If push came to shove I would have to say that my favourite band of all time are The Rolling Stones. Actually there is no need for pushing, shoving or indeed poking, they have been my favourite band since the age of about thirteen. The first album I bought of theirs was a truly excellent double cassette compilation entitled Rolled Gold which covered the band’s output during their time signed to Decca. As well as containing all the classic hit singles from that period there were also a few album tracks to entice someone like myself to start collecting the back catalogue. This I quickly did and soon had many Stones albums on vinyl and latterly cd.

In my view, the last great album the Stones released was Goats Head Soup in 1973. I’m well aware there are many who would disagree with this and sight in particular the 1978 release Some Girls as their last true crowning glory. While I don’t think it’s a bad album, it just doesn’t resonate with me as much as it does with some others and when compared to Beggers Banquet or Sticky Fingers, really doesn’t compete. I must add though that I think there are also some great tracks on both 1974’s It’s Only Rock N’ Roll and 1976’s Black And Blue.

My favourite Stones eras are the same as the majority of fans and they can be put as simply as ‘The Brian Jones and Mick Taylor years’. I could easily eulogise about the band in these time periods for a good few pages but I’ll try to keep things concise. They really have been my constant musical companion since I seriously got into music in my early teens. Of course there are many other bands and albums I love and which mean a great deal to me but I suppose many of us have an artist that occupies that special bracket. An artist who remains a constant source of gratification, exhilaration and inspiration . For some it could be The Beatles, Dylan or Bowie . For me it’s always been The Rolling Stones.

Over the years I have been asked on numerous occasions what I thought to be the best starting point for those who want to get in to the band. Although there are several Stones compilations readily available to buy in shops and online, some are better than others and I would always advise on acquiring the newly re-packaged version of Rolled Gold as a first purchase. It really is the best starting point and has a few more tracks than could be found on my original double cassette.  For those like me however who have much of the back catalogue (by this I mean absolutely everything released up until 1981 and then a select few from after that year) the prospect of a Stones compilation doesn’t really excite anymore. As a result I have compiled my own which while catered to the purist, still contains a vast array of absorbing and varied songs.

I did put a few stipulations on myself when choosing the tracks. Firstly, there would be none of the obvious big hit singles included on the list such as Paint It Black, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction or Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Secondly, there would be no live tracks, just studio recordings. Annoyingly, this discounts the sublime Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out but one must adhere to one’s own self imposed restrictions. Thirdly, the tracks chosen are those not to be found on compilations readily available to buy, so again rather annoyingly there is no space for the blistering Stevie Wonder cover I Don’t Know Why found on Metamorphosis. There are a few songs contained on my playlist which did crop up on some hastily released compilations by Decca in the seventies in an attempt to make as much money out of the bands back catalogue as possible. Some of these albums such as Stone Age and Solid Rock can still be found in some second hand record shops or at record fairs but have never been re-released on cd. I actually owned Solid Rock on cassette and it served me well around mid-1991 having bought it at Ingliston Sunday Market in Edinburgh but I digress. Lastly, I have concentrated my picks on the eras I’m most fond of.

So, purely for fun, here is my alternative Rolling Stones compilation available in literally no shops. For good measure, I have listed my top ten Rolling Stones albums as well. Again restrictions apply with no compilations on the list apart from one aforementioned live album due to it being so indispensable.

The Alternative Rolling Stones Compilation

1.Little By Little from The Rolling Stones(1964)

2.I’m A King Bee from The Rolling Stones (1964)

3.Off The Hook from The Rolling Stones No. 2 (1965)

4.Blue Turns To Grey from Decembers Children (And Everybody’s) (1965)

5.I Am Waiting from Aftermath (1966)

6.What To Do from Aftermath (1966)

7.Connection from Between The Buttons (1967)

8.All Sold Out from Between The Buttons (1967)

9.Something Happened To Me Yesterday from Between The Buttons (1967)

10.Citadel from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

11.2000 Man from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

12.Parachute Woman from Beggers Banquet (1968)

13.Jig Saw Puzzle from Beggers Banquet (1968)

14.You Got The Silver from Let It Bleed (1969)

15.Monkey Man from Let It Bleed (1969)

16.Sway from Sticky Fingers (1971)

17.Sister Morphine from Sticky Fingers (1971)

18.Moonlight Mile from Sticky Fingers (1971)

19.Sweet Black Angel from Exile On Main Street (1972)

20.Loving Cup from Exile On Main Street (1972)

21.Soul Survivor from Exile On Main Street (1972)

22.100 Years Ago from Goats Head Soup (1973)

23.Winter  from Goats Head Soup (1973)

24.Time Waits For No One from It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

25.Fingerprint File from It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

26.Hand Of Fate from Black And Blue (1976)

27.Hey Negrita from Black And Blue (1976)

28.When the Whip Comes Down from Some Girls (1978)

29.Waiting On A Friend from Tattoo You (1981)

30.Out Of Tears from Voodoo Lounge (1994)

My Top Ten Rolling Stones Albums

1. Sticky Fingers (1971)

2. Beggers Banquet (1968)

3. Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out (1970)

4. Let It Bleed (1969)

5. Exile On Main Street (1972)

6. Goats Head Soup (1973)

7. Between The Buttons (1967)

8. Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

9. Aftermath (1966)

10.The Rolling Stones (1964)

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