100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

Jan Persson/Redferns31/100

31. "Dead Flowers" (1971)

This campy honky-tonk jam is part sendup – "[I] think a lot of country music is sung with the tongue in cheek, so I do it tongue-in-cheek," Jagger said. Yet it's utterly convincing: a boozy dressing-down of a former girlfriend that doubles as a kiss-off to the flower-power Sixties, recorded under the clear influence of Richards' drug buddy Gram Parsons. That balance of revelry and mourning, in fact, is what makes it a great country tune, and why Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, among the many who have covered it, helped to make it a genre classic.

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