The Rolling Stones, known for their rock and roll music, lost a key member of their group, Charlie Watts at age 80. PHOTO CREDIT: biography.com
The music industry lost one of the greats last month with the passing of Charlie Watts. While an accomplished drummer in multiple genres, including jazz, he is most remembered as the backbeat of one of the most famous bands of all time, “The Rolling Stones.” In tribute to the late great drummer and band, I’m ranking the albums of the decade they are most associated with: the 1960s.
8. “The Rolling Stones”/”England’s Newest Hit Makers” (1964)
Titled as “England’s Newest Hit Makers” in the United States, this was the debut album of one of rock’s most prestigious bands. It is just okay. While it’s called “Hit Makers,” there’s only has a handful of original songs, two of them under fake names. It is interesting to see where a band or artist starts off, but this is not a great album.
7. “The Rolling Stones No. 2” (1965)
It’s basically the same album as the first. Released at the beginning of 1965, the Stones just covered more Chuck Berry songs and other R&B staples on the radio, including The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk,” which was still on the charts! It does have “Time is on My Side” though, so at least there’s one song people remember.
6. “Their Satanic Majesties Request” (1967)
The Beach Boys had “Pet Sounds” that led to the Beatles making “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which, in turn, led to the Stones making this album. With a cover obviously more-than-inspired by “Sgt. Pepper,” “Their Satanic Majesties Request” is a fun album. The song “She’s A Rainbow” and the album itself stands out as very out-of-place in the Stones’ hit catalog when compared to their more traditional rock and roll sound. But even if it is not their greatest achievement, it is still a good album that is worth a listen, if just to prove that there was more depth to this band than presumed.
5. “Let it Bleed” (1969)
The Stones ended the decade with a classic. Starting with one of their best songs, “Gimme Shelter,” the album is kind of hit-or-miss, but ends with another classic, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Still, there are more hits than misses. Though without musician Brian Jones, it doesn’t have the same flair as some of their other hit albums.
4. “Out of Our Heads” (1965)
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is the highlight of this one. While it is still filled with covers from the likes of Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke, it is where the Stones start to show the personality they were known for. This is also when the Stones became both the prototype for a rock and roll band and the biggest name in music at the time.
3. “Between the Buttons” (1967)
There’s a famous clip of Mick Jagger rolling his eyes while singing the title line “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” This was clearly daring for the time and had to be censored on television. This was more experimental than other albums released by the band at the time, with more emphasis on strings and psychedelic influence. With “Ruby Tuesday,” a song that is far more pop than rock, we got to see true artistry that was not shown prior to this release.
2. “Aftermath” (1966)
The sitar on “Paint it Black” is enough to get this album a high ranking. The album is just full of good songs through and through; maybe not a whole lot of great songs, but there is so much personality and charisma from the band in this record that you cannot help but be amazed by it. There are layers to them never before seen, and that earns “Aftermath” its number two spot on the list.
1. “Beggars Banquet” (1968)
“Sympathy for the Devil” is the best song the Stones ever released; it is full of influence from world music with a hard rock edge that influenced all rock bands of the 1970s. Songs like “Street Fighting Man” inspired the sounds of bands like Fleetwood Mac, while Watts’ drumming influenced everyone from “The Who” to “Led Zeppelin.” This got the band its name: “The Greatest Rock Band in the World,” and it’s clear why.