Why I don’t enjoy the Rolling Stones anymore

If I were to make a list of the top groups/performers during the critical 1964-1973 period, no doubt the Stones would make the top five handily, perhaps the top three.  They also belong to that select tier with more than six excellent and important albums.  They probably have created more great and memorable riffs than any other rock and roll group, ever.

So I don’t think I am unappreciative.  My favorite cuts are probably the acoustic country songs on “Beggars Banquet’ and “Let It Bleed,” plus the riff-based songs from the mid- to late-1960s, such as “Under My Thumb” or “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Still, I have not heard anything new in a Rolling Stones song for more than twenty years.  I don’t mean that their later work is worse (though it is, much, for forty plus years running), rather I don’t hear anything new in their very best work and thus repeated re-listening is a waste of time.  I don’t enjoy it.

In contrast, I’ve been listening to Jimi Hendrix for about forty years and still hear new bits in his songs most of the time.  I am almost always excited to hear this work again.

I have two other objections.  First, most (all?) of their blues covers are worse than the originals (the Beatles’ “Money” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and “Long Tall Sally” are all improvements, in contrast, not to mention John Lennon’s “Be Bop a Lula” or Hendrix’s “Hey Joe”).  Second, you don’t have to invoke political correctness to feel that a lot of the early misogyny has worn thin and aged poorly.

So the Stones are boring, mostly, though still excellent in the abstract.  It’s hard to imagine classic rock and roll, or the 1960s, without them.  But in terms of lasting overall aesthetic merit they are just a wee bit closer to The Who than you might like to think.



Agree. My favorite album to listen to is Stripped, which has a lot of the Let it Bleed material.

The influence of Bill Wyman was vastly under rated. The Stones have not had a significant hit since he left.

Larry, you are exactly right.

Man do I love me some overwrought intellectual masturbation... brav-O!

"So the Stones are boring, mostly": they always were, unless you were jumping about to them at a party. Dance music is for dancing to, not for philosophising about.

Those are almost street fighting words, but the Stones were always poseurs.

Spot on: as inauthentic as they come. Good dance music, though.

I suppose you, the ultimate MR keyboard warrior, would be impressed if they had actually engaged in fisticuffs or the like? No, I don't think so.

Popular music is not supposed to be timeless. If you are an old man who grew up in the 60's, these old bands are still important to you only because you grew up listening to them. Once your generation is gone, no one will think about the Rolling Stones. No one talks about Les Brown or Louis Armstrong because the people who grew up on that stuff are all dead now.

It's why it is a category error to call pop singers and actors "artists" or claim their work product is art. It is not art and they are not artists. They are performers and entertainers. They make us laugh or tap our toe, but are otherwise forgettable. A hundred years from now no one is going to be writing books on the art of Mick Jagger or NWA.

Tyler Cowen was born in 1962.

And? It's still the music he grew up listening to. Rolling Stones were still releasing top ten hits into the mid seventies. Your point would make sense if someone were to argue that Huey Lewis was the music someone born in 1985 grew up listening to because by the time they were of age to listen to music Huey Lewis was done making hits.

No one talks about Les Brown or Louis Armstrong because the people who grew up on that stuff are all dead now.

We get it. You're not a jazz enthusiast.

And neither are 99.999% of the population.

We get it. You're a relentless d-bag.

We listen to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald practically every week. Together, they're an improbable duo, raspy and silky smooth.

Trying to convince somebody that what you like is the best? That's been seen as futile for awhile - de gustbus, y'all.

Their "Can't we be Friends?" is just tr'ffic, isn't it?

Well aren't you a special little snowflake!

And here is why I never bother to look at comments anymore here. What a pile of boring, self-satistifed hackasses.

The highly popular bands from the 1960s are going to live on for a long time -- long after everybody who listened to it at the time is dead -- not because the music itself is immortally good but because of movies and TV. I am pretty certain that all this music will be periodically refreshed in the public consciousness by the soundtracks of movies and TV series set in the 1960s, which will continue to happen just as period music is used now for period films.

Assume that people want to listen to music. Assume that some music is better than other music. It is a huge leap given these, to say that some of the BEST music -- that has withstood the test of time -- was composed and performed between 1960 and 1990.

Another way of saying this is: the prevalence of Classic Rock stations isn't just due to Boomers but owes something to the merit of the music.

The classic rock, some stations play at least one, maybe more, Jim Morrison songs everyday, is the liturgical music of the mature secular society. It's not "Rock of Ages" anymore, it's "Light My Fire". Mumbling minstrels like Kurt Cobain, John Lennon and Morrison himself are latter-day prophets. Certainly, however, those that listen to their mediocre poetry will turn to dust as they have and they and their music will be mostly forgotten and ignored in favor of later generations.

In a Venn diagram, the circle "artists" and the circle "performers and entertainers" have a great deal of overlap.

Whoever you are that said that no one talks about Louis Armstrong couldn't be more wrong. If music is of value it does indeed live beyond the time it was created. That's one thing that makes it great.

