The Rolling Stones (est. 1962) Pt. II
Studio LPs 1971-2005

Which album may I show you?

1971 Sticky Fingers- The first album to feature the Rolling Stones Records label contained a few tracks owned by Decca Records, including Brown Sugar which was first performed on stage in 1969. Mick Taylor makes a full contribution and his influence is obvious beyond the one track which bears a composer credit in his name. Taylor would achieve quiet recognition for Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Moonlight Mile, and the Jagger/Richards-credited Sway, which was in truth a Jagger/Taylor composition. As Wild Horses broke hearts, Bitch proved that they still could not be satisfied. The Beatles offered no real competition in 1971 and the Stones found themselves atop both the U.S. and U.K. album charts. While Andy Warhol conceived the cover art, he's often falsely credited with the "Lip & Tongue" design. The creator behind that iconic Rolling Stones logo is John Pasche. Spain chose to replace the zipper cover with a photo depicting a severed hand in an open can of treacle. When this album finally made its way to Russia in 1992, they similarly chose to replace the cover design by employing the image of a female model in tight jeans.
Featuring: Bobby Keys, Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, Jack Nitzsche, Billy Preston, Jim Price, Ry Cooder, and Rocky Dijon
Featured engineers: Andy Johns, Glyn Jones, and Chris Kimsey
Producer: Jimmy Miller
note- The Spanish track list differs in that Sister Morphine was replaced with the live version of Let it Rock from the UK Brown Sugar 3-track EP.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1971, Apr. 23 #1 RSR/WEA COC 59100 unknown 1st appearance of the "Lip & Tongue" logo
U.S. 1971, Apr. 30 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 59100 3,000,000+ Promo version was last mono US LP

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Keef back from the dentist.

Dueling Mazur PS designs
which debuted in 1972.

1972 Exile on Main Street- This is often the safe-bet candidate for best Rolling Stones album if one considers its immense popularity and lasting influence. Recorded in the raw within the basement confines of Keith Richards' home in the French Riviera, it plays like a motion picture from start to finish. With styles ranging from hard rock, country swagger, old-fashion blues, and even gospel, this set finds a way to maintain a cohesive complexity. Acoustics rule in Sweet Virginia, Torn an Frayed, and Sweet Black Angel, while pianos play an important role in Loving Cup and Shine A Light. Electric guitars make their presence felt on most tracks and with marvelous results. The hit single Tumbling Dice, Rocks Off, and Keef's own Happy, are regarded as classics. All Down the Line was initially conceived as an acoustic track, much like most found in this collection. Though initially dismissed by some critics as a self-absorbed and overall lackluster outing, it has since been recognized as a mammoth rock classic which set the stage for dozens of bands with similar sound to find success in later years. This was a new Rolling Stones in many ways, but the change was magnificent.
Featuring: Ian Stewart, Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jimmy Miller, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, and Al Perkins
Featured engineer: Andy Johns
Producer: Jimmy Miller
note- The 2010 reissue featured additional tracks and almost returned them to the album chart summit, stalling at #2.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1972, May 26 #1 RSR/WEA COC 69100 unknown Their first double-album
U.S. 1972, May 22 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 2 2900 3,000,000+ 12 sequence postcards included in first vinyl pressing

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Jagger Attacks!

1973 Goat's Head Soup- Their third successive transatlantic #1 album features only a small fraction of recorded material. As Keith Richards noted years later, the sessions mirrored those of Exile in many ways and could very easily have also resulted in a double album. Though most** appear to agree Angie is one of the finer easy-listening moments the Stones ever cut on wax, it can be difficult to reach agreement on the other selections. The set opens with Dancing With Mr. D, featuring a dripping groove and lyrics pertaining to death. The somewhat dark tone of the album was aided by Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), a hit single critical of the NYC police force, and the [uncredited] Jagger/Taylor track Winter which does not suffer from the absence of Keith Richards. Keef would take over the lead vocals on his own composition, Coming Down Again, a song which may invoke thoughts of Angie and Waiting On A Friend. 100 Years Ago has the value of three good little tunes which together form an excellent musical piece. The playfully vulgar Star Star was exorcised of references to John Wayne and a clean pussy on the initial vinyl record pressings but never stripped of its original title, Starfucker, which is repeated 60 times. Jagger stated in a 1973 interview that he worked very hard on the album, and the result is its fitting testament.
Featuring: Bobby Keys, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, and Ian Stewart
Featured engineer: Andy Johns
Producer: Jimmy Miller
note- **U.K.'s New Music Express proclaimed their great displeasure with Angie by referring to the song as "atrocious".

