Our 10 Best 1970’s Rolling Stones Songs list focuses obviously (based on the article’s title) of the music the Rolling Stones released during their 1970’s period. Many would argue including ourselves, that the Rolling Stones 1970’s period was the band most prolific as songwriters. Of course, The Rolling Stones released great materiel during their 1960’s period including some of the biggest hits of their career, however the 1970’s saw the release of Rolling Stones albums such as Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, and Some Girls. Three of the best Rolling Stones albums ever released. The 1970s also included three other Rolling Stones classic albums such as It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Goats Head Soup and Black and Blue.
It would have been easy to just cover the big hit singles on this 10 Best 1970’s Rolling Stones Songs list. Yet, some of the band greatest songs were never released as singles. Just about every songs on every album is brilliant, so its no easy task to only choose ten. But that’s what make this so much fun. We tried composing a list that was balanced between the mega hit singles that we could not leave off the list and the incredible albums tracks that we wanted to celebrate.
# 10 – It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
We open up our 10 Best 1970’s Rolling Stones songs with the legendary Rolling Stones song “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It).” The Rolling Stones were celebrating ten years of releasing great rock and roll albums when they released this classic song. The song appeared on the album of the same name It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll in 1974. We love this great video that the Stones did with it. The band looks like there all having a great times as usual in this clip. Its nice to see Mick Taylor and the rest of the boys looking so young in a 1970s Rolling Stones video.
# 9 – Sweet Virginia
The great song “Sweet Virginia,” was released on the Rolling Stones album Exile On Main Street. The album was released in 1972. Many critics and fans argue that Exile On Main Street stands as the best Rolling Stones album ever released. Originally issued as a two record set, there were so many great songs to choose from the album for our 10 Best 1970’s Rolling Stones songs list. You pretty much can;t go wrong with picking any one of them. Nonetheless, one of our favorites and also a favorite of the Rolling Stones themselves as they keep reissuing different versions of it, is the great song “Sweet Virginia.”
# 8 – Miss You
There was no way we were leaving this great Rolling Stones song of this list. Easily one of the best grooves the Rolling Stones have ever placed on vinyl. “Miss You,” was a huge Rolling Stones hit. The song was released on their spectacular 1978 album Some Girls. One of our favorite Rolling Stones albums.
# 7 -Silver Train
The Rolling Stones song “Silver Train,” was released on the Rolling Stones album Goats Head Soup. The album was released in 1973. “Silver Train,” served as the b side to the album’s huge hit “Angie.” It was tough to leave “Angie,” off this 70’s Rolling Stones list. However, I remember always playing the b side to the “Angie,” single I owned in the 70s more times than I played the a side. Still do!
# 6 – Tumbling Dice
For an album as brilliant as Exile on Main St, its interesting that the Rolling Stones only released two singles from the album. I guess it’s because the 1970s were a different time for bands. Musical artists tended to release an album a year and some even two albums a year. So there was not a lot of time to release multiple singles from each record. By the time the first or second single started to fade, the band was ready to release the next album. We saw this with many artists like Elton John and Billy Joel in the 1970s.
# 5 – Wild Horses
For as many great rock and roll songs the Rolling Stones released throughout their legendary career, there were always a handful of ballads that stood up to their rockers just as well. The classic ballad “Wild Horses,” stands as one of their best. The song “Wild Horses,” was released on the album Sticky Fingers. The album and single were released in 1971.
# 4 – Brown Sugar
“Brown Sugar,” stands as one of the biggest singles the Rolling Stones released in the 1970s. The song was released on the album Sticky Fingers. The song was originally written in 1969 but was not released on vinyl until it was issued as the first single from the Sticky Fingers album. The song hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. It was a number one single in many other countries just as well.
# 3 – Beast Of Burden
The great Rolling Stones album Some Girls contained so many fantastic new songs by the Stones. Released towards the end of the disco era while punk still simmered and new wave was on the horizon, Some Girls was a welcome surprise for Rolling Stones fans. The album presented fans with a collection of modern sounding grooves blended with that traditional Rolling Stones sound crossing multiple musical genres but never straying too far away. “Beast of Burden,” defined all of that in its most wonderful Stones like style.
# 2 – Memory Motel
The Rolling Stones album Black and Blue welcomed aboard the newest member of The Rolling Stones named Ron Wood, The album was defined in part by contributions by pianists Nicky Hopkins and and Billy Preston. While the album utilized some elements of reggae in a few of the songs it was not a reggae album, it was a great Rolling Stones album and probably one of their most underrated. “Memory Motel,” was side one’s closing track. This was by far Rolling Stones fans favorite song when the album first came out. There is a sweet sincerity in the song that connected with everyone immediately.
# 1 – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
While the average or casual Rolling Stones fan may be surprised at our choice for the number one song on our 10 Best 1970’s Rolling Stones songs list, we think the hardcore Rolling Stones fans would agree with us. The classic track “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” was a seven minute recorded masterpiece by the Rolling Stones. This was The Rolling Stones at their best. As both musicians and songwriters coming together to celebrate their talents in an amazing and artistic jam on a well written song and performance for the ages. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” was released on the album Sticky Fingers.
Check out these other fun Rolling Stones Best Of Articles.
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1970s Rolling Stones Discography
Exile on Main St.
Goats Head Soup
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll
Black and Blue