You can't always get what you want (lasting overall aesthetic merit)
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need (positive valence)


It's only rock n' roll but Tyler doesn't like it anymore.

re: criticism of later/recent work. How many rock groups ever have written new quality material after the age of 40?

Dating myself here, since no earlier bands come immediately to mind. Radiohead and Wilco (not my cup of tea) are consistently putting out music that's considered exceptional and new. Thom Yorke is 49, and Jeff Tweedy is (I think) 48. A Moon Shaped Pool was voted album of the year by All Songs Considered listeners. Kanye is 39 and probably still has another decade at the top left in him (not rock but you get the gist).

I think the fall off probably comes closer to 50 or so, with very few groups or individuals making anything substantially ""new"" after that. The only real counter-point I can think of is Paul McCartney. (Unpopular opinion: Bowie and Cohen are overrated).

Christ, what a subjective topic this is.

Radiohead and Wilco, two very good picks, I missed those. I would give Radiohead the edge over Wilco in terms of the new material being both different as well as quality, but like you say it is all subjective. I think a pairing like Greenwood/Yorke is a real plus for bands seeking to keep doing good work, as the two have different interests and styles that keep prodding each other to excel (as in Paul and John).

And I bet there are many more obscure bands that would "win" in this category, but who fly below the radar. I mean, take The Fall for instance... some 30 studio albums since the mid-1970s, without the slightest compromise in their sound. Or more accurately, his sound.....

I saw Rush perform their Clockwork Angels tour in late 2012, and it was epic. The guys were close to 60 by then?

Oh, *playing*, sure, guys can keep going well after 50. But songwriting?

Clockwork Angels came out that same year (2012) and was probably their best work since Counterparts in 1993. So, it was written and composed in their late 50s. Compared to other bands of their starting era who were playing favorites on the casino circuit, Rush was selling out stadiums and arenas to tour a brand new album.

Their playing was of course, immaculate. ;)

To your point, two comments:

1. I wish I remember who said every rock group should be forced to disband once their members were older than the current US President.

2. I am not a big fan of Cher, but she has had a least one very big very-late-career hit with "Believe." Then again, she didn't write that. So probably disqualified. Morrissey arguably writes just as well now as when he started, but the slam on him might be that "It's always been the same one song." (At the risk of bringing down the wrath of millions, I would say the same of Bjork). Depending on whether you think the Smile release of 2004 by Brian Wilson was "new enough" to count, or just the polishing up of old material, that might count. Not everyone likes My Bloody Valentine, but if one considers them a great band, they clearly do qualify as writing "quality" new material after 40. All this is to say I tend to agree with you, that the old truism is correct, that any one band has in them three truly great albums, and that's it.

(Note I am responding to Plucky's question, not to the related question about bands that have had big comebacks after age 40: there are plenty of those, but they generally don't have new better (or equal) material. See Guns'n'Roses...)

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem did all of his well-received work after 40.

Good point, re Murphy!

The Grateful Dead made some high quality music on the plus side of 40. Jerry Garcia's collaboration with David Grossman was quite good, too, although I think most of the songs they recorded together were old folk standards.

The Grateful Dead & the work of Jerry Garcia belongs to the ages.

Like you, I suspect that the number is low. Having said that, Dylan's "Time Out of Mind" and "Love and Theft" are both excellent. Tom Waits' best period is almost certainly after he turned 40. I still find Beck interesting. It may be worth noting that none of these examples is a group.

Tom Waits is in a league unto himself. He's a hell of a songwriter at 67, and I can't wait to hear new material from him. His later stuff, probably Swordfishtrombones and beyond, has a lot of Beefheart influence.

Richard Thompson is in his late sixties and is still writing and performing very strong material. Three of the albums he did from 2000 through 2007 - "Mock Tudor", "The Old Kit Bag", and "Sweet Warrior" - are as good in terms of his songwriting, guitar playing, and singing as anything he did in Fairport Convention or with his ex-wife Linda Thompson from the late '60s through the early '80s.

After about 1995, getting noticed by a label using the classic methods (play a lot of local shows while building up a reputation) became so difficult that most artists were already 30 by the time anybody had heard of them. Jack White is 41. Dan Auerbach is 37. Josh Homme is 43. Dave Grohl is 47. Trent Reznor is 51. You can pretty much google any group that went mainstream more than five years ago, and chances are their members are over 40 or close to it.

Grohl and Reznor are pretty bad examples to use here. Both were a) already big stars in 1995 and b) post-40 have put out work that is only a shadow of what they were at their peak. I'm pretty sure Grohl doesn't have another There is Nothing Left to Lose in him, nor does Reznor have another The Fragile in him. Likewise with Auerbach, I'd bet he's got one more solid album to put out, but I'd bet against him topping El Camino in 2020 (I'd greatly enjoy being proved wrong, but I wouldn't stake money on it).

Guys who are just songwriters I might except from this trend, but guys who both write & perform? Turning 40 for them is like turning 33 in Tennis. After 40 they're pretty much all on Greatest Hits tours (which are still great, don't get me wrong) until they either have enough money in the bank, get tired of it all, or lose too many band members to liver failure.