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1973, Aug. 31 #1 RSR/WEA COC 59101 100,000+ 'Angie' is their top-selling single
U.S. 1973, Sep. 12 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 59101 3,000,000+  

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1974 It’s Only Rock 'n Roll- Mick Taylor's final album as a member of the Rolling Stones marked five years since he joined, and a decade since their debut LP. Taylor would later say he was the only guitarist to leave the group alive, yet it would not happen before Ron Wood was primed as his successor. If You Can't Rock Me is a Brown Sugar / I'm Going Down hybrid whose pounding drums and heavy guitars are matched expertly by Jagger's lusty vocals. The title track rewards us with one of the finest five-plus minutes in rock history, and it's comforted by a series of strong contenders for the album's highlight. That's David Bowie singing backing vocals on Time Waits for No One.
Featuring: Soul group Blue Magic, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, Ron Wood, and future Who drummer Kenney Jones
Featured engineers: Andy Johns and Keith Harwood
Producer: The Glimmer Twins

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1974, Oct. 18 #2 RSR/WEA COC 59103 100,000+  
U.S. 1974, Oct. 16 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 79101 1,000,000+ The first Glimmer Twins (Jagger & Richards) production

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Even Mick is shocked by the instant NYC crowd.

The "suggestive" Beast Of Burden PS.

1976 Black and Blue- As a now fully-recognized member of The Rolling Stones, Ron Wood made his presence felt, as did fellow musicians Harvey Mandel and Wayne Perkins whom fell short of joining the band. As a member of several memorable acts including Faces (1969-74), The Creation (1968), and The Birds (1964-67), he appeared best suited to compliment Keith Richards, who joined him on his first two solo LPs in the years prior. The Wood-inspired Hey, Negrita soars with lustful chords, smooth drumming, and dirty lyrics. Fool to Cry was a world-wide hit, but does not fit comfortably in this album which plays more like a jam session than a professionally mixed studio release. The overall feel may seem too laid back to the point of sounding lazy for those expecting more rock and less roll. Though it works at times, the album was neither experimental nor greatly impressionable. Keef himself would later proclaim this as more a recorded rehearsal than studio album. Much like the Nicky Hopkins-credited LP Jamming With Edward from 1972, Black and Blue offered a glimpse into the inner workings of the band during a crucial transition period. There are a number of fine moments in this set, but it was barely enough to hold fans over in a three-year span.
Featuring: Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Ian Stewart, and Ollie Brown
Featured engineers: Keith Harwood and Glyn Johns
Producer: The Glimmer Twins

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1976, Apr. 23 #2 RSR/WEA COC 59106 100,000+ Fewest tracks of any Stones LP
U.S. 1976, Apr. 15 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 79104 1,000,000+ First full LP with Ron Wood

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Some Girls- Mick Jagger was eager to re-establish the rebellious image many believed the Rolling Stones lost years earlier. Punk Rock was the dominant anti-establishment music force of the late 1970s and the Stones attempted to offer an answer. Another major force in music: disco. What resulted was an album which opened with the #1 smash Miss You and its heavy soul disco leanings. The tone quickly changes with the rough When the Whip Comes Down, followed later by Respectable, and the closer, Shattered. Keef takes over lead vocals on Before They Make Me Run, and the sole cover, Just My Imagination (running away with me), may be their best shot at the Motown sound. This provided but a sample of their most impressive recording sessions since 1972. Designer Peter Corriston's album cover attracted threat of legal action from Lucille Ball, among others, who protested the use of her likeness. A new design was soon introduced in which all celebrity images were removed.
Featuring: Sugar Blue and Ian McLagan
Featured engineer: Chris Kimsey
Producer: The Glimmer Twins
note- Imagination was the third Temptations cover to appear on a Stones record.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1978, June 16 #2 RSR/WEA CUN 39108 100,000+  
U.S. 1978, June 17 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 39108 6,000,000+ Greatest selling non-compilation LP

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1980 Emotional Rescue- Despite efforts by promoter Mike Veeck, disco remained [barely] alive as the title track, which provided the Stones with their 25th top-10 single, would show. This album would become their fourth and most recent transatlantic #1 charter. Where the Boys Go has the feel of When The Whip Comes Down with a bit more tempo. They offered up one of their better blues tracks Down In the Hole, while Keef offered one of his weaker tunes with All About You. There's some good rock and roll, but the less-threatening She's So Cold (their 50th charting single) may just be the highlight. But after three consecutive albums in which a dance track led the way, it was time for a change. Where 1978's Miss You was a treat, 1980's Dance was an unwanted hat-trick. In further recognition of the countless brilliant 1979 out-takes released in the years following this release, it is surprising to hear the final result. As Keith Richards himself stated: "It's not that we used the best that we recorded, we just used what fit together."
Featuring: Nicky Hopkins, Bobby Keys, Billy Preston, Ian Stewart, and reggae star Max Romero.
Featured engineer: Chris Kimsey
Producer: The Glimmer Twins
note- early pressings of the LP included an oversized, colored, thermal-imaging poster of which a portion is featured above.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1980, June 27 #1 RSR/WEA CUN 39111 100,000+  
U.S. 1980, June 23 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 16015 2,000,000+ 4th transatlantic #1 LP

