100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

Robert Knight Archive/Redferns35/100

35. "Sweet Virginia" (1972)

This beautifully shambling acoustic jam from Exile on Main Street is another song reflecting the country influence of Gram Parsons, along with the druggy atmosphere at Nellcôte, where it was recorded. It name-checks California wine, alludes to pills ("Drop your reds, drop your greens and blues"), and in what might be the album's most memorable line – "Got to scrape that shit right off your shoes!" – riffs off Richards' slang term for low-grade heroin ("Mexican shoe scrapings"). Taylor's liquid guitar runs make it a candidate for the greatest acoustic song in the Stones catalog.

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