Last week the Rolling Stones released an extraordinary song inspired by the Coronavirus Pandemic: Living In A Ghost Town. It’s a little bit of “Miss You,” a little more of “Shattered,” and a little most of “Your Love Is Strong” all rolled into one. Check it out:
Yet that unexpected release made me dig into the Simplify The Message vault from 2011 where I first listed my top five Rolling Stones. To borrow from one of their competitors, nine years later, the songs remain the same:
5. One Hit To The Body — An overlooked tune from the much-maligned Dirty Work album (1986). Yet there’s something about the frantic urgency and unbridled aggression of this song that I simply love. I may be the only one, but I can’t help it.
4. You Can’t Always Get What You Want — The closest Mick Jagger ever gets to being theological. We used to use this line with our children as part of telling them “no” to some request — “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just might find, you’ll get what you need.” They failed to appreciate either the reference or the humor.
3. Brown Sugar — Regrettable subject matter, unforgettable riff. The riff wins out.
2. Beast Of Burden — This one came out just as my junior year of high school was beginning (1978). It makes me think of Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Maker” in that it is atypical of the band’s style, yet infectious in its appeal.
1. Gimme Shelter — For sure one of my all time favorites, regardless of the band. Haunting and apocalyptic, it makes you feel the frenzy & fear of the late 60s all over again. And are there better background vocals anywhere in rock & roll?