The 20 Best Rolling Stones Songs From The '60s And '70s

By Sarah Norman | July 27, 2023

The Stones In Their Glory Era

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source: pinterest

Picking the 20 best Rolling Stones songs from the '60s and '70s is like picking our 20 favorite gold bars at Fort Knox. Between 1962 and 1980 the Rolling Stones released a slew of apocalyptic, bluesy tunes tinged with sex and sadness that had that special thing that made them connect people across the world. This could very well be a list of 50 or 100 songs, but we wanted to distill the band down to their very essence of their greatest eras.

This isn't to say that the Stones stopped putting out good music when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1980. Tracks like "Start Me Up" and "Thru and Thru" prove that the band still has the magic touch, but rather than get into the modern era let's focus on the band during some of the most tumultuous and musically prolific years of their career.

Gimme Shelter

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source: Reddit

"Gimme Shelter" is more than just a song, it's the soundtrack to the end of the '60s. In 1995, Mick Jagger called every moment of this song the sound of apocalypse. No other song of the 1960s better encapsulates the feeling of living in a time full of chaos, when everyone on the planet saw flower power give way to the tumultuous rush of war, murder, and crime at the end of the decade. Written on a miserable, rainy day by Keith Richards while he was wiling away the hours waiting for his then girlfriend Anita Pallenberg to wrap on set of Performance, the guitar melody is the sound of pure dread.

Worked out over multiple sessions in London and Los Angeles in 1969, the final version of the song is something new for the Stones. It represents everything the band was and everything they were about to become in the following decade. Richards later said that his guitar fell apart while he was recording, “as if by design.”

Listen: Gimme Shelter