John Hiatt is a songwriter's songwriter, and his best stuff has come in this century, all past his 49th birthday.

I went a few years recently without listening to much Stones, but I have discovered - in just the last 18 months or so - that Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street are easily their best albums. The rest I rarely re-visit, but I think those two are enough to cement them as the greatest rock and roll band of all time.

They were far better as a studio band (esp. Beggars Banquet and Exile on Main St.) than in concert.

I can't believe the Rolling Stones recorded Live at the Checkerboard Lounge alongside Muddy Waters and his band in '81. The side-by-side comparison between the Rt Hon. Mckinley Morganfield and Rolling Stones blues-covers does the Stones no favors.

Try 'Get Yer Ya-Yas Out', Madison Garden 1969. Recorded by Wally Heider. Terrific live Stones.

Yes, but it showcases the Stones' sloppy musicianship. I understand that Mick Taylor was horrified by their lack of discipline.

Not into music at all, but I think this is true of all live performances. Listen to the Sex Pistols live and notice the difference with the studio version (on YouTube), same for nearly every artist I would imagine, except maybe one with a flat voice like Tom Petty. Again, I'm not into music but that's my impression. And the exception might be Cher with her wonderful harmonic voice such as in "Do You Believe" (good tune, and she's doing a New Year's Eve concert I think in DC)

The Who have almost always been better live than in the studio. The only two of their studio recordings that really captured their live fire were their first album "My Generation" and their best album"Who's Next". Compare the live version of "Tommy" from the deluxe "Live at Leeds" with the studio version as a good example of how they were often underserved in the studio.

The Stones have a particular reputation as an erratic live act -- kind of amazing, granted how long they've been at it.

I'm not agreeing with any of you!! I'm a die hard STONES FAN! Always have, always will!!! The only thing that I agree on is, YES, they had a few rough years. Some albums SUCKED. But there will never be another group comparable to the ROLLING STONES!!! So kiss off!♡stones

As a comparison, Eric Clapton has done many iinteresting and re-listenable things since 1973 and the Derek and the Dominos era is as good as any Rolling Stones.

No and no.

Surely you jest with the former claim and politeness forbids me from mentioning what you are doing with the latter claim.

The post misses their peak period around 1978 and there's a shocking omissions of their power as a live band. No mention of Some Girls or Tattoo You, probably their two best albums.

Here's the definitive You Can't Get What You Want from 1972 in Fort Worth (late show): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNB8_lerr7c. It sounds nothing like the studio release. Catch Mick Taylor's solo at the 4:00 mark. One of the finest guitar performances you'll ever hear. The definitive cover of Drift Away from the same period with Mick Taylor, which was never released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVhLe8sqGj0

Despite losing one of the greatest rock guitarists in history, they went to another level in the late seventies. Spend some time on Youtube under the search '1978 rolling stones'. Here's a sample - Beast of Burden from Fort Worth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAJdR-GsKCo. And the disco version of Miss You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPrklRwn1HE

See the stoic precision of Mick Taylor here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oPInSfh6H4. After hearing that you'd burn your 7 inch studio cut of Dead Flowers.

Many consider this to be the definitive You Can't Always Get What You Want (Brussels 1973), though I prefer the '72 version above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZOlL6pPq4E

Here's Mick Taylor again on Love in Vain (solo at 2:50): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryRDcE2sB2A

The bit about "early misogyny" is again a pretty telling indication that you aren't familiar with large parts of their catalog!

Check out the lyrics to the title track of Some Girls from 1978: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uid7RrXBY2A ("black Girls just want to get fucked all night/I just don't have that much jam"). It generated a genuine culture wars skirmish at the time: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/rolling-stones-in-hot-water-over-song-lyrics-19761116 (Meanwhile, the Stones seem willing to wash their hands of the whole issue. When some black-oriented radio stations boycotted "Some Girls" after the album's early summer release, Jagger told Rolling Stone that "Atlantic tried to get us to drop it, but I refused. I've always been opposed to censorship of any kind, especially by conglomerates. I've always said, 'If you can't take a joke, it's too fucking bad.")

Or Starfucker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iudmMgbAAmI

I'll make this my last comment, discussing further their unreleased take on Dobie Gray's Drift Away which I linked above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVhLe8sqGj0

This is really peak Stones and one of the great rock and roll covers ever. You can hear all the band members working (including long-time collaborator Ian Stewart on piano). Jagger starts with his urban cowboy delivery but finishes in full voice. Wyman and Watts are creating the foundation for Mick Taylor's twangy bends. Stewart is playing off him nicely, and you can hear Richard's rhythm guitar working as well. It all comes together around the 2:30 mark. The instruments drop out to just Wyman and Watts and then slowly walk back in for the big finish, punctuated by Watts' in the background.

Well said. Comparing the Rolling Stones influence in music to the likes of the Who is not only insulting but ridiculous and comes from someone who does not understand rock and roll, rythim guitar or newer music, much of which is based on the influence found in the Stones discography.

