In every single way, The Rolling Stones are the Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World. They created the blueprint for guitar groups. They took rock’n’roll rebellion to new heights. They were the first band to master the art of playing arenas and effortlessly move into stadiums, and have remained the world’s top concert attraction with every successive record-breaking tour. They made some of the most influential albums of the late sixties and early seventies.
But, above all, they have consistently recorded the most exciting singles made by any artist. Not in any era, but in every era.
Lavishly packaged and released both as a physical and digital set, The Rolling Stones Singles (1971-2006) box set collects the amazing run of forty-five 45s the group has issued over the last four decades. Amongst many gems, it includes US chart-toppers such as the irresistible ‘Brown Sugar‘, the beautiful ballad ‘Angie’ and the floor-filler par excellence ‘Miss You’, as well as the infectious rockers ‘Mixed Emotions’ and ‘Don’t Stop’.
The new box set also highlights the band’s rock and roll and rhythm’n’blues roots, and showcases their wonderful cover versions of Chuck Berry’s ‘Let It Rock’, the Temptations’ ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ ‘Going to a Go-Go’, Bob & Earl’s ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. And it brings the group’s compelling story up to date with the soulful ‘Streets Of Love’, ‘Rain Fall Down’ and ‘Biggest Mistake’, their most recent studio recordings.
Time and again, The Rolling Stones Singles (1971-2006) demonstrates why they are the ultimate singles band. More than any other act, The Rolling Stones understand the immediacy and the potency of the format. Their timeless music has often been at its most exhilarating blaring out of juke-boxes or car radios, or booming out of nightclubs speakers, but it has also sound-tracked many a slow dance or first kiss and still adds drama and layers of meaning to a myriad films and TV programmes.
By 1971, The Rolling Stones had topped the UK singles charts eight times and established themselves as the ‘enfants terribles’ of the rock generation. Leaving Britain that year, they became the modern equivalent of wandering minstrels, free to record wherever the fancy took them, from the French Riviera to California via Jamaica, New York and Montserrat. Every single time, the results were astonishing. The rolling groove of ‘Tumbling Dice’, the garage rock of ‘Happy‘, the anthemic cry of ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’, the falsetto soul of ‘Fool To Cry’, the sweaty funk of ‘Hot Stuff’, the heartfelt fluidity of ‘Beast Of Burden’, the snarling urgency of ‘Respectable’ and ‘Shattered’ sound-tracked the seventies.
The group grew ever more versatile in the eighties, changing mood and tack and excelling in every genre with every single release. ‘Emotional Rescue’ bossed the dance-floors, ‘Start Me Up’ exemplified Keith Richards’ on-going mastery of the riff, and, not for the first time, Mick Jagger came over all sensitive on ‘Waiting On A Friend’ and ‘Almost Hear You Sigh’. The Glimmer Twins pulled no punches on ‘Undercover Of The Night’, ‘One Hit (To The Body)’ and ‘Highwire‘, their 1991 single, and the singer’s most controversial lyric in two decades.
In the nineties, The Rolling Stones kept their sticky fingers on the pulse of popular culture. They let remixers Teddy Riley, Deep Dish and Todd Terry loose on the likes of ‘Love Is Strong’, ‘Saint Of Me’ and ‘Out Of Control’, and they featured rapper Biz Markie on the incredibly catchy ‘Anybody Seen My Baby?‘.
And we haven’t even mentioned the deep cuts that were singles in the US or Continental Europe only, like the much covered ‘Wild Horses’, ‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)’, ‘She’s So Cold’, ‘Hang Fire’, ‘Rock And A Hard Place’, ‘Terrifying’ and ‘Sex Drive’, or the live versions of their sixties hits ‘Time Is On My Side’ and ‘Ruby Tuesday’, concert staples issued as A-sides in the eighties and nineties.
The set comes in a striking pink box featuring the band’s trademark tongue design, styled on the original 7” ‘house-sleeves’. It’s overflowing with all-time classic hits, collectable B-sides and hidden gems. Across 45 CDs, lovingly recreating the original releases in miniature picture sleeves, it contains 173 tracks, 80 of which are not currently available officially.
The box also houses a 32-page hardback book packed with memorabilia, period photos and a new essay by renowned journalist, broadcaster and Rolling Stones expert Paul Sexton, as well as an exclusive new interview with Bill Wyman, the band’s former bassist and on-going archivist.
Many people have specific memories attached to certain Rolling Stones singles and will enjoy reliving them all over again. Many music fans have been trying to replace dog-eared copies of the original 7” and 12” vinyl singles and will love reconnecting with old friends. Many collectors will relish the opportunity to have every single mix and permutation of tracks released on various formats throughout the heady days of the seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties readily available in this sumptuous package.