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100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

From “Paint It Black” to “Shine a Light” – the hottest rocks from the Stones’ 50-year career, chosen by our expert panel of writers, critics and artists

The Rolling Stones

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To make the list, we asked each of these Stones experts to rank their 50 favorite songs, then tabulated the results.

The Panel: Patrick Carney (the Black Keys), Jonathan Cott (contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Cameron Crowe (director), Anthony DeCurtis (contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Jon Dolan (contributing editor, Rolling Stone), David Fricke (Senior Writer, Rolling Stone), Robert Greenfield (journalist and author), Will Hermes (contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Robert Hilburn (journalist and author), Howard Kramer (Director of Curatorial Affairs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Chuck Leavell (musician), Jonathan Lethem (novelist), Martin Scorsese (director), Rob Sheffield (contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Lucinda Williams (singer-songwriter), Warren Zanes (the Del Fuegos)

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83

“Little Red Rooster” (1965)

One of Jagger's most potent early sex-god moments was manifest on this Howlin' Wolf cover, which the band released as a U.K. single in November '64 against all advice. "We wanted to make a statement," said Richards, with a challenge to the label: "See if you can get that to the top of the charts, motherfucker." Sure enough, it hit Number One. Foreshadowing events to come, it was cut without inviting Jones, who laid down his slithering slide part after the fact.

The Rolling Stones

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82

“Out of Time” (1966)

The Stones' greatest Motown-style rave-up is about turning down an ex-lover (or "poor discarded baby") who wants to get back together. The band didn't release it as a single until 1975, but Jagger produced a version by British blues singer Chris Farlowe (signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label), which was a U.K. hit in July 1966.

The Rolling Stones

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81

“Child of the Moon” (1967)

The delicious, droning flip of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a fond farewell of sorts to the psychedelia of the Their Satanic Majesties Request era. The sax is Jones, and the subject is likely Jagger's girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. As love letters go, it's pretty impressive: "Child of the moon/Give me a wide-awake, crescent-shaped smile."