A Black Man above nails it. This is the uncomfortable truth for almost all the people we call artists- they won't be talked about in the broad culture once the people who grew up with their work when it was new are dead. This is also most likely going to be true of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Beethovens and Mozarts are terribly rare.

Which 'broad culture' is that? Concert and chamber music are for hobbyists. Early music has its enthusiasts as well, as do various folk styles. Why not ask yourself just what method you're employing to determine that such hobbyists will not exist a century from now regarding post-war genres (e.g. progressive jazz)? (Recall the early 1970s revival of interest in ragtime).

Almost everybody knows who Beethoven and Mozart were, even 200 years after their deaths- even those who couldn't identify even one piece of music by either composer if you played it for them, and it is pretty certain that the same will be true 200 years from now. Only your hobbyists would even know who John Field was, for example. That is the difference. It is all but certain that only hobbyists will remember The Rolling Stones and The Beatles 100 years from now, too.

100 years isn't so long. A lot people still know the name Scott Joplin, for example, and even more would recognize many of his songs.

Actually, I doubt few people would know who Scott Joplin was. Also, it is likely that only a single piece of his music would even be recognized by more than 5% of the population of the US, and even fewer of those could connect it to the name. If not for The Sting, even The Entertainer might go unrecognized by 95% or more of people alive today.

The kind of instant name recognition that goes with being Beethoven and Mozart is very, very rare for artists in any field.

Joplin's most famous piece was the "Maple Leaf Rag".

Several new recordings of Joplin have been produced in the last several years.


It depends on a lot of factors. Beethoven and Mozart were important historical figures. Will it ever be possible to write a history of 20th century music without reference to The Beatles? Probably not. Second, a lot depends on how music is shared between generations. Kids may mock their parents and grandparents for their crusty preferences in music but, as with classical music, some songs will get repeatedly reintroduced into popular culture through TV and movies. "Bohemian Rhapsody" topped the charts for a second time 16 years after it came out because it was included in the soundtrack for "Wayne's World."

Why were Beethoven and Mozart important historical figures?

I think what I am trying to say is that the name recognition is, in fact, the measure of how powerful their work was, and how that work continues today to be used in other parts of the artistic world, especially movies and television. Slocum's example of Joplin above fits the argument- his music and name are slowly being forgotten- in another 100 years, he will be nothing but a footnote in unread histories of the music of the late 19th and early 20th century (he is close to it now)

Almost everybody knows who Beethoven and Mozart were,

Wm. Buckley was once asked which 30% of the adult population he'd like struck from the voting rolls. He said, "the 30% which has never heard of the United Nations". It might surprise you what large swaths of people do not know. In any case, name recognition is not that important. Concert and chamber music is a niche taste, as is Jazz. I actually grew up in a house with an enthusiast of concert and chamber music, as well as opera (season tickets to the Philharmonic, among other things), but I'm not sure I could bring any Vivaldi to mind even though it was playing in our house.

The Stones and the Beatles are more famous now than Scott Joplin was during his peak. Elvis, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles will all be remembered long after their deaths; probably BB King and Frank Sinatra too. I think most people have heard of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Actually Elvis has been dead for nearly 40 years, and he is still quite well known.

the only authentic genius of the rock era is Frank Zappa

So, as I'm reading these comments (most of which are either flat out wrong - performers aren't artists? Exactly who do you think Mozart, Ludwig von et al, made music for - themselves?) or hopelessly banal, a little ditty came in one of those classic rock stations my roommate had on with the following lyrics "would it satisfy ya/would it slide on by ya?... I know it's only rock and roll but I LIKE IT " How perfect is that? The Stones, for all that they've gunny around decades too long (last saw them in 89 and thought they were old then!) were without a doubt the world's greatest rock and roll band. Mick and Keef are RnR incarnate.

TC - "I don't listen to old white misogynists anymore. Instead I prefer listening to a black guy sing 'alright! shoot her one more time again baby', which is not misogynistic because multiculturalism".

I think he's trolling us.

This is actually a good catch. I always forget that Cowen pretends to like rap music because my eyes roll so much when he starts effusing about Kendrick Lamar that I don't ever finish the paragraph.

To be fair, Kendrick Lamar doesn't rap about shooting women.

No, but TC's fave did:


As the Stones go, I prefer Fred and Barney.

Hat tip to Stephen Wright! (grin)

There you go, Tyler. Did you not know that you can't get no satisfaction,not to mention that you can't always get what you want, but if you are really really lucky, you might just get what you need, :-).

In typical Barkster fashion this post is a retread of an earlier comment done with less wit.

All that the Stones accomplished was to be one of the top bands during rock music's top two decades of the 1960s and 1970s. If more of the members had the decency to die you young, the band would be held in higher esteem by the critics of today.

But do they have a Bloomberg terminal?

Exactly......the Stones have been around for 50 years but they were only the greatest band on the planet for 17 years or so.

