Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review & Buyer's Guide - Grrr! - Rolling Stones

When I was younger, I was never a big fan of the Rolling Stones. I didn't dislike them. I just thought they were an above average rock band. While working in radio, we would occasionally run a Beatles/Rolling Stones weekend and I could never see how the music of the two bands could even be compared.

Then I got older…and wiser. I grew to understand the influence of the Stones on music, the talent of each member and the rawness of their sound. Most of all, I started to love their music, not just from the 60's or 70's or 80's, but from throughout their career. They really are one of the most consistent groups of the rock era.

Which brings us to their new career-spanning compilation, Grrr! It's only the second time that their music from the Decca/London Records era of the 60's has been released in the same package as their time with their own label, giving a superb overview of their fifty year career.

The problem is that such a long and successful career requires a lengthy album to be even close to comprehensive, made even worse in the Stones' case by their different sets of popular tracks in the U.K. and the U.S.  For the Stones, their solution was to release three different sets, a 2-CD, a 3-CD and a 4-CD. In concept, that should have led to their biggest tracks on the smallest set, a mix of the same hits with some minor ones on the second and everything on the first two sets along with important album tracks on the third.

Unfortunately, that's not what we got. The 2-CD set does include many of their big hits but concentrated more on the U.K. charts, leaving some top twenty U.S. hits out like Time is On My Side and Heartbreaker (available only on the 3 and 4-CD sets)  and Mother's Little Helper (only on the 4-CD set). Any could have replaced 1978's Respectable, 1997's  Anybody Seen My Baby? and 2002's Don't Stop which appear on all three sets.

Then there are those top 20 hits in the U.S. and U.K. that didn't make the cut for any of the configurations:
  • Tell Me (1964 / #24 U.S.)
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg (1974 / #17 U.S.)
  • Respectable (1978 / #23 U.K.)
  • Hang Fire (1982 / #20 U.S.)
  • Going to a Go-Go (1982 / #25 U.S. / #26 U.K.)
  • One Hit (to the Body) (1986 / #28 U.S. / #80 U.K.)
  • Rock and a Hard Place (1989 / #23 U.S. / #63 U.K.)
  • Out of Tears (1994 / #60 U.S. / #36 U.K.)
  • Like a Rolling Stone (1995 / #109 U.S. / #12 U.K.)
I have trouble recommending any set but the 80 track Super Deluxe, especially since that is the only way to get songs like Play With Fire, I'm Free, Mother's Little Helper, Lady Jane, Midnight Rambler (!), Bitch and She's So Cold, but the exorbitant price for the set ($145.99 at Amazon) puts it out of reach for all but the most ardent fan. Even the 50 track set is a major improvement over the base album with Heart of Stone, Time is On My Side, She's a Rainbow and Under My Thumb; however, there is a $20 difference at Amazon between the 2 and 3-CD sets with only the addition of 10 tracks. 

Which leaves me excited by the prospects of the release but very disappointed and perplexed by the way it was assembled and released. Perhaps we'll have to wait for their 60th anniversary for a new set so that they can get it right.

For those looking to buy one of the editions, here is a chart that lays out the songs on each of the set along with original album and chart information:

Song
First Album Appearance
Charts
40 Track/
2 CDs
50 Track/
3 CDs
80 Track/ 
4 CDs
Come On
   Big Hits, 1966
   1963 / #21 U.K.
X
X
X
I Wanna Be Your Man
   Milestones, 1972
   1963 / #12 U.K.
X
Not Fade Away
   England's Newest Hit Makers, 1964
   1964 / #48 U.S. / #3 U.K.
X
X
X
That's How Strong My Love Is
   Out of Our Heads, 1965
X
It's All Over Now
   12x5, 1964
   1964 / #26 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
Little Red Rooster
   The Rolling Stones Now, 1965
   1964 / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
The Last Time
   Out of Our Heads, 1965
   1965 / #9 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
   Out of Our Heads, 1965
   1965 / #1 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
Heart of Stone
   The Rolling Stones Now, 1965
   1964 / #19 U.S.
X
X
Get Off My Cloud
   December's Children, 1965
   1965 / #1 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
She Said Yeah
   Milestones, 1972
X
I'm Free
   Out of Our Heads, 1965
X
Play With Fire
   Out of Our Heads, 1965
   1965 / #96 U.S.
X
Time is On My Side
   12x5, 1964
   1964 / #6 U.S.
X
X
19th Nervous Breakdown
   Big Hits, 1966
   1966 / #2 U.S. / #2 U.K.
X
X
X
Paint It, Black
   Aftermath, 1966
   1966 / #1 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?
   Big Hits, 1966
   1966 / #9 U.S. / #5 U.K.
X
X
X
She's a Rainbow
   Their Satanic Majesty's Request, 1967
   1967 / #25 U.S.
X
X
Under My Thumb
   Aftermath, 1966
X
X
Out of Time
   Metamorphosis, 1975
   1975 / #81 U.S. / #45 U.K.
X
As Tears Go By
   December's Children, 1965
   1965 / #6 U.S.
X
X
X
Let's Spend the Night Together
   Between the Buttons, 1967
   1967 / #55 U.S. / #3 U.K.
X
X
X
Mother's Little Helper
   Aftermath, 1966
   1966 / #8 U.S.
X
We Love You
   Through the Past Darkly, 1969
   1967 / #50 U.S. / #8 U.K.
X
X
Dandelion
   Through the Past Darkly, 1969
   1967 / #14 U.S.
X
Lady Jane
   Aftermath, 1966
   1966 / #24 U.S.
X
Flight 505
   Aftermath, 1966
X
2000 Light Years From Home
   Their Satanic Majesty's Request, 1967
X
Ruby Tuesday
   Between the Buttons, 1967
   1967 / #1 U.S.
X
X
X
Jumpin' Jack Flash
   Through the Past Darkly, 1969
   1968 / #3 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
Sympathy For the Devil
   Begger's Banquet, 1968
  
