16. "Beast of Burden" (1978)
"Beast of Burden" is the outlaw ballad that caught the mood of the Stones at the end of the Seventies: embattled and staring down an uncertain future – but still totally open to getting laid. In 1978, the band's existence was threatened by Richards' drug problems. As Richards put it, "It was a rejuvenation, surprisingly for such a dark moment, when it was possible I would go to jail and the Stones would dissolve. But maybe that was part of it. Let's get something down before it happens." "Beast of Burden" is a prime example of Richards' meshing with his songwriting partner – and his new guitar foil, Ron Wood. It is the song that told the world that Wood was in the band, just as "Honky Tonk Women" had for Taylor. "You have to be intuitively locked to do that, and Ronnie and I are like that," Richards said. "'Beast of Burden' is a good example of the two of us twinkling felicitously together. So we said, 'Let's get it on.' "