I'll be more blunt: The Rolling Stones are one of the most boring and overrated bands of all time. I don't really understand Cowen's dig at The Who near the end of this post. The Who more or less invented the rock opera, and their quality of musicianship is quite a bit better than the Rolling Stones. Their songs are memorable, still hold up well, and they are truly one of the great "album" bands. I have, on the other hand, never been able to finish a Rolling Stones album. There are the obviously good songs like "Satisfaction" and "Jumping Jack Flash," but beyond that I could never understand why they were so highly regarded. Most of their music is just generic blues rock, and they really moved past that, unlike the Beatles for example.

*never really moved past that. The Beatles were always exploring and developing their sound.

'I don’t really understand Cowen’s dig at The Who near the end of this post.'

Well, you will never see Prof. Cowen on a Vespa. And Daltrey's film career is considerably more interesting that Jagger's. Like this truly over the top 'rockumentary' of Liszt - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisztomania_(film)

Yeah, I was like, "A drive-by shot at The Who?" The Who are exactly who should replace the Stones.

I think that might be exactly what TC was suggesting -- that rather enjoying a separate Top Two part of the pantheon with the Beatles, the Stones are closer to the still-massively-important likes of The Who, the Kinks, Zeppelin, etc.

People who aren't The Who fans find The Who excessive and annoying. People who aren't Rolling Stones fans generally start tapping their feet when a Stones song comes on. A lot of becoming a an all time great band is not being off putting to neutrals- The Who couldn't do this.

Also no one invented the rock opera before The Who because rock operas suck.

Agreed -- the only thing disappointing about the who is that Pete Townshend could only manage three decent solo albums.

They're certainly no Pet Shop Boys

This is about right. I think of the Stones as an excellent singles band that always had trouble with the "soul" thing, and thus had difficultly capturing complex or deep emotions. To be fair, they did had one fantastic album, Exile on Main Street, where they did finally get "soul," almost by accident.

What do people want more from a live touring rock show - playing the songs to sound as they do on their albums, or an unexpected creative departure from that? Because the Stones are like the first, but Dylan is like the second one. I don't understand why people want to hear it live to sound "just like on the album". I like to have a unique experience.

Which is one reason why the Eagles were accused of "loitering on stage"; Henley and Frey wanted note-by-note renditions of the studio work. It could work in their context - I saw them on the "Hotel California" tour and it was a very good show - but I've seen Joe Walsh live several times and he is much more of a "let's see what we can cook up now!" performer away from the constraints of the Eagles. (And the Eagles are done anyway, Henley wisely deciding that Glenn Frey cannot be replaced).

In general though, I'm with you - I want to see and hear the band taking risks, pushing things to the edge. Which is why I often like live performances better than the original studio works - two great examples being the Allman Brothers' "At the Fillmore East" and the Who's
"Live at Leeds" (especially the deluxe release with pretty much the whole show).

What utter risible tripe.

The Rolling Stones are epic. The definitive Rock n Roll band. Jagger pretty much defined the rock and roll front man.

The five albums from Beggars Banquet to Exile are nothing short of a triumph.

Go read Springsteens biog and read how much he worshipped them. I would take his view over this numpty.

Go watch Tom Waits wet himself to go on stage with them to do little red rooster.

Mate .. go and listen to you Destiny's child best of albums and leave the serious music to the rest of us.


Amen. It is all about music and your own tastes. For sure time will tell.

Amen. Short sweet and we'll said.

Unfair to The Who

They were better

Same ballpark anyway.

Defiance is called for: Stones RULE.

They were tight tight TIGHT--nothing BUT tight--at the 2006 Super Bowl show (they were old even then, too). Prince was practically unlistenable when he showed up afterwards.

Rock 'n' roll dies as soon as Sir Mick, Keef, or Charlie kicks off. Then we can all hardly wait for whatever cultural super-phenomenon follows in their wake. The Stones DEFINED the "sex-drugs-rock 'n' roll-money" formula for the entire generation.

Early Stones were NEVER as putridly saccharine as the early Beatles.

I liked The Who back in the day much more than the Stones: but the Stones wear better now overall. Their blues covers "inferior"? Their covers of Robert Johnson are richer than the originals ("Love in Vain" and "Stop Breaking Down").

The Stones' entire game since the Seventies has been to stay alive and stay together, which they've done except for Bill Wyman's retirement. When the band's career is FINALLY over, the fellows will have shown that rock 'n' roll was never the music of perennial youth but only the popular musical idiom of the post-WWII generations, an idiom that well deserved an earlier death, granted, but one that NO ONE has yet transcended.

I'm not sure if this comment was meant to be a joke, but I laughed.

Keith Richards' riffs in the later work are as good as anything he ever did, but somehow they never seem to add up to a decent song.

The misogyny was lifted directly from the blues artists they were copying. Why not blame it on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

They also made an early case for gay rights with Cocksucker Blues.

The reason you don't appreciate listening to them anymore is because you don't drink. The mood of the Stones is booze and you lack the proper affiliation.

Most ingenious way I've ever seen to insult the Who.

I mean does anyone really like the Stones?

The only people who like the Stones are people with good taste and an affinity for a good time.

