As the following list of Rolling Stones Albums Ranked Worst to Best makes clear, the Stones really are a band of wealth and taste. We’re not talking money or that iconic tongue logo; this is about the group’s armload of album releases, dating back to 1964. There are many of them, and the vast majority range from pretty good to phenomenally classic. Even the “bad” Stones records manage to showcase a consistency, drive and tunefulness worthy of their creators.
So how do you go about ranking all of the Stones’ LPs? How do you compare an early record of blazing R&B covers to a late-career attempt to show the band could still play with fire? “Little Red Rooster” is amazing. So is “Sway.” So is “She Was Hot.” So is “Love Is Strong.” The great songs don’t work as a barometer. Do you know what does? Filler. No matter where a Stones album sits on the spectrum, it’s bound to include some filler: jams, goofs, pastiches, bizarre meanderings, etc. Yes, even the hallowed Exile on Main St. features some filler, it just happens to be excitingly performed, strangely beguiling … well, junk. If the Stones could create glorious transcendence out of “Monkey Man” or find tattered fun in “Far Away Eyes,” their respective albums only improved. The more killer the filler, the better the record.
Before we begin, we should note that we are using the U.S. editions of the Stones’ albums for this list. Before 1967, the band’s U.K. and U.S. releases differed in track selection, order and number of albums put out. (There are two “extra” U.S. LPs, counterbalanced by non-album singles and EPs in the U.K.) As such, U.S. discography is more comprehensive – although far from perfect – and, regardless, everything from Their Satanic Majesties Request onward is the same.
Ready to journey through the past (darkly)?
Rolling Stones Albums Ranked
Ready to journey through the past (darkly)? Check out Rolling Stones Albums Ranked Worst to Best.