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1981 Tattoo You- Nearly a decade in the making, the Stones dug deep into the vaults to rework and complete songs which date back to the Goat's Head Soup sessions. It became a quasi-collaborative effort considering appearances by former producer Jimmy Miller (1972), runer-up replacement guitarist Wayne Perkins (1975), and others whose tracks were used during the mixing process. And though Start Me Up was originally thought to be something of a reggae tune back in 1978, its re-recording as a rock song and the timing of release could not have been better, becoming an enormous hit which made shock waves felt for decades. Tattoo You is a very solid outing that may have been a bit overindulgent in the ballad department, yet considering Heaven, No Use in Crying, and Waiting On A Friend, there's little room for complaint. It appeared they had evaded their disco leanings and successfully invaded the eighties with yet another classic set. It was the first Rolling Stones album since 1974 to open with a true rock song and would become their biggest selling studio effort, save for Some Girls.
Featuring: Pete Townshend, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, Ian Stewart, Ollie Brown, and Sonny Rollins
Featured engineer: Chris Kimsey
Producer: The Glimmer Twins
note- pre-Virgin Records CD issues include a significantly shorter version of Slave [track #3.]

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1981, Aug. 28 #2 RSR/WEA CUN 39114 100,000+ 4th U.K. #2 in five tries
U.S. 1981, Aug. 18 #1 RSR/Atlantic COC 16052 4,000,000+ 8th consecutive U.S. #1 (1971-1981)

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She Was Hotter than the LP design.

1983 Undercover- It was a gamble to have such a politically-charged song open an album, yet even more so to not accompany this release with a tour. As truly the first album attempting to utilize the existence of MTV, fans were treated to a series of lavish video productions, most of which were subsequently banned for their depictions of sex and violence. The title track did prove to be a top-10 hit, but the album struggled to reach the U.K. top-3, where it fared better than in the U.S. [#4], breaking a streak of ten consecutive albums to reach #1 in either major chart dating back to 1969. Nevertheless, this was a far better album than many now propose. As an opener to side two, Too Much Blood, with its equally effective bass, horns, and guitar, work together quite well as both a dance and rock song. Too Tough is good enough to have been far better, but Wanna Hold You is one of Keith's better turns. It's been suggested that Charlie Watts did not have his heart in it, coming off quite stoic at times. There was a significant rift beginning to form between the Glimmer Twins that would reach a head in the following years. Luckily, not even their apparent lack of enthusiasm could affect the great music and lyrics heard throughout much of the album.
Featuring: Sly Dunbar, Chuck Leavell, Robbie Shakespeare, Ian Stewart, Jim Barber, and David Sanborn
Featured engineer: Chris Kimsey
Producer: The Glimmer Twins
note- The cover, designed once again by Peter Corriston (Some Girls, Tattoo You), initially included stickers which would not 'undercover' the nude model if peeled.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1983, Nov. 7 #3 RSR/WEA CUN1654361 100,000+ First studio LP since 1968 to finish below #2 in UK
U.S. 1983, Nov. 7 #4 RSR/Atlantic 90120-1 1,000,000+ First studio LP since 1969 to finish below #2 in US