I was going to write reaming rant but I read this first. I appreciate economy, and this says everything I wanted to in one sentence. Pontification has no place in Rock&Roll

Jagger may be charismatic and a good songwriter, but the best Stones songs were where the backup singers drowned out his vocals.

articles analyzing one's changing feelings towards half century old music are boring too.

It's humorous Camille Paglia attributes her break with whatever wave feminism was around at the time to the feminists risibly matronly response to Under My Thumb. Tyler apparently is going to throw in with the churchmarms.

Humorous too that Tyler is nominally libertarian while simultaneously playing spot-on poster boy for Stuff White People Like. He will seldom be trumped by a progressive in the status- or virtue-signalling department.

Complaining about misogyny in blues covers is like insisting you love polka, except for the accordion.

It suggests you may be trying a little bit too hard.

It did give me a good excuse to play Sister Morphine in the office though.

The first 20 times I heard some of the best Beatles songs, I was enthralled. But somewhere fairly soon after that, it became more of a - meh, been there done that - so personally I don't think it's fair to criticize the Stones as being less musically significant. Except of course, they were. The Beatles were the best, but, having said that, they didn't/couldn't play live much and didn't improvise, so what you hear is what you get, over and over and over.

Someone like Jimi Hendrix improvised, so the same song could sound different depending upon the version.

Anyway, if it's only now that Tyler C. is bored of the Stones, then even he has to admit, they provided a good bang for the buck!

I have the acoustic version of Wild Horses, the long version of Gimme Shelter, Bitch, and Sympathy for the Devil in my mix. I don't listen to their albums much anymore, but those songs still sound great to me.

As an original fan, I gotta admit, your mostly right
. However, their "Tattoo You" is probably their finest work ever. And one of five albums I would take to a deserted island. Certainly Jimi's "Ladyland" The Beatles "Revolver" and "Rubber Soul" and Ricky Lee Jones "Flying Cowboys".

In 500 years no one will know or care who the Rolling Stones were.

In 500 years EVERYONE will know who James Brown was, & his significance.

ps interesting that TC doesn't even mention their new record; easily the best thing they've recorded in > 40 years

This so so so stupid. For someone of my generation you say James Brown and our first thought is the guy who hosts the CBS pregame show.

Not James Brown. To gauge survivability imagine that someone who is sixteen years old is hearing a song by the person/group for the first time, and all info about context is missing (you don't know anything about the people who produced it, the time, etc). James Brown won't pass this test, imo. In contrast, Michael Jackson does, imo. Lastly, at the recent MAMA awards (the Grammys of Asian music, though it's heavy on KPop) one of their guest presenters was Quincy Jones. Amazingly to me, apparently many Americans who are interested in pop music and under the age of thirty have never heard of Quincy Jones. But the fault is mine -- this amnesia is how the world works, and only the most amazing stuff gets remembered.

The stones last album that was good was It's only rock and roll from 1974, Once Mick Taylor left that was it!

The Stones were good but they were never innovative like Hendrix was. Because they never innovated, every album sounded pretty much the same as the one that preceded it. It's not surprising that this gets old.

There's still some good stuff though - I found myself singing 'Sister Morphine' earlier today as I was walking. I haven't listened to the Stones in years so I've no idea where it came from. Great song though - Tyler should just stop listening to them for a while and come back when he's ready.

This statement, "the Beatles’ “Money” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and “Long Tall Sally” are all improvements, in contrast, not to mention John Lennon’s “Be Bop a Lula”," is simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

The bluer your balls the Whoer your CD collection.

Stupid but true.

Can't believe all the stupidity of all posts. If anybody understand what's to be on a band an be a songwriter/producer, then you will know that evrything written here is just pure crap. Not everybory will never understand why the Stones are so big, noone. But they are and they will be for generations after we are long gone.

I saw the Stones in Havana in March. Rip their music all you want. When I saw Cubans crying tears because Rock and Roll was banned in Cuba by Castro, you went to jail for listening to the Stones. And there was Mick Jagger on three 10 story video boards. The Stones inspired hope in an entire communist country. Not The Who, Beatles, Led Zep, Dead, Pink Floyd. The Stones. Brush it off as nonsense. I was there. Along with 700,000 Cubans for the free show.

None of the other bands you mentioned are still around though. Which the Stones definitely deserve credit for, the longevity.

Well sure. And I'm not going to knock anybody who wants to see them. Heck, I should see them.

I did see the Stones back in the early 90s, and even then they were kind of old and not that fun but I wanted to see them just the same, pay my respects. I saw The Who in 1990 and they were even older and less fun.

Some old acts still hold up live. Saw Paul McCartney a couple of years ago, he was terrific, lots of energy, sounded great, etc.

And don't get me started on Bruce Springsteen live.

The only Stones albums anyone needs are these:
Beggars Banquet
Let It Bleed
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
Sticky Fingers
Exile On Main Street
Some Girls
Tattoo You

There are a few others that are pretty damn good - Goats Head Soup, Black And Blue, Undercover. Blue And Lonesome is outstanding.

That's a lot of albums. By which I mean, they produced a lot of good music!

If the metric for evaluating music is number of new things heard over time then all rock and roll and popular music in general should be eliminated from contention. Jazz, classical and some avante garde is all far more complex and therefore reveals itself more slowly and over a longer period of time.

