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The 100 Greatest Classic Rock Albums of All Time: #1. Sticky Fingers (2 Viewers)

11. The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler


Most bands would kill to release a record as great as this one. But the Stones were just getting revved up. The introduction of Mick Taylor (though he only appears on two songs here) ushered in their greatest era of music.

This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher. But that takes nothing away from this one.

Gimme Shelter
There is something really dark about this song and it’s not just the link to the Altamont tragedy. It just sounds like pitch blackness, a gloom that even the best goth bands could never quite achieve (though not through want of trying ). It’s also one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time, but that might be secondary to the darkness.

Love In Vain
Robert Johnson would have proud. John Lee Hooker WAS proud. If any Stones tune perfectly captured the Mississippi delta era of acoustic blues, this was it.

Country Honk
Honky Tonk Woman as performed by the Carter Family as interpreted by the Stones. Works for me!

Live With Me
Such a great rock song. The definition of a sublime deep cut. Simply outstanding.

Let It Bleed
Still one of the funniest Stones tunes of all time. Yet somehow a heartfelt anthem at the same time. Nicky Hopkins in piano is especially great here.

Midnight Rambler
This blues tune about a serial killer is among The Rolling Stones’ greatest ever songs for sure. I believe Keith Richards has this as the most favorite thing he ever composed. As much as I love this, I might like the live version (from Get Yer Yayas Out!) even more.

You Got the Silver
Underrated classic ballad. Susan Tedeschi, mentioned earlier in the thread, does a splendid cover.

Monkey Man
More darkness. Like Gimme Shelter and Midnight Rambler, this tune can’t help but leave you with a sense of nervousness, given both the performance and subject matter. But of course it’s also incredible rock.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
After the children stop singing, that guitar is so sublime. It gets me every time. And I think this might be Mick’s best ever vocals.
Merry Clayton's backing vocals on Gimme Shelter take it to another level. At times in the song her voice sounds like it is about to give out. I've seen some interviews with her about the recording process and I can understand why.
 
Tim already issued a spoiler in his Let It Bleed post. "This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher"
So, we know there are 2 Stones albums in the top 10.
Is every Stones album a classic rock album? Maybe there's still a twist coming!
 
11. The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler


Most bands would kill to release a record as great as this one. But the Stones were just getting revved up. The introduction of Mick Taylor (though he only appears on two songs here) ushered in their greatest era of music.

This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher. But that takes nothing away from this one.

Gimme Shelter
There is something really dark about this song and it’s not just the link to the Altamont tragedy. It just sounds like pitch blackness, a gloom that even the best goth bands could never quite achieve (though not through want of trying ). It’s also one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time, but that might be secondary to the darkness.

Love In Vain
Robert Johnson would have proud. John Lee Hooker WAS proud. If any Stones tune perfectly captured the Mississippi delta era of acoustic blues, this was it.

Country Honk
Honky Tonk Woman as performed by the Carter Family as interpreted by the Stones. Works for me!

Live With Me
Such a great rock song. The definition of a sublime deep cut. Simply outstanding.

Let It Bleed
Still one of the funniest Stones tunes of all time. Yet somehow a heartfelt anthem at the same time. Nicky Hopkins in piano is especially great here.

Midnight Rambler
This blues tune about a serial killer is among The Rolling Stones’ greatest ever songs for sure. I believe Keith Richards has this as the most favorite thing he ever composed. As much as I love this, I might like the live version (from Get Yer Yayas Out!) even more.

You Got the Silver
Underrated classic ballad. Susan Tedeschi, mentioned earlier in the thread, does a splendid cover.

Monkey Man
More darkness. Like Gimme Shelter and Midnight Rambler, this tune can’t help but leave you with a sense of nervousness, given both the performance and subject matter. But of course it’s also incredible rock.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
After the children stop singing, that guitar is so sublime. It gets me every time. And I think this might be Mick’s best ever vocals.
Merry Clayton's backing vocals on Gimme Shelter take it to another level. At times in the song her voice sounds like it is about to give out. I've seen some interviews with her about the recording process and I can understand why.
I think it's right around the 3-minute mark, but you can hear Merry Clayton's voice crack during I think the 3rd "It's a shot away!" in her vocal solo, and Jagger loudly exclaims right after that (which is somewhat low in the mix, but totally audible once you know to listen for it). Great little moment in a timeless classic.
 
