10. Exile On Main Street (1972)

I've been criticized by Stones fans for my thoughts on this double album, the LP many consider the band's best. I do have deep affection for some songs here (like "Rocks Off," Sweet Virginia," " Tumbling Dice," "Happy," and "Rip This Joint"). Had Exile been a leaner single album and not bloated with filler songs like "Turd on the Run,"  "Stop Breaking Down," and "Ventilator Blues," it might be my favorite, too.

Listen: "Happy"

 

9. It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974)
 
This was the last album made with Mick Taylor, though the title cut was actually written by Taylor's replacement, Ron Wood, who wasn't even credited! Another great one is "Till the Next Goodbye," a ballad that people don't seem to know, but should.

Listen: "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)"

 

8. Between the Buttons (1967)

This one is something like Aftermath, with Brian Jones playing another ten or so different instruments on it. "Ruby Tuesday" in particular, sails along on Jones' recorder. However, despite all the left-field instrumental choices, Between the Buttons contains the usual high-powered Stones rockers, like "Let's Spend the Night Together."

Listen: "Ruby Tuesday"

 

7. England's Newest Hit Makers (1964 )

This was the Stones' U.S. debut and a solid piece of work, start to finish. It's all covers on here, with the exception of "Tell Me," which is the album's best song. More than anything, this album showed the Stones at their rawest and clued American rock fans into the fact that something new was coming from across the pond. 

Listen: "Tell Me"

 

6. A Bigger Bang (2005)

Hear me out. Not only is A Bigger Bang one of Jagger's best albums (he pulls double duty on the excellent blues tune "Back Of My Hand," contributing slide guitar and harp), but it's also one of the band's most consistent: every song on the record is great. There's none of the filler one might expect from men forty years into their life as a band. "Rough Justice" is another mean cut.

Listen: "Back Of My Hand"

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