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1986 Dirty Work- Written and recorded during a time of great turmoil, when anger and resentment were pulling Jagger and Richards apart professionally, Dirty Work would easily be defined by most as the weakest entry in the Rolling Stones catalog. Jagger was basking in the success of his first solo album, She's the Boss (1985), much to dismay of Richards who recorded his feedback for the world to hear on his own solo debut, Talk is Cheap (1988). Lack of cohesive effort clearly led to this album containing far more bad elements than good. Among the best moments is the opener One Hit (to the body), a strong Jagger/Richards composition assisted musically by Jimmy Page. Had It With You has a great blues/rock feel, and Keith shines bright on the album's closer, Sleep Tonight. On a down note, and for the first time since 1964, the album's biggest hit single, Harlem Shuffle, was a cover. By far the worst selection is Back to Zero (co-written by Chuck Leavell) with its synthetic eighties pop noise which doesn't even hold up as an album filler track. Keef's closer, Sleep Tonight, is a clear high point. Otherwise, the original red cellophane seal, which partially obscured the awful cover design, should have suited as a stern warning of much of its contents.
Featuring: Jimmy Cliff, Don Covay, Ivan Neville, Chuck Leavell, Ian Stewart, Bobby Womack, Patti Scialfa and Tom Waits
Featured engineer: Dave Jerden
Producers: The Glimmer Twins and Steve Lillywhite
note- Long time "sixth stone" Ian Stewart died at the age of 42. Not mentioned in the liner notes, the album was concluded with the fading sounds of Ian on piano.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1986, Mar. 24 #4 RSR/CBS 86321 100,000+ Lowest-charting studio UK LP through 1996
U.S. 1986, Mar. 24 #4 RSR/CBS OC 40250 1,000,000+ Surprising 6-week stay in top-10 (#4 twice)

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Wyman's (top right) Swan Song, 1991

1989 Steel Wheels- The definitive comeback album of the Rolling Stones catalog. Releasing just one album since 1984 and not touring since for Tattoo You left something for them to prove. An induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January, and word of reconciliation between Mick and Keith, followed work on a new album which began in March. By August, along with the release of Steel Wheels, a concert tour was announced. Though it did not return them to #1 in the album charts, fans responded positively to the music and live performances, following the Stones around the globe during their grossly successful Steel Wheels & Urban Jungle tours. Mixed Emotions would become the their highest charter since 1981, and biggest hit single until 2010. The album begins with a trio of good tracks before losing its way for a while until Rock And A Hard Place. In what was perhaps a subtle homage to Brian Jones, The Master Musicians of Jajouka make their contribution to Continental Drift, a sample of which was used as a band intro for concerts of the period. For the second time in as many albums, Keith offered a highlight with his closer Slipping Away.
Featuring: Lisa Fischer, Phil Beer, Luis Jardim, Bernard Fowler, Chuck Leavell, and Matt Clifford
Featured engineer: Christopher Marc Potter
Producers: The Glimmer Twins and Chris Kimsey
note- A limited edition CD (pictured above) was housed in true steel case.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1989, Sep. 29 #2 RSR/CBS 464752 100,000+  
U.S. 1989, Sep. 29 #3 RSR/CBS CK 45333 (CBS CD) 2,000,000+ 'Mixed Emotions' most recent US Top-10

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1994 Voodoo Lounge- Quickly criticized as a reworked greatest hits package then later redeemed by many positive reviews and strong sales, Voodoo Lounge rewarded the Stones their first #1 album in the U.K. since 1980. Mick blows his harp on the opener Love Is Strong like nothing fans have heard since Midnight Rambler. With You Got Me Rocking, Sparks Will Fly, and The Worst to follow, there hadn't been as good a starting lineup since Tattoo You. Impressively produced and engineered, the entire set is strong and completed their transition from mere aged relics running on empty, to finely-aged rock stars with plenty left in the tank. Though not introduced as an official member of the Stones, Darryl Jones replaced Bill Wyman for the recording sessions of this album and subsequent world tour. The Stones also appeared to be rediscovering themselves after what was, at five (5) years, the longest break between studio albums their fans had ever been subjected. This album was a return to the gritty rock-n-blues sound which was the foundation of their success, and just the right dish the public appeared hungry for. The vinyl album closer Thru and Thru is an effective tension-builder featuring lead vocals by Keef. Mean Disposition would be tagged on as the final track released exclusively on CD. This was the first double studio album by the Rolling Stones since Exile on Main Street, and first Grammy® winner for best rock album. What followed were countless official b-sides and alternate mixes of which at least Jump On Top of Me, an unintentional Steve Miller rip, is worth hearing.
Featuring: Bernard Fowler, Luis Jardim, Chuck Leavell, Ivan Neville, Bobby Womack, and Beck's father, David Campbell.
Featured engineer: Don Smith
Producers: The Glimmer Twins and Don Was
note- Stuck at #2 in the U.S. behind the massive hit soundtrack for The Lion King.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1994, July 12 #1 Virgin/Caroline 7243 8 39782 1 2 100,000+ Second UK #1 since 1974
U.S. 1994, July 12 #2 Virgin 7243 8 39782 2 9 (CD) 2,000,000+ Highest US chart since 1981

