Rock stars have a reputation for being wild. However, they sing about love as much as their counterparts in other music genres. The Rolling Stones are no exception to this rule. Granted, a good chunk of their music is more about what one might call love-adjacent matters than love itself. Still, Rolling Stones love songs aren’t exactly uncommon. Indeed, some of them have managed to hold up quite well despite the passage of time, meaning it is worth talking about the best of their best in this regard.
Top 10 Rolling Stones Love Songs
#10 – That’s How Strong My Love Is
Roosevelt Jamison penned “That’s How Strong My Love Is” in 1964. Its use of nature metaphors seems to have pleased a lot of people. As a result, the soul singer O.V. Wright released the first recorded version in 1964. After which, The Rolling Stones, the In Crowd, and the Hollies recorded their respective versions in 1965. Since then, more than a score of other music acts have released their interpretations of the song. Despite that, The Rolling Stones version stands out as either the best or one of the best.
#9 – Let’s Spend the Night Together
The Rolling Stones have been around for a long time. Thanks to that, some of their songs that were once controversial are now innocuous. “Let’s Spend the Night Together” is an excellent example of these songs. Back in the day, The Rolling Stones had to change “let’s spend the night together” to “let’s spend some time together” before Ed Sullivan would let them perform on his show in 1967. Mick Jagger famously rolled his eyes while doing so, thus prompting Sullivan to declare the band banned from performing on his show ever again. The ban didn’t last very long because the band was back just a couple of years later.
#8 – As Tears Go By
“As Tears Go By” has the distinction of being one of the Rolling Stones’ first original songs. Supposedly, the band’s manager Andrew Loog Oldham locked Jagger and Keith Richards in a kitchen to force them to write something together. The result was surprisingly good, so much so that Oldham decided to give it to the singer Marianne Faithfull. It became a hit in her hands. Eventually, The Rolling Stones recorded their own version, which became a hit in their hands. “As Tears Go By” is remarkably open to interpretation. As a result, it isn’t hard to read themes of love and loss in its lyrics.
#7 – Moonlight Mile
Generally speaking, people interpret “Moonlight Mile” as a reflection of the inner weariness that presumably exists beneath Mick Jagger’s public persona. True or not, it is quite good as a highly emotional song about returning to one’s significant other. Amusingly, some people interpret the song in a much more allegorical light. In their opinion, it describes cocaine use rather than an actual homecoming, though Jagger has always denied this. Either way, “Moonlight Mile” remains as evocative as ever.
#6 – She’s A Rainbow
Psychedelic rock was big in the late 1960s. In those times, there were two main branches. One was the harder and heavier acid rock of the American West Coast. The other was the more surreal stuff coming out of the United Kingdom. The Rolling Stones had a psychedelic rock phase like pretty much everyone else from the era. “She’s A Rainbow” is a great reminder of that. Strictly speaking, the song isn’t necessarily a love song. Still, it is very easy to interpret it that way, particularly since its lyrics are quite clear that the titular woman is quite attractive from the singer’s perspective.
#5 – Till the Next Goodbye
“Till the Next Goodbye” is a love song. Even so, it is packed with roiling emotions, with love being one of them. The context makes it clear there are two lovers whose relationship must remain clandestine for some reason. After all, a coffee shop on Manhattan’s 42nd Street would not have been a good place to meet up in the 1970s. If anything, it would have been quite disreputable, which rather limits the range of possible interpretations. There is a powerful draw between the two lovers. Simultaneously, the nature of their relationship is putting enormous stress on them. That narrative pairing gives this song the sense of tension that it needs to be great.
#4 – Winter
The Rolling Stones made “Winter” while they were in Jamaica, which is a neat bit of contrast. The song shows some understandable negativity about the season. Simultaneously, it is a celebration of winter’s brighter aspects, which include the time spent with a loved one.
#3 – Angie
“Angie” was the lead single for 1973’s Goats Head Soup. Its credits mention both Jagger and Richards, but it is well-known to be a Richards song for the most part. Unsurprisingly, people have puzzled over who “Angie” refers to. Richards once claimed that it referred to his daughter. In 2010, he stated that he had chosen the name at random before he knew that his daughter was even going to be a daughter, meaning that particular answer can’t be the right one. As for Jagger, his contributions supposedly referenced the breakdown of his relationship with Faithfull.
#2 – Wild Horses
“Wild Horses” is one of the Rolling Stones’ better-regarded songs even though it is also one of the band’s more unusual songs. Some say that is attributable to the country musician Gram Parsons, who was spending time with the band at the time. Whatever the case, “Wild Horses” stands out because of it. There is a great deal of regret packed into the song. As a result, it has a rather bittersweet feel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The bitterness is unpleasant, but its inclusion makes the sweetness that much better through the magic of contrast.
#1 – Lady Jane
“Lady Jane” is a pledge of devotion. It came at a major transition point in the Rolling Stones’ career. After all, it was on Aftermath, the first time when Jagger and Richards dominated the writing credits. Meanwhile, even though Brian Jones’ role in the band was becoming less critical, he was still capable of integrating new instruments into the band’s musical repertoire. Jones is the reason “Lady Jane” features a dulcimer, which isn’t exactly the first instrument people think of when they think of rock music. That is because the dulcimer is an instrument of the Appalachian Mountains, emerging among Scotch-Irish immigrant communities in the region around the early 19th century. Even so, the Rolling Stones used it in “Lady Jane” to beautiful effect.
Top 10 Rolling Stones Love Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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