3 Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like The Rolling Stones

Formed in 1962 in London, the blues-rock band The Rolling Stones have been preening, performing, and playing music ever since. The group, which is fronted by Mick Jagger and bolstered by his songwriting partner and master guitar player Keith Richards, continues to tour and release music—their most recent album being the 2023 offering Hackney Diamonds.

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But despite their longevity and knack for connecting with giant crowds, the British-born band has critics and detractors. Some may not like Jagger’s rooster-like stage presence. Some may think they’ve been around too long. But whatever the criticism, we wanted to create this list of songs to retort. Here below are a trio of Stones tracks that are too good to deny.

[RELATED: 3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by The Rolling Stones]

“Start Me Up” from Tattoo You (1981)

When it comes to The Rolling Stones, truer words were never spoken. Indeed, once they got started, they simply never stopped. Released on the band’s 1981 LP Tattoo You, this track also features a well-known music video in which a purple-shirted Jagger dances and moves as only he (and a peacock) can. Musically, the track is fun and buzzy and it’s a mainstay these days on classic rock radio. On the track, Jagger sings,

If you start me up
If you start me up, I’ll never stop
If you start me up
If you start me up, I’ll never stop

I’ve been running hot
You got me ticking, now don’t blow my top
If you start me up
If you start me up, I’ll never stop
Never stop, never stop, never stop

“Paint It, Black” from Aftermath (1966)

Originally released as a single, this track was later added to the U.S. release of the group’s 1966 LP Aftermath. As far as its composition, the song began from a sitar improvisation from former band member (and founder) Brian Jones. Musically, it is one of the more unique and interesting songs from The Rolling Stones. It has depth and surprise and a darkness to it that has made it a fan favorite over the decades. With lyrics about loss, the song has also been used in myriad movies and television shows. On it, Jagger sings,

I see a red door
And I want it painted black
No colors anymore
I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by
Dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head
Until my darkness goes

“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” from Sticky Fingers (1971)

Featuring one of the most well known guitar openings in classic rock history, this song comes from the band’s iconic 1971 LP Sticky Fingers. This song, which features excellent growling vocals from Jagger, originally was supposed to be a sub-three-minute track but, not knowing the tape machines were still on, the band improvised a jam that lasted another four-plus minutes that the group decided to keep. To quote painter Bob Ross, it’s one of those “happy accidents.” In the end, the jam may even be better than the song! Either way, on the offering, Jagger sings,

Yeah, you got satin shoes
Yeah, you got plastic boots
Y’all got cocaine eyes
Yeah, you got speed freak jive, now

Can’t you hear me knockin’
On your window?
Can’t you hear me knockin’
On your door?
Can’t you hear me knockin’
Down your dirty street?

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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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