Tim already issued a spoiler in his Let It Bleed post. "This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher"
So, we know there are 2 Stones albums in the top 10.
I won't name them, but I think I know which albums they are. I won't argue their inclusion in the top 10 either. They are deserved. IMVERYHUMBLEO.
 
I don't think I know anything else from Let It Bleed
Try the title track — I bet it rings a bell.
It did not ring a bell. Solid tune, but not one I imagine I will seek out again.

Outside of one album (one of the two likely still to come, the one with the shorter title), the Rolling Stones are not an album band for me. I like a lot of their songs, but they are spread out over many albums.
 
I don't think I know anything else from Let It Bleed
Try the title track — I bet it rings a bell.
It did not ring a bell. Solid tune, but not one I imagine I will seek out again.

Outside of one album (one of the two likely still to come, the one with the shorter title), the Rolling Stones are not an album band for me. I like a lot of their songs, but they are spread out over many albums.
I never was the biggest Stones fan. Somewhere along the line, I ended up with the Hot Rocks album. I had friends in HS and college that were big fans. Each made me mix tapes, so I had no idea what songs came off of which album. I have since moved on to self-made compilations and still don't know what songs are from which album. I like them more than I used to, but I would hardly call myself a Stones fan.
 
11. The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler

My stations also played Live With Me and Monkey Man (even before Goodfellas).

I would have preferred the actual Honky Tonk Women to the countrified reworking, but otherwise this album is impeccable. Gimme Shelter is my #1 Stones song and I ranked it #4 in the British Isles Countdown.
 
Anarchy sent me his guess at Tim's top 10. Anyone else want to take a swing shoot me a PM.
Sent. Nine of these are easy. The tenth is a question of whether it qualifies in his experience (it does in mine).
Yep, I sent a list of 10 as well, and I could see the one being deemed too old (1966), and I could totally see tim putting the overrated early proto punk(-ish) record that literally no one listened to in real time on the list (despite never being played on any classic rock station I've ever heard).
 
I have received four lists and none of them are identical.

4 votes - 8 albums (32)
3 votes - 1 album (3)
2 votes - 2 albums (4)
1 vote - 1 albums (1)

I think @Ghost Rider nails it saying one "will be deemed to old" which brings another album into play.
 
Tim already issued a spoiler in his Let It Bleed post. "This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher"
So, we know there are 2 Stones albums in the top 10.
I won't name them, but I think I know which albums they are. I won't argue their inclusion in the top 10 either. They are deserved. IMVERYHUMBLEO.
@Hastur You want to shoot me your 10 and see if it matches any of the other four lists?
 
10. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, What Is and What Should Never Be, Ramble On, Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman), Thank You


Hard to believe the 4 musicians who created the debut album Led Zeppelin could actually top that amazing record and in the same year, but they did. This is an even better hard rock album, filled with one outstanding song after another. One of the great masterpieces of rock music.

Whole Lotta Love
We can start with this, iconic in every way. The opening riff, Plant’s vocals, the middle section, Page’s solo- all extraordinary,

What Is and What Should Never Should Be
Has there ever been a rock band better at smoothly changing tempos? Or merging acoustic with electric in the same song? I can’t think of one. A classic.

The Lemon Song
Based on an old blues tune (aren’t they all?) Page’s skills on full display.

Thank You
Prettiest song on the album. So melodic. But it also really rocks.

Heartbreaker
Whole Lotta Love’s opening guitar riff is magnificent and this one, IMO, is even better. The song lives up to it. Plant’s singing is irrepressible.

Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)
Traditionally played in combination with Heartbreaker. Another great classic though apparently for some reason the band didn’t like it.

Ramble On
With all of the suburb classics on this record, this song might be the best of all. The combo of folk and hard rock is unmatched (except maybe by the same band elsewhere.)

Moby ****
One of the great instrumentals in all of rock history. Play close attention to Mr. Bonham please.

Bring It On Home
Strange, slow, but mesmerizing beginning leads to yet another rock classic on this record so full of them.
 
I enjoy LZ2 more than their remaining album. I think the material is stronger (even if it is less popular). After hearing Stairway 10,000 times, I struggle to get through the entire song these days. But after 10,000 listens, I still crank Whole Lotta Love. I could listen to this album on repeat all day long.
 
10. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, What Is and What Should Never Be, Ramble On, Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman), Thank You

My stations played the whole album except for Moby D!ck.

