Rolling Stones Albums Ranked

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of bandleader Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica, keyboards), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band’s primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group’s manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar in tandem with Richards.

The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the United States in 1964 and were identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. Rooted in blues and early rock and roll, the band started out playing covers but found more success with their own material. Here are the Rolling Stones albums ranked from worst to best.

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25. Dirty Work (1986) 24. Bridges to Babylon (1997) 23. Undercover (1983) 22. A Bigger Bang (2005) 21. Voodoo Lounge (1994) 20. Steel Wheels (1989) 19. It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (1974) 18. Black and Blue (1976) 17. December’s Children [And Everybody’s] (1965) 16. Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

15. Blue & Lonesome (2016)

“I didn’t think they had it in them. But they did. The first new Stones album I have bought in over twenty years. Originally conceived as a series of tunes to cut as the Stones warmed up in the studio for their new album Jagger listened back about halfway through and said, “we’ve got a good album going right here” and they kept on with the blues covers. Plus they do a Magic Sam song, and Sam was God. Well done, lads.”

14. Emotional Rescue (1980)

“One of the most underrated albums recorded by the best rock and blues bands in the world. Needs listening too carefully to appreciate the subtlety of the music. The bluse feel is always under the surface. Great musicianship and song writing throughout.”

13. 12X5 (1964)

“Stones American release 12X5 is solid as the rock they play. Features the hit single It’s All Over Now written by Bobby and Shirley Womack. Stand out track is their cover of Chuck Berry’s Around and Around, close to as perfect a rock-n-roll song as you’ll hear. LP catches The Stones at their peak as a blues rock band.”

12. Tattoo You (1981)

“Several decades ago I owned just about all of the Rolling Stones albums in one format or another. “Tattoo You” was indeed one of them. Slowly, over the last two decades I have been replacing them with CDs. For some reason I was slow to buy this one, but finally did. Perhaps it was because of a couple tunes that were played into the ground by radio stations and sporting events. Enough already! But satellite radio played “Heaven” one day, and I immediately ordered the CD from Amazon! “Ain’t No Use In Crying” is another tune I have missed badly. “Tattoo You” is truly one of the Stones’ best!”

11. Goats Head Soup (1973)

“For some reason I always skipped this disc in their collection and I have no good reason why…. Huge fan of the Mick Taylor era band and this album sits very nicely in their catalog with him. So far “100 years…” seems to have the overall lead as best track alongside the masterpiece “Angie”. Five Stars…”

10. England’s Newest Hitmakers (1964)

“Their first and their best in my book. .It had that real influence of the early blues artists that they based their music on. I can hear a bit of Muddy Waters in their album. Real tight guitar work and I feel that Brian Jones must have had a lot to do with the production along with the two producers Oldham and Easton. The songs are all classics! The instrumental “Now I’ve got a Witness” really belts it out with heavy bass and great harmonica work by Brian.

If you haven’t got it get it. This is 52 years old but this is Blues at its best!”

9. The Rolling Stones Now! (1965)

“Released in early 1965, when the Stones were mostly in their early 20s. What a difference 49 years makes. Later in the year, the Stones released “Satisfaction” and became the second most famous band in the world, if they weren’t already. Here, they aren’t quite there yet. Jagger/Richards only wrote 1/3 of the songs. This version has great sound quality. Thankfully the mono tracks are not electonically reprocessed into fake stereo like the old blue label London LPs, and the three stereo tracks recorded at Chess studios in Chicago sound really great. It would be nice if the Stones Decca/London catalog could be reorganized to avoid duplication but that appears unlikely at this late date.”

8. Out of Our Heads (1965)

“This work would earn a 5-star rating for just one song, one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever–“(I can’t get no) satisfaction.” But there is a lot more. There are solid covers of songs by artists such as Otis Redding (e.g., “Mercy, Mercy”), Sam Cooke (“Good Times”), and Marvin Gaye (“Hitch Hike”). There are also early classics by Jagger-Richards, such as “Satisfaction,” “”The Last Time,” and “Play with Fire.” And cool little songs such as “The Spider and the Fly” and “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man”. And remember that any song attributed to “Nanker Phelge” (such as the aforementioned “The Under Assistant. . .”) is a Rolling Stones’ composition.”

7. Aftermath (1966)

“In my humble opinion this is one of the RStones finer early albums…not to say they all aren’t good, but the variety of songs showed their substantial potential….no “filler” songs etc…e.g.: (Til There Was You…for crying out loud)….Plus, some bonus songs from other import albums are included as compared to original vinyl playlist”

6. Between the Buttons (1967)

“I got this to add to my collection of Rolling Stones albums based on reviews here and elsewhere. It pretty good but not quite great. For great you need to look at Exile On Main Street or Sticky Fingers among others. I do think this is the about where the Stones really started to make great albums. After this they had quite a run of great music.”

5. Some Girls (1978)

“It’s the Stones music like this that isn’t played frequently anymore that was incredibly important during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. These songs bring another aspect to the more political rock and roll that was being released in that period, but there is plenty of politics in Some Girls (“Shattered” and “Before They Make me Run”). The digital cd sound is awesome compared to the vinyl lp quality of last century, and this makes a great 2-fer if played Back to Back with the Emotional Rescue disc.”

4. Sticky Fingers (1971)

“Any old Stones fan’s will absolutely have to purchase this Deluxe Sticky Fingers cd. The original is always fantastic to listen too, this is remastered just that much better. But the second cd is outstanding! Stright Raw recordings not cleaned upped. Eric Clapton slide & stright guitar on Brown Sugar. But another side of Mick Taylor’s Magical guitar again Raw but clean. The live part is just Get Your Ya’ Ya’s Out in the UK. Great recordings on all jams. 5*****`s all the way around !!!”

See More: Cream Albums Ranked

3. Beggars Banquet (1968)

“Another master work from the Stones during their best years. “No Expectations” is by far my favorite tune on the album, a poignant swan song for Brian Jones, who lays down some heartbreakingly beautiful acoustic slide guitar on the cut. The guys sound like they had a blast recording this one!”

2. Let it Bleed (1969)

“The Stones closed out their 1960s studio output with LET IT BLEED, a raunchy collection of new material which carried their earlier return to their blues roots on BEGGARS BANQUET several steps further, in addition to bridging the departure (and subsequent death) of Brian Jones and the arrival of his successor, Mick Taylor. The latter is represented here on a couple of tracks (“Country Honk,” “Live With Me”), just as Brian shows up on a pair of numbers (“You Got The Silver,” “Midnight Rambler”), but this is really a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards creative showcase in every way possible.”

1. Exile on Main St. (1972)

“If you even remotely like the Rolling Stones, then this should be part of your music library. Many consider this to be the greatest rock album ever made. For me, an avid Stones fan for more than 50 years, I can only say that it is one of the 4 greatest rock albums (all Rolling Stones) ever made! Exile on Main Street, Sticky Fingers, Beggars Banquet, and Let It Bleed.”