Glyn Johns's entertaining autobiography "Sound Man" has some good stuff about the Stones and the Who as bands, and about Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, and Pete Townshend in particular. They all come off with ups and downs, but Johns does say that "no one should ever underestimate the influence that Pete Townshend has had on popular music."

I loved my Stones when I was a kid during the 1970s, but I've had the same opinion for decades that they're not worth going back to (unlike most peer music of that era). Here are my theories. First, in hindsight they created an idiosyncratic blending of blues and a fast beat which just isn't that interesting and doesn't lead anywhere (which is why there are no bands today who are obvious musical descendants). Another band which is sort of like this from a later period is "The Police" -- their unique blending of reggae and white pop was fun but limited.

But that's not all. The Stones, in addition, developed an "anti-Beatles" persona -- consciously, this was their niche -- which, decades later, seems weird, forced, and, arguably, not likable. "Brown Sugar", musically, is one of their best efforts, but thematically it makes me cringe, even though I get that this was an act. I'll spare the thesis, but the culture has changed so much that what used to sound "authentic" now seems dated ("Satisfaction"), maudlin ("As Tears Go By"), stupid ("Paint It Black"), etc.

I don't have these problems with Hendrix, the Who, Bowie, many other bands, although a bit with Led Zeppelin, which makes me think that the weird musical stylings and outdated messaging might be a problem. And I still respect the performers as demigods, and some of their music works as great singles. But whereas people will be listening to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Queen hundreds of years from now, most young people associate Mick Jagger with that song by Maroon Five, and I can't get worked up about that.


Hear it from the horse's mouth....



That's Paul and John...as it was.

You think the Rolling Stones are gathering moss?

What tripe, written by a total asswipe. Keith Richards should rip your balls off...if you had any. STFU moron.

I like the Rolling Stones and I really like the who. Your opinion is pretty lame.

Who is this pathetic jerk? Laughable BS from a third-rate website desperate for attention. Well, now you've got it and you douche bags are worthless

I really don't care if you enjoy the Stones. I'm not wasting my time reading why. Sorry. But, get a job.

Cowen is right: you don't love the Rolling Stones for their musical ingenuity. Riff-based music doesn't reward repeated listening if you're after hearing something new. But if you're after the quintessence of rock brilliance, that golden stretch that everyone has talked about is a wonderful, joyous listen despite the lack of anything new you might hear on repeat listening.

And whoever thinks Mick Jagger is a great singer is off their rocker. The Rolling Stones are great BECAUSE Jagger is a poor singer. If Jagger could sing, the riffs and general guitar work would have made way for the vocals. But because Jagger is a poor singer, the guitars take centre stage. One could say that Keith Richards' guitar is the lead vocalist, and Jagger is the back-up singer.

I tend to think the Beatles were the Plato of music to the Rolling Stones as Aristotle: the former were melodically and musically ingenious -- formally brilliant! -- regardless of the fact they were playing rock music, whereas the Rolling Stones wrote songs that only worked as rock music.


The Rolling Stones are awesome!

The Stones are the Greatest Band in the history of Rock n Roll. Period. Stop. They haven't made a noteworthy album since Tattoo You. So what. Don't let the last 30 years detract you from their first 20 years. If you're judging the Stones from your car radio(You can't always get what u want", "Satisfaction" and "Miss You") yes that crap expired some time ago.....Play non radio tunes from their first 20 years and tell me this stuff doesn't work

Till the Next time we say goodbye
Coming Down Again
Gotta Get Away
Memory Motel
Loving Cup alternate take
Worried About You
Anything from Metamorphisis/LDN Years

COVE99 got it right bro...slap an LP on and get off the radio...more STONES in there than people know.
If ya just put all the KEITH songs on one album it would be a great STONES album.

Ya'll got it wrong...Yeah 67-72 was GREAT..It's only Rock and Roll is a sleeper that creeps up on you. Some Girls nails it. Tattoo you's refurbished bits rock here and there. In 94 Voodoo Lounge has good listen..insertion of Daryl Jones inspired the engine where it pulls it tighter. The ballads on Bridges to Babylon and A Bigger Bang are classic Jagger /Richards gulps..although not writing classics, Jaggers lyrics throughout are about Love and sex and fun. Im sure we all have a girl we can associate theae songs to and make us think and dream of those good times and bad breakups. Opposed to the lyrics of cop hating N word bitch slappin rappin goin on today with recycled beats from the 70's 80's & 90's...Ill take a seat in the Voodoo Lounge and have a Beggars Banquet everyday. Oh and the BLUES covers... GETBACk...cuz its cool and it rocks the smile I wear all day..born in 1960 Im dreading the day the boys are gone.

Innovators may not be long-term winners, so the Stones may lose out by coming up with simple (in retrospect) riffs and sonic choices that are *too* accessible. Their lyrics weren't bad
either - for example, the sophistication of "Sympathy for the Devil" is easy to overlook nowadays but was (and is) impressive, and "Gimme Shelter" + "Street Fighting Man" shouldn't be underrated.

