We won’t argue with you: The Rolling Stones made their best music in the ’60s and ’70s.
After 1978’s Some Girls, they released only one more classic album, 1981’s ‘Tattoo You.’ But that doesn’t mean that the band’s output since then has been a total waste. There have been some good albums during the period (like 1989’s Steel Wheels) and some pretty good songs (1983’s “Undercover of the Night”).
So put aside “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Gimme Shelter” and “Miss You” for now, and take a look at the below list of the Top 10 Post-Some Girls Rolling Stones Songs.
10. “Highwire” (From Flashpoint, 1991)
One of two new studio songs attached to 1991’s Steel Wheels tour souvenir Flashpoint, “Highwire” is one of the few overtly political songs in the Rolling Stones’ extensive catalog. Written after the fallout of the Persian Gulf War, the song mentions missiles, tanks and greed. In a way, it picks up where “Gimme Shelter” left off more than two decades earlier.
9. “Anybody Seen My Baby” (From Bridges to Babylon, 1997)
The first single from 1997’s Bridges to Babylon is also the only memorable song on the LP, and part of that has to do with its melodic similarities to k.d. lang’s hit “Constant Craving” (she and songwriting partner Ben Mink were given a co-credit). The Biz Markie sample included in “Anybody Seen My Baby” marks the only Stones song to feature an outside influence like that.
8. “Worried About You” (From Tattoo You, 1981)
“Worried About You” was first tracked in late 1974 and early 1975 but didn’t end up on a Stones album until Tattoo You in 1981. Had it ended up on Black and Blue like intended, it would have been a highlight of that otherwise lackluster LP. The Stones had even performed the song during their fabled 1977 appearance at Toronto’s El Mocambo club.
7. “One Hit (To the Body)” (From Dirty Work, 1986)
Dirty Work is one of the band’s laziest and most boring albums. But the fierce “One Hit (To the Body)” sounds like classic-era Stones, with guitars churning alongside one of Mick Jagger‘s best post-Some Girls vocal performances. Bonus points: That’s Jimmy Page playing the soaring guitar solo that shows up midway through the song.
6. “Doom and Gloom” (From GRRR!, 2012)
If you already own the 537 other greatest-hits compilations the Stones have released over the past 50 years, you probably don’t need 2012’s GRRR!, which spans their entire career … unless you want the two new songs. “Doom and Gloom” is the keeper, a riff-powered rocker that sounds like the post-Some Girls era condensed into four solid minutes.
5. “Mixed Emotions” (From Steel Wheels, 1989)
Depending on your perspective, the Stones were either coasting or had a pretty rough time in the mid-’80s. But by the end of the decade, they were firing back with their best album since Tattoo You. ”Mixed Emotions,” Steel Wheels‘ first single, sounds like classic Stones: all piercing guitar riffs on top of a flashy backbeat.
4. “Undercover of the Night” (From Undercover, 1983)
After 1981’s back-to-basics Tattoo You (which included some leftover ’70s material), the Stones started getting restless again on 1983’s Undercover, incorporating street beats, harder music and even some super-political lyrics. It doesn’t always work, but the album’s opening song, and sorta title track, is killer, with rapid-fire percussion blasts cutting through the screaming guitars.
3. “Emotional Rescue” (From Emotional Rescue, 1980)
The Stones’ most blatantly disco number supposedly caused a rift between Mick Jagger, who liked the music, and Keith Richards, who didn’t. Either way, it’s one of the band’s best post-Some Girls singles, a honking, blaring and sweaty dance track featuring one of Jagger’s most playful vocals (he was trying to sound like Marvin Gaye).
2. “Waiting on a Friend” (From Tattoo You, 1981)
The elegiac ”Waiting on a Friend” closes the terrific Tattoo You in style, complete with a sky-high sax solo by Sonny Rollins. The song was started by Mick Taylor during the Goats Head Soup era, which accounts for its laid-back haunting undertone. But it’s a perfect ending to the last perfect album the Stones made.
1. “Start Me Up” (From Tattoo You, 1981)
“Start Me Up” is one of the Stones’ all-time classic tracks, so it’s no surprise that it’s topped our list of the Top 10 Post-Some Girls Rolling Stones Songs. The cut also features one of the band’s all-time greatest opening guitar riffs, which in turn kicks off and fuels their last classic album. Like many of the songs on Tattoo You, ”Start Me Up” was started in the ’70s, during the Black and Blue sessions. But it falls together so seamlessly with the rest of Tattoo You that it beats anything on Black and Blue … and everything else they did after Some Girls.
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