X
X
X
Child of the Moon
   More Hot Rocks, 1972
X
Salt of the Earth
   Begger's Banquet, 1968
X
Honky Tonk Women
   Through the Past Darkly, 1969
   1969 / #1 U.S. / #1 U.K.
X
X
X
Midnight Rambler
   Let It Bleed, 1969
X
Gimme Shelter
   Let It Bleed, 1969
   2007 / #76 U.K.
X
X
X
You Got the Silver
Let It Bleed, 1969
X
You Can't Always Get What You Want
   Let It Bleed, 1969
   1973 / #42 U.S.
X
X
X
Street Fighting Man
   Begger's Banquet, 1968
   1968 / #48 U.S.
X
X
X
Wild Horses
   Sticky Fingers, 1971
   1971 / #28 U.S.
X
X
X
Brown Sugar
   Sticky Fingers, 1971
   1971 / #1 U.S. / #2 U.K.
X
X
X
Bitch
   Sticky Fingers, 1971
X
Tumbling Dice
   Exile on Main St., 1972
   1972 / #7 U.S. / #5 U.K.
X
X
X
Rocks Off
   Exile on Main St., 1972
X
X
Happy
   Exile on Main St., 1972
   1972 / #22 U.S.
X
X
X
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
   Goats Head Soup, 1973
   1973 / #15 U.S.
X
X
Angie
   Goats Head Soup, 1973
   1973 / #1 U.S. / #5 U.K.
X
X
X
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
   It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, 1974
   1974 / #16 U.S. / #10 U.K.
X
X
X
Dance Little Sister
   It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, 1974
X
Fool to Cry
   Black and Blue, 1976
   1976 / #10 U.S. / #6 U.K.
X
X
X
Respectable
   Some Girls, 1978
   1978 / #23 U.K.
X
X
X
Miss You
   Some Girls, 1978
   1978 / #1 U.S. / #3 U.K.
X
X
X
Shattered
   Some Girls, 1978
   1978 / #31 U.S.
X
Far Away Eyes
   Some Girls, 1978
X
Beast of Burdon
   Some Girls, 1978
   1978 / #8 U.S.
X
X
X
Emotional Rescue
   Emotional Rescue, 1980
   1980 / #3 U.S. / #9 U.K.
X
X
X
Dance (Part 1)
   Emotional Rescue, 1980
X
She's So Cold
   Emotional Rescue, 1980
   1980 / #26 U.S. / #33 U.K.
X
Waiting On a Friend
   Tattoo You, 1981
   1981 / #13 U.S. / #50 U.K.
X
X
X
Neighbors
   Tattoo You, 1981
X
Start Me Up
   Tattoo You, 1981
   1981 / #2 U.S. / #7 U.K.
X
X
X
Undercover of the Night
   Undercover, 1983
   1983 / #9 U.S. / #11 U.K.
X
X
X
She Was Hot
   Undercover, 1983
   1983 / #44 U.S. / #42 U.K.
X
X
Harlem Shuffle
   Dirty Work, 1986
   1986 / #5 U.S. / #13 U.K.
X
X
X
Mixed Emotions
   Steel Wheels, 1989
   1989 / #5 U.S. / #36 U.K.
X
X
X
Highwire
   Flashpoint, 1991
   1991 / #57 U.S. / #29 U.K.
X
X
Almost Hear Your Sigh
   Steel Wheels, 1989
   1990 / #50 U.S. / #31 U.K.
X
You Got Me Rocking
   Voodoo Lounge, 1994
   1994 / #113 U.S. / #23 U.K.
X
X
Love is Strong
   Voodoo Lounge, 1994
   1994 / #91 U.S. / #14 U.K.
X
X
I Go Wild
   Voodoo Lounge, 1994
   1995 / #29 U.K.
X
Anybody Seen My Baby?
   Bridges to Babylon, 1997
   1997 / #22 U.K.
X
X
X
Saint of Me
   Bridges to Babylon, 1997
   1998 / #94 U.S. / #26 U.K.
X
Don't Stop
   Forty Licks, 2002
   2002 / #36 U.K.
X
X
X
Rough Justice
   A Bigger Bang, 2005
  
X
Infamy
   A Bigger Bang, 2005
X
Rain Fall Down
   A Bigger Bang, 2005
   2005 / #33 U.K.
X
Streets of Love
   A Bigger Bang, 2005
   2005 / #15 U.K.
X
X
Plundered My Soul
   Exile on Main St.: Deluxe, 2010
   2010 / #200 U.K.
X
Doom and Gloom
   Grrr!, 2012
   2012 / #97 U.K.
X
X
X
One More Shot
   Grrr!, 2012
X
X
X

1 comments:

Anonymous,  November 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM  

I'm the opposite. I was a big fan of the band in the 1970s but starting with 'Steel Wheels' in 1989, it's been all downhill - they haven't done anything of note and they have been on 'cruise control' the last two decades. They should have thrown in the towel back then - they have become painful to watch on stage and their legacy stomped on.

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