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1997 Bridges to Babylon- The industry had far less time to witness a lag in interest for the Stones, as they were back in the studio rather quickly in this busy period. Bridges to Babylon sold more copies in its first week than Voodoo Lounge, but it didn't have enough fuel to keep it afloat. Charlie's pounding drums introduce us to Flip the Switch, which is almost matched by Too Tight, though neither are particularly notable. The tracks vary too significantly in style to allow for a concise set. Keith scratches through lead vocals on three tracks, the most on a Stones album to date, highlighted by You Don't Have to Mean It. Some tracks simply seem odd and out of place. Anybody Seen My Baby, the album's initial single, bore strong resemblance to k.d. lang's Constant Craving. This was brought to the attention of Keith by none other than his daughter Angela and would result in a partial composer credit to k.d. lang and Ben Mink. Low Down is clearly filler, yet the Dust Brothers work on Might as Well Get Juiced may be the worst offender. While Saint of Me is certainly good, the intensity and power of Out of Control won it a respectable position in the Stones live arsenal for the world tour that followed.
Featuring: Blondie Chaplin, Danny Saber, Billy Preston, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Bernard Fowler, Waddy Wachtel, Don Was, and Biz Markie
Featured engineers: Dan Bosworth and Rob Fraboni
Producers: The Glimmer Twins and Don Was
note- Attendees of the January 14, 1998 concert at MSG witnessed the only live performance of Low Down.

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 1997, Sep. 30 #6 Virgin/Caroline 7243-8-44712-1-7.V2840 100,000+ Lowest-charting UK studio LP to date
U.S. 1997, Sep. 30 #3 Virgin 7243-8-44712-2-4 (CD) 1,000,000+  

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2005 A Bigger Bang- In these 16 tracks, the Stones once again show they could still be as plush as a feather pillow or sharp as a razor. The opener, and part of the double a-side single, Rough Justice, is harsh and powerful in its crudely sexual, rock and roll style. Streets of Love shared the a-side billing and though generally dismissed by critics, earned the power ballad a #15 placing on the U.K. charts and top-10 in several other countries. Oh No, Not You Again, with its slight country flavor, presents itself as a strong competitor for hard rock highlight. The classic blues style of Back of My Hand is highly regarded by purists. Jagger's harp adds great emotional depth to several cuts, but it's his vocal energy that supports Laugh, I Nearly Died. The significance of Sweet Neo-Con, a protest of the political climate, is both easily overemphasized and, because of Highwire (1991), not new territory. More than a few tunes have plenty of hiss but not much bang, which add little more than length to what is, after Exile, their second-longest album. Let Me Down Slow, Look What the Cat Dragged In, and Infamy are clear highlights.
Featuring: Blondie Chaplin, Lenny Castro, Chuck Leavell, and Matt Clifford
Featured engineers: Ryan Castle and J.D. Andrew
Producers: The Glimmer Twins and Don Was

Origin RELEASE HCP LABEL CAT No. SALES Select Feature(s)
U.K. 2005, Sep. 5 #2 Virgin/EMI 0946 3 30067 2 0 100,000+ 19th UK top-2 & 9th #2
U.S. 2005, Sep. 6 #3 Virgin 0946 3 30067 2 0 1,000,000+ #1 in Internet sales

Buy The Rolling Stones' A BIGGER BANG [Explicit version] on CD NOW!

Buy the SPECIAL EDITION CD + DVD of 'A Bigger Bang' HERE Now!

See ...

Part I: Studio Albums 1964-69

Part II: Studio Albums 1971-2005

Part III: Compilations 1966-2005

Part IV: Live + Solo 1965-2004

Mick Jagger (b. July 26, 1943).
Brian Jones
(b. February 28, 1942 - d. July 3, 1969).
Keith Richards
(b. December 18, 1943).
Charlie Watts
(b. June 2, 1941).
Bill Wyman
(b. October 24, 1936).
Ian Stewart
(b. July 18, 1938 - d. December 12, 1985).
Mick Taylor
(b. January 17, 1948).
Ron Wood
(b. June 1, 1947).
Bobby Keys
(b. December 18, 1943).
Chuck Leavell (b. April 28, 1952).
Darryl Jones
(b. December 11, 1961).
Dick Taylor
(b. January 28, 1943).

Check Certified Record Sales totals for all U.S. and U.K. certified releases.

Test your knowledge on Rolling Stones topics in the Music Trivia page.(Rolling Stones trivia authored by AC Palacio.)


GO TO: INTRO ... 1964-69 LPs ... 1971+ LPs ... Compilation LPs ... Live + Solo
Hit Singles ... Hit Albums ... Brian Jones ... Unit $ALE$ ... CDs
Reel Stoned ... US LP Label History ... Gigs & more Licks

All items, descriptions, reviews, and images contained in /the_rolling_stones/, and its sub-sections, were compiled solely by AC Palacio