100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

Robert Knight Archive/Redferns21/100

21. "Rocks Off" (1972)

"Winging it. Staying up all night . . . stoned on something," Jagger said, describing the chaotic working environment of the Exile sessions in France. "Rocks Off," the album's first track, throws you into that tumult without warning: a dense tangle of barking guitars; horns blaring like rush-hour traffic, with Jagger's nocturnal irritation ("The sunshine bores the daylight out of me") fighting through the din. The guitar sound marks a turn for Richards. "That's five-string open tuning to the max," he said of Exile and "Rocks Off" in particular. "I was starting to really fix my trademark."

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