This was one of the first cassettes I bought with my own money and I still love it so much today.

This was on my list of predictions of your top 10, one of the nine I thought was obvious.

For Anarchy's Zep countdown, I ranked Ramble On #7, What Is and What Should Never Be #17 and Whole Lotta Love #18.
 
I had LZII as my second favorite LZ album behind the one that we will see later. But man did I underrate Dazed and Confused and especially BIGLY - I would possibly have a much harder time picking between I and II now. III is easily the worst of those four, IMO.
 
Would have had zero argument with Led Zeppelin II as the number one album on this list.
Same here. Great album from start to finish, I never get tired of any of the songs, not even the ones you hear on the radio a lot, and it still has that late 60s gritty rock vibe to it. This and Houses of the Holy usually run neck and neck for being my favorite LZ record.
 
For Anarchy's Zep countdown, I ranked Ramble On #7, What Is and What Should Never Be #17 and Whole Lotta Love #18.

I had these LZ II songs in my top 25 for that countdown:

4. What Is And What Should Never Be
5. Heartbreaker / Living Loving Maid
7. The Lemon Song
16. Whole Lotta Love
20. Ramble On

IMO it is their best album.

6. Whole Lotta Love
7. Ramble On
10. What Is And What Should Never Be
11. Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
18. Thank You
 
I have received four lists and none of them are identical.

4 votes - 8 albums (32)
3 votes - 1 album (3)
2 votes - 2 albums (4)
1 vote - 1 albums (1)

I think @Ghost Rider nails it saying one "will be deemed to old" which brings another album into play.
Had a 5th entry so I'll update this once I have a clarification. Everyone had this album listed. @Just Win Baby had it listed at #7 so he was pretty close.
 
9. The Rolling Stones- Exile on Main Street (1972)

Classic rock radio hits: Tumbling Dice, Happy, Rocks Off


Almost all of the albums that appear in the top 20 of this list are close to greatest hits collections in terms of how many songs get played regularly on classic rock radio; but Exile is the exception to the rule. Not only has radio pretty much always limited this double album to playing these 2 or 3 songs, it has always been at a lesser frequency compared to other Stones records. Mick Jagger believes that this is because the album was recorded with the guitars turned up too loud with the vocals sounding muffled and hard to understand. Keith Richards is proud of this fact.

I’m with Keith. I think the sound is great, and I don’t really care that I can’t understand Mick’s lyrics part of the time. It’s all booze and heroin induced rambling anyhow. The key here is the music which is blues rock to the nth degree. If you love loud messy blues (I do) this is a flawless collection of tunes.

Rocks Off
That opening guitar is so distinctive and infectious. Top notch rock.

Rip This Joint
This song and a few others on this album fairly predicted the advent of punk rock later in the decade.

Shake Your Hips
I think Billy Gibbons must have listened carefully to this song. Of course the Stones didn’t originate that great guitar lead; old black dudes from the Delta had been using it for decades.

Casino Boogie
More blues on a record filled with it. Something about a judge and jury mumble mumble not important.

Tumbling Dice
Really the only tune that most people who have never listened to this album (shame on you) are most familiar with. Again don’t worry about the lyrics; not that important. Exquisite rock and roll.

Sweet Virginia
Country blues lullaby. Sweet as the title.

Torn and Frayed
Such a great rock song. Love everything about this. Great country rock guitar by Mick Taylor

Sweet Black Angel
A politically incorrect acoustic tribute to Angela Davis. Nonetheless one of my personal favorites.

Loving Cup
Best song on the album and in my top 5 best Stones tunes ever. I especially love Nicky Hopkins’ keyboards here.

Happy
Keith provides the vocals for his signature song. Guitar is splendid. Delightful tune.

Turd on the Run
More punk rock beginnings here. Explosive guitars.

Ventilator Blues
Booze, drugs, blues and probably some loose women around. What’s not to love?

I Just Want to See His Face
The most muffled of several muffled tunes on the record. Sounds great to me!

Let It Loose
Another of this album’s great masterpieces, almost at a level with “Loving Cup”. These songs represent, for me, the absolute best music that The Rolling Stones ever achieved.

All Down the Line
A bit of a throwback to the earlier Stones of Between the Buttons era. Which means it’s great.

Stop Breaking Down
More great loud blues. Rinse and repeat.

Shine a Light
Slow and anthemic. Or it would be if you could make it out. But who cares?