But I'd be interested to hear Tyler's take on the fabulous series of articles by Steven Hyden on the Winner's History of Rock 'n' Roll.
Maybe he can revise his criteria...let's see him get his head around Kiss!

I have seen the stones several times starting in 1966. With Brian Jones. With Mick Taylor, they were even better. The influence of Bill Wyman was vastly under rated. The Stones have not had a significant hit since he left.

I always like the stones and still love their music from the 60s and 70s. But I never owned a single one of their albums ... unlike the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and the Moody Blues. I can listen to / watch the last two on YouTube and before I know it tears are streaming down my face. 9Yeah, I must have some kind of hormonal imbalance.) The Beatles, Zep and the Moody Blues made, for the most part, great, timeless music.

Harsh words, Tyler. Could it be that what you claim to feel depends on how having heard the Stones songs a lot more than Hendrix's over the years? When you hear a song repeatedly too many times, you get sick of it and you get to know all it's aspects well. Stones songs are played on the radio much more so than Hendrix's songs. So I think this may account for your conclusion.
BTW, how do you feel about the Beatles? Ok, I know they have not done any new albums since 1969 :)

Well said. Tyler is just over it. And thats ok. Tyler was running those classic stones lp's so many times hes just acting like a Crazy Mamma

The stones are more thank justvthe music. Its the Busts..Redlands.. The adventures on the road in the South driving round Memphis and Texas..meeting Bobby Keyes and Grahm Parsons. The French Riviera..Mystery around Brians death. Altamont.The film Gimmie Shelter draws you in..Canada and the free concert for the blind.. keith and Mick living in NYC in the 80's and still....writing bout it..Jaggers yrics are great at crossing over into our lives. And the band is our soundtrack. If your a trues fan you can find classic hits on every Lp.

Fuck you.....I seen them in Havana, Cuba last March 25th and they were great..1.2 million people would agree with me...at the end me and the crowd around me were in awe and talked about being in the presence of musical GODS..Can't believe you have the audacity to diss them..So once again-for THE STONES FUCK YOU!!

Absolute bile. Shame the author is most likely a casual fan, he would not be saying this had he heard any of their ACTUAL greatest works. From the incendiary blaze and soulful refuge of "Shine A Light", "Let it Loose", and virtually every other song from both the Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers albums, respectively, to the sheer godlike virtuosity detected on innumerable live recordings ranging from 1972 through '73 era (courtesy of Mick Taylor). I sure would have liked to see any of you has-been, self-proclaimed, tweenage listeners sit your asses through the grunge and steadfast rhythm of "Hillside Blues", as is distinctly opposed to Your cookie cutter "It's Only Rock and Roll", or simply even "Satisfaction" for that ludicrous matter. Things are quite plainly as you have presented: If your retro-roster is as exhaustive as the monosyllabic entries you have suggested, there is no damned wonder in Hell why you would find The Stones to be anything lesser than what they have been for centuries, and I think you know exactly what that is.

If there's no dark, swaying, slide guitar with ominous lead reinforcement slathered in YOUR cup of Stones, well, pardon me, I don't want any. End of.

~"You can go back to a poor man, you can't be satisfied"

If you have any chance to see the Rolling Stones live a bet you would , dum s---t.

I was never a Stones fan - Deep Purple always catched my ear. But did you listen to their album of blues covers, "Blue and Lonesome"? Nothing new there, but it's very, very fresh. Quite a breeze to end the year with. (And, by all means, do listen to Deep Purple's newly released song, Time for Bedlam.)

Hi Tyler, I think when you wrote the bit about classic riffs you meant Led Zeppelin, not The Rolling Stones. I've been reading this blog for years and this is the first time I felt compelled to comment. Merry Christmas.

One odd thing about the bands from this period (1964-73) is that it is very difficult to appreciate them the way audiences did in the period, because the music became so influential and we also know how the "story", so to speak, turned out. Something which might make Beatles music more listenable today, curiously, is a lack of deep connection so much of it has to the politics of the time (even true of a song like "A Day in the Life", most of the topical references are lost on most Americans, and you don't need them). With Hendrix you also have the extreme Prince-like musicianship (heh heh, see what I did there?), which is anti-historical -- this fits in all contexts. Lastly, I'll make a prediction. The torch of musical innovation is being passed across the Pacific, where one can find the sort of youth culture and experimentation which characterized 1964-73, and, similarly, the golden age of hip hop (1980-96?), in groups like Big Bang and EXO, and this is something most Americans know nothing about.

To me, there's just something creepy about a group of seventy year old guys singing about teen-aged blues.

Because of the outsize influence of the Baby Boom generation, all of the artists of the 60s and 70s are overrated to varying degrees. And, yes, that includes the Beatles. Overrated, remember, does not necessarily mean bad.

Later generations of rock artists are consequently underrated. Jack White, for example, is as good as anyone who has ever played the game and better then most. The White Stripes album Elephant is better than anything the Stones produced and, top to bottom, is equal to or better than anything recorded by the Beatles.

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