exercise that much self-control, since the consistency of drugs can vary and thus it's not possible to be certain how much, or for that matter even what, one is taking). To be fair, his genetic mutation also may be one reason he was even able to exercise that much self-control in the first place.
  • Memetic Mutation: Thanks to his sightings in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mick Jagger has now become a harbinger of bad luck for any team he decides to cheer on, like the English Team, for example. Even though he's not to blame that that English team had such a low technical level.
  • Seasonal Rot: Some fans say they haven't been good for a long time. The most frequently cited "last good/great album" is Tattoo You, while many listeners and critics cite Some Girls as the band's last genuine masterpiece.
  • Signature Song: Many, but "Satisfaction" and "Paint It Black" are likely the most well known.
  • Sophomore Slump: They had this on both sides of the Atlantic with The Rolling Stones No. 2 in Britain and 12x5 in the US. Though both albums are pretty good, they basically follow the format of their debut album, mostly comprising covers of songs over original material.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The album artwork of Let It Bleed.
  • Values Dissonance: A lot of their songs come across as misogynistic to modern audiences. Some of them may be somewhat Fair for Their Day, others (especially "Brown Sugar") less so.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Their Satanic Majesties Request. Mick Jagger has admitted that the band was on acid throughout the entire recording of the album. Keith Richards claims he has no memory of the sessions at all.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Justified with 1978's Some Girls. Music critics had written off the Rolling Stones as outdated with the emergence of Punk Rock and disco, but the Stones thought otherwise with Some Girls - which proved popular with critics and listeners alike. It helped that Mick Jagger was a keen follower of the punk and disco scenes in New York and London. The fact a lot of punks grew up listening to the Stones doesn't hurt either.
  • Woolseyism: The American versions of their early albums are considered superior to the British ones for their tendency to include otherwise non-album singles.


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