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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." They later released previously bootleg-only material (such as the legendary 1973 Brussels show) via their Rolling Stones Archive site on top of what's listed on the main website.
  • Awesome Music: 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. (It's also not uncommon to hear the aforementioned four-album streak cited as the single greatest four-album streak in the history of rock and roll, if not all of recorded music.) 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!
  • Broken Base:
  • Chorus-Only Song:
    • "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" does have words other than what's in the title, but they're often overlooked.
    • The seven-and-a-half-minute-long "You Can't Always Get What You Want" has words other than those in the title, but listeners often overlook that.
  • Covered Up:
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    • "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.
      • A similar case with "Sister Morphine", which Jagger and Richards co-wrote with Faithfull. Her version was released first, in 1969, but its exposure was limited by Decca Records pulling the single in the UK after only some 500 copies had been printed (it did remain in print in other countries). The Stones' version, released on Sticky Fingers in 1971, is now by far better known. Since they co-wrote it with Faithfull, and Faithfull released her version first, it's in a sort of weird grey area between being a cover and being a self-cover.
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    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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: Their fans have a rivalry with fans of The Beatles.
  • Fan Nickname: Keith Richards became "Keef", due to his accent. And the band as a whole are commonly known as simply "The Stones".
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
  • Genius Bonus: Don't let the band's image fool you; Jagger is quite well-read and intelligent (he attended the prestigious London School of Economics before joining the band, although he didn't graduate at the time), and this often seeps into his lyrics. A few examples:
    • The Protest Song themes of "Sweet Black Angel" are written in a way that only listeners familiar with Angela Davis' case would pick up on the references to her.
    • "Sympathy for the Devil" is inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita and the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.
    • The Word Salad Lyrics to "Casino Boogie" were created using a "cut-up" technique favoured by William S. Burroughs; Jagger cut up phrases and had the band members select them at random to create the order used in the song.
    • "Street Fighting Man" was inspired by an antiwar rally Jagger attended where he saw the British activist Tariq Ali speak; Jagger saw the police attempt to subdue the crowd of some 25,000, and the ensuing violence was a major inspiration for the song.
  • 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, is considered one of the band's most significant albums in terms of quality.
    • Beggars Banquet is sometimes considered to have been an improvement over the band's previous work, 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:
    • 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, probably 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.
      • "Gimme Shelter" 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" was all the more cutting thanks to Anastasia's body being found and identified via DNA testing, meaning that in spite of all the women who tried to claim her identity, the question of Did Anastasia Survive? can sadly be answered with an emphatic "no".
  • 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.
    • In "2000 Man", Mick sings "I am having an affair with the random computer." has gotten funnier in light of the rise of online dating.
    • In a MAD article from the early '90s, titled "You Know You're Too Old to Rock & Roll When...", one panel has Mick looking disapprovingly at a singing apple, with the caption: "A song that once got you banned in six states is now being used to sell juice drinks". A few years later, Pepsi ran an ad using "Brown Sugar", which was extremely controversial back in the day (and has become so again in recent years, for different reasons).
  • Magnificent Bastard: Beggars Banquet's "Sympathy for the Devil": The Devil himself, representing the personification of humanity's collective evil, 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.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: In the 1960s, The Beatles won the charm and trust of parents, because they had a lovable image. But the Stones frightened them! They were basically the first band with a "bad boy" image. Riots broke out during their concerts, they wore their hair longer than the Beatles, and they were the first to be arrested for offenses like marijuana possession. For people who basically know them as a bunch of wrinkley-faced seniors, this may be hard to imagine.
  • Signature Song:
    • Many, but "Satisfaction" and "Paint It Black" are likely their two best-known songs overall. By album:
      • 12X5: "Time Is on My Side".
      • Out of Our Heads: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".
      • December's Children: "Get Off of My Cloud" and "As Tears Go By".
      • Aftermath: "Paint It Black", of course, although also "Under My Thumb" is well-known.
      • Between the Buttons: "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend the Night Together".
      • Their Satanic Majesties Requests: "She's a Rainbow".
      • Beggars Banquet: "Sympathy for the Devil", although also "Street Fighting Man" is well-known.
      • Let It Bleed: "Gimme Shelter", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Honky Tonk Women" (although it's there in a different version called "Country Honk").
      • Sticky Fingers: "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses".
      • Exile on Main St.: "Tumbling Dice".
      • Goats Head Soup: "Angie".
      • It's Only Rock'n'Roll: The Title Track.
      • Black and Blue: "Fool to Cry".
      • Some Girls: "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden".
      • Emotional Rescue: The Title Track and "She's So Cold".
      • Tattoo You: "Start Me Up" and "Waiting on a Friend".
      • Singles: "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
    • Later albums generally have no track which is really outstanding in popularity. However:
      • Undercover: "Undercover of the Night".
      • Dirty Work: "Harlem Shuffle".
      • Steel Wheels: "Mixed Emotions" or "Rock and a Hard Place".
      • Voodoo Lounge: "Love Is Strong" or "You Got Me Rocking".
      • Stripped: Their cover of Bob Dylan's Signature Song, "Like a Rolling Stone".
      • Bridges to Babylon: "Anybody Seen My Baby", which is an exception since, while generally not considered among their timeless classics, is very well received by average audiences for its catchy Funk Rock style.
      • Forty Licks: "Don't Stop".
      • A Bigger Bang: "Streets of Love".
      • GRRR: "Doom and Gloom".
      • Blue & Lonesome: "Just Your Fool", "Ride 'Em on Down" or "Hate to See You Go".
      • Honk: The digital bonus track "Living in a Ghost Town".
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: An inadvertent example; Jagger and Richards themselves admitted that they'd subconsciously lifted the chorus from k.d. lang's 1992 hit "Constant Craving" for their own song "Anybody Seen My Baby?" without realising it. Neither of them even had any idea where they'd have heard lang's song before until they played "Anybody Seen My Baby?" for Richards' daughter Angela and one of her friends, "and they start singing this totally different song over it," which was "Constant Craving". When Richards realised he'd been overhearing his daughter listening to the song, they immediately gave lang and her co-writer Ben Mink credit. For her part, lang was "completely honored and flattered" to receive the credit.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: "She's a Rainbow" is one of their most uplifting and beautiful songs. "She comes in colors everywhere..."
  • 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.
    • Branching off into psychedelia in 1967 for Their Satanic Majesties Request can also be seen as an early example of this.
    • Their 1997 album Bridges to Babylon is riddled with electronica textures.
  • 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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