Soul Survivor
The record closes with another of the great rock classics. Sublime and superb.
 
This one, I don't get. I mean, I know it is widely popular, but I have given it numerous listens over the years, and it always strikes me as pretty inconsistent. Tumbling Dice, the only song I've ever heard from it on the radio, is great, and I really like Loving Cup and Shine a Light, but you can have the rest.
 
I personally wouldn't have Exile anywhere near this high, mostly because it doesn't have any of the Stones signature or most notable songs. That doesn't mean it's not an exceptional album, only that all their most played and most popular songs are off of other albums.
 
9. The Rolling Stones- Exile on Main Street (1972)

I'm about 50/50 each morning if I fire up Tim's album choice for background music in the office. Today was a no-brainer because I can play the Exile on Main Street vs. Exile in Guyville playlist where Liz Phair responds track by track to Mick and the Stones.

Spotify Link to Playlist
I love Exile in Guyville! Brilliant album.
 
9. The Rolling Stones- Exile on Main Street (1972)

Classic rock radio hits: Tumbling Dice, Happy, Rocks Off
My stations also played All Down the Line.

The flawed production of this album may be the happiest accident in rock history. The band didn't mean for the record to sound like sludge, but they inspired legions of musicians by making it so. The outtake Plundered My Soul, released on the deluxe edition in 2010, is also great: https://open.spotify.com/track/77JJtpB6aAxGI9jNTBVbWu?si=64c2532b8489488c

This was on my list of predictions of your top 10, one of the nine I thought was obvious. My list was not in any particular order other than the "non-obvious" one at the end. It was grouped by artist.
 
This one, I don't get. I mean, I know it is widely popular, but I have given it numerous listens over the years, and it always strikes me as pretty inconsistent. Tumbling Dice, the only song I've ever heard from it on the radio, is great, and I really like Loving Cup and Shine a Light, but you can have the rest.

Let It Loose is a masterpiece. I'm sure you've heard "Happy" on the radio before. A few others too. "Torn and Frayed" and "All Down the Line" have had some air time too.

And if you're not convinced, try and find Phish's rendition of this live. They played the entire thing start to finish and it's glorious.
 
This one, I don't get. I mean, I know it is widely popular, but I have given it numerous listens over the years, and it always strikes me as pretty inconsistent. Tumbling Dice, the only song I've ever heard from it on the radio, is great, and I really like Loving Cup and Shine a Light, but you can have the rest.

Let It Loose is a masterpiece. I'm sure you've heard "Happy" on the radio before. A few others too. "Torn and Frayed" and "All Down the Line" have had some air time too.

And if you're not convinced, try and find Phish's rendition of this live. They played the entire thing start to finish and it's glorious.
The whole thing is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-TKXedgjE8
 
11. The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler


Most bands would kill to release a record as great as this one. But the Stones were just getting revved up. The introduction of Mick Taylor (though he only appears on two songs here) ushered in their greatest era of music.

This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher. But that takes nothing away from this one.

Gimme Shelter
There is something really dark about this song and it’s not just the link to the Altamont tragedy. It just sounds like pitch blackness, a gloom that even the best goth bands could never quite achieve (though not through want of trying ). It’s also one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time, but that might be secondary to the darkness.

Love In Vain
Robert Johnson would have proud. John Lee Hooker WAS proud. If any Stones tune perfectly captured the Mississippi delta era of acoustic blues, this was it.

Country Honk
Honky Tonk Woman as performed by the Carter Family as interpreted by the Stones. Works for me!

Live With Me
Such a great rock song. The definition of a sublime deep cut. Simply outstanding.

Let It Bleed
Still one of the funniest Stones tunes of all time. Yet somehow a heartfelt anthem at the same time. Nicky Hopkins in piano is especially great here.

Midnight Rambler
This blues tune about a serial killer is among The Rolling Stones’ greatest ever songs for sure. I believe Keith Richards has this as the most favorite thing he ever composed. As much as I love this, I might like the live version (from Get Yer Yayas Out!) even more.

You Got the Silver
Underrated classic ballad. Susan Tedeschi, mentioned earlier in the thread, does a splendid cover.

Monkey Man
More darkness. Like Gimme Shelter and Midnight Rambler, this tune can’t help but leave you with a sense of nervousness, given both the performance and subject matter. But of course it’s also incredible rock.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
After the children stop singing, that guitar is so sublime. It gets me every time. And I think this might be Mick’s best ever vocals.
Merry Clayton's backing vocals on Gimme Shelter take it to another level. At times in the song her voice sounds like it is about to give out. I've seen some interviews with her about the recording process and I can understand why.
Read somewhere that she was pregnant at the time and ended up losing the baby and sort of blamed it on this session. Not sure if that's true.
 
11. The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed (1969)

Classic rock radio hits: Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler


Most bands would kill to release a record as great as this one. But the Stones were just getting revved up. The introduction of Mick Taylor (though he only appears on two songs here) ushered in their greatest era of music.

This is an outstanding, amazing album and if anyone wants to rank it as the Stones best I won’t argue. Even though I have two other records even higher. But that takes nothing away from this one.

Gimme Shelter
There is something really dark about this song and it’s not just the link to the Altamont tragedy. It just sounds like pitch blackness, a gloom that even the best goth bands could never quite achieve (though not through want of trying ). It’s also one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time, but that might be secondary to the darkness.

Love In Vain
Robert Johnson would have proud. John Lee Hooker WAS proud. If any Stones tune perfectly captured the Mississippi delta era of acoustic blues, this was it.

Country Honk
Honky Tonk Woman as performed by the Carter Family as interpreted by the Stones. Works for me!

Live With Me
Such a great rock song. The definition of a sublime deep cut. Simply outstanding.

Let It Bleed
Still one of the funniest Stones tunes of all time. Yet somehow a heartfelt anthem at the same time. Nicky Hopkins in piano is especially great here.

Midnight Rambler
This blues tune about a serial killer is among The Rolling Stones’ greatest ever songs for sure. I believe Keith Richards has this as the most favorite thing he ever composed. As much as I love this, I might like the live version (from Get Yer Yayas Out!) even more.

You Got the Silver
Underrated classic ballad. Susan Tedeschi, mentioned earlier in the thread, does a splendid cover.

Monkey Man
More darkness. Like Gimme Shelter and Midnight Rambler, this tune can’t help but leave you with a sense of nervousness, given both the performance and subject matter. But of course it’s also incredible rock.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
After the children stop singing, that guitar is so sublime. It gets me every time. And I think this might be Mick’s best ever vocals.
Merry Clayton's backing vocals on Gimme Shelter take it to another level. At times in the song her voice sounds like it is about to give out. I've seen some interviews with her about the recording process and I can understand why.
Read somewhere that she was pregnant at the time and ended up losing the baby and sort of blamed it on this session. Not sure if that's true.
In the Documentary "20 Feet From Stardom", she said she was called to the recording session in the middle of the night. She showed up with her hair in curlers and she was pregnant. She said Mick pushed her to put more emotion into her words and felt the strain/stress of the session led to the miscarriage.
 
I have received four lists and none of them are identical.

5 votes - 6 albums (32)
4 votes - 3 album (3)
3 votes - 1 albums (4)
2 votes - 1 albums (1)


I think @Ghost Rider nails it saying one "will be deemed to old" which brings another album into play.
5 votes - 6 albums (30)
4 votes - 3 album (12)
3 votes - 1 albums (3)
2 votes - 1 albums (2)
1 vote - 3 albums (3)

Revised for @AAABatteries entry.
 
I have received four lists and none of them are identical.

5 votes - 6 albums (32)
4 votes - 3 album (3)
3 votes - 1 albums (4)
2 votes - 1 albums (1)


I think @Ghost Rider nails it saying one "will be deemed to old" which brings another album into play.
5 votes - 6 albums (30)
4 votes - 3 album (12)
3 votes - 1 albums (3)
2 votes - 1 albums (2)
1 vote - 3 albums (3)

Revised for @AAABatteries entry.

I’m not sure I understand how to read this. Can you explain for a middle aged dummy like myself?
 
I have received four lists and none of them are identical.

5 votes - 6 albums (32)
4 votes - 3 album (3)
3 votes - 1 albums (4)
2 votes - 1 albums (1)


I think @Ghost Rider nails it saying one "will be deemed to old" which brings another album into play.
5 votes - 6 albums (30)
4 votes - 3 album (12)
3 votes - 1 albums (3)
2 votes - 1 albums (2)
1 vote - 3 albums (3)

Revised for @AAABatteries entry.

I’m not sure I understand how to read this. Can you explain for a middle aged dummy like myself?
All five of you guys pick 6 identical albums
 

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