|First posted 8/29/2009; last updated: 11/16/2020.|
A Retrospective: 1962-1971
A Brief History: Considered by many to be the greatest rock and roll band of all time, the Rolling Stones have put together a career lasting more than 50 years. As a result, they’ve released multiple compilations and sorting them out can be quite a chore. As such, the DMDB has put together two pages focused on just a sampling of the compilations released throughout their career. This page covers 1962 to 1971, the years the band was on Decca in the U.K. and London Records in the U.S. Check out the 1971-2002 compilations page as well.
The Players from 1962-1971:
* Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) and Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2) had different track listings in the U.S. and UK, hence the two sets of codes for each album.
When the Stones formed their own label, ABKCO took control of the Stones’ 1963-70 catalog and released two double compilations – Hot Rocks 1964-1971 and More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) – which essentially made the Big Hits collections obsolete. Only Little Red Rooster and You Better Move On didn’t make it to the Hot Rocks collections.
In 1989, the three-disc The Singles Collection – The London Years, was released to cover all the official singles of the 1963-1971 era. Consequently, it put most of the material from the Hot Rocks sets into one box set.
** Finally, the Forty Licks set is a double-disc career retrospective. Only the first disc is covered on this page. For disc two material, check out the 1971-2002 retrospective page.
The Studio Albums:
These studio albums have their own DMDB pages, but are spotlighted here. The snapshots of the studio albums will indicate all songs featured on any of the compilations, noted with the codes above. Appearing after song titles are the writers in italics, the time of the song in brackets, and then, in parentheses, the date the song was released as a single (if relevant) and its peaks on various charts. Click for codes to singles charts.
The Rolling Stones (EP, 1964):
Before Decca Records would commit to a full-length album from the Rolling Stones, they released this EP of four cover songs to test the market. It reached #1 on the UK’s EP chart.
The Rolling Stones/England’s Newest Hit Makers (1964):
This was the debut album from the Stones. It was released as The Rolling Stones in the UK in April 1964 and reached #1. A month later, it was released in the U.S. as England’s Newest Hit Makers, peaking at #11. The track listing was almost identical, with the U.S. version substituting the band’s cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away instead of the cover of Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)” featured on the UK version.
12 x 5 (1964):
This U.S.-only album reached #3. It was an expansion of the UK EP Five by Five, adding the singles It’s All Over Now and Time Is on My Side, as well as their B-sides, and three other songs.
No. 2/Now! (1965):
The Stones’ second album in the UK was called No. 2. It reached #1 and featured cover songs with a few originals. In the U.S., the album was released as Now! with some differences, notably the inclusion of singles Heart of Stone and Little Red Rooster. It reached #5.
Out of Our Heads (1965):
The title was the same for the U.S. and UK releases, where it reached numbers 1 and 2 respectively, but the track listings were different. , Play with Fire, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, and The Spider and the Fly only appeared on the U.S. version. I’m Free only appeared on the UK version.
December’s Children (And Everybody’s) (1965):
This U.S.-only release reached #4. It featured the Get Off of My Cloud single, its UK B-side The Singer Not the Song, the single As Tears Go By, and some leftover cuts from the UK version of Out of Our Heads and the UK EP Got Live if You Want It!
Like Out of Our Heads, this album shared the same title in the U.S. (where it reached #2) and the UK (where it reached #1), but the track listing differed slightly. Paint It Black only appeared on the U.S. version. Out of Time, What to Do, and Mother’s Little Helper were only on the UK version. This was the first Stones’ album to feature all original songs.
Big Hits (High Tides and Green Grass)
The Rolling Stones
About Big Hits (High Tides and Green Grass):
The first compilation from the Stones was released in vastly different versions in the U.S. and UK – and more than six months apart. There are nine songs featured on both collections: Not Fade Away, It’s All Over Now, Time Is on My Side, Heart of Stone, The Last Time, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Get Off of My Cloud, As Tears Go By, and 19th Nervous Breakdown. This was the first album appearance of “Breakdown.”
The American edition also featured Tell Me, Play with Fire, and Good Times, Bad Times. The first two charted in the U.S. (24 and 96 respectively) and the third was the B-side of “It’s All Over Now.”
The UK version featured the Stones’ debut 1963 single Come On, a Chuck Berry cover, and their #1 version of Willie Dixon’s Little Red Rooster. Also unique to the UK edition were the singles Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?, Paint It Black, and Lady Jane. All three were released after the U.S. version of Big Hits; the first two were featured on the next compilation, Through the Past Darkly.
Between the Buttons (1967):
This was the third, and final, Rolling Stones’ album to featured the same title in the U.S. and UK, but different track listings. This one reached #2 in the U.S. and #3 in the UK. The single Ruby Tuesday / Let’s Spend the Night Together was included on the U.S. version, but not the UK edition.
Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967):
It was the first Stones’ album to feature an identical track listing in the U.S. (where it reached #2) and the UK (where it peaked at #3). The band’s attempt at a more psychedelic sound was met with mixed results.
Beggars Banquet (1968):
This reached #5 in the U.S. and #2 in the UK. It is generally the considered the first of the band’s four consecutive masterpieces, the others being Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile on Main Street (1972). All four rank in the the top 100 albums of all time according to the DMDB.
Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)
The Rolling Stones
About Through the Past Darkly:
Like its predecessor, Big Hits (High Tides and Green Grass, this compilation looked very different in its U.S. and UK incarnations. Both collections featured Mother’s Little Helper, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Ruby Tuesday, She’s a Rainbow, 2000 Light Years from Home, and Street Fighting Man. In addition, the two sets also featured Dandelion, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and Honky Tonk Women appearing on album for the first time.
The U.S. version also included Paint It Black and , which had both originally appeared on the UK version of Big Hits. The UK version added You Better Move On from the Stones’ 1964 self-titled EP, Sittin’ on a Fence which was recorded in 1965 during the Aftermath sessions and appeared on the Flowers archival collection, and We Love You, the B-side of “Dandelion.”
The album was released shortly after Stones’ founder Brian Jones left the group and died soon afterward. “In the inside flap of the album, there is a tribute to Jones, which reads: ‘When this you see, remember me, and bear me in your mind. Let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.’” WK-B2
“The name of the album is a play on a line from the KJV translation of I Corinthians 13: "For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: . . .’, but it is more likely the Stones intended an homage to Ingmar Bergman and his 1961 film Through a Glass Darkly.” WK-B2
Let It Bleed (1969):
This reached #1 in the UK and #3 in the U.S. despite failing to send even one song into the top 40. However, You Can’t Always Get What You Want has become an classic rock staple and Let It Bleed ranks as one of the top 100 albums of all time according to the DMDB.
Sticky Fingers (1971):
This was the Stones’ first self-released album. It was their first album to reach #1 in the U.S. and UK. It is one of four Stones’ albums to rank in the the top 100 albums of all time according to the DMDB.
Hot Rocks 1964-1971
The Rolling Stones
About Hot Rocks:
In 1970, the Stones’ former manager Allen Klein reportedly duped the band into signing over the recording copyrights for all of their material from 1963 to 1970. WK-HR The Rolling Stones went on to form their own label, Rolling Stones Records while Klein compiled this retrospective for his company, ABKCO Records. It was the “Rolling Stones’ biggest-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective”WK-HR covering “seven years’ worth of mostly very high-charting – and all influential and important – songs.” AMG
Because the Stones owed Decca Records one more single, the songs Brown Sugar and Wild Horses were co-woned by the band and Klein. The Stones’ released the songs on their 1971 Sticky Fingers album while Klein added them to the Hot Rocks compilation.
This overview of the band’s career thus far lets one hear how the Stones “change from loud R&B-inspired rockers covering others’ songs (Time Is on My Side) into originators in their own right (Satisfaction); then into tastemakers and style-setters with a particularly decadent air (Get Off of My Cloud, 19th Nervous Breakdown); and finally into self-actualized rebel-poets (Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Midnight Rambler) and Shaman-like symbols of chaos.” AMG
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)
The Rolling Stones
About More Hot Rocks:
Originally, the intent of this collection was to feature previously unreleased material under the title Necrophilia. That project was scrapped (although it was revisited in 1975 with Metamorphosis) in favor of this more commercial-friendly package, a natural successor to 1971’s Hot Rocks. This collection featured “the hits that could not be shoehorned onto its predecessor, as well as first-time release of many previously UK-only releases.” WK-MH
It showed what an embarrassment of richies the Stones had in the hits department that this collection still boasts seven top 40 U.S. hits, including the top 10 hits The Last Time and Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?
Notes: In 2002, a CD reissue of More Hot Rocks added “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” a second version of “Poison Ivy,” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”
The Singles Collection – The London Years
The Rolling Stones
About The Singles Collection: The London Years:
This box set collected all the Rolling Stones’ singles and B-sides through 1971, “mostly in their original mono mixes (at least as of the 2002 reissue), in both the UK and US encompassing their entire era with Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States – hence the album’s title.” WK-SC
“The set begins with their very first UK single, Chuck Berry’s Come On, and runs to Sticky Fingers’s Brown Sugar and Wild Horses…The only omissions are four B-sides from 1970 and 1971. ‘Bitch’ and ‘Let It Rock’ (released in the UK on the ‘Brown Sugar’ single) and ‘Sway’ (B-side to ‘Wild Horses’). Allen Klein did not have release rights to this material when this compilation was released. Also ‘Natural Magic,’ a Ry Cooder instrumental, released as the B-side to Memo from Turner, which features no members of the Rolling Stones performing.” WK-SC
“The set was released at a timely juncture, just a couple of weeks before The Rolling Stones’ comeback album Steel Wheels was due for release after a significant break, and months following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...In 2007, Steven Van Zandt placed Singles Collection: The London Years #1 on his list of the most essential albums of all time.” WK-SC
The Rolling Stones
About Forty Licks:
This double-disc compilation offered a forty-year, career-spanning look at the Stones. While the set maddeningly doesn’t play out chronologically, it does collect the band’s Decca/London-era material from 1963-1970 on disc 1 (the years covered by this page) and the band’s self-owned material from 1971 to 2002 on the second disc, which also includes four new songs. For disc two material, check out the 1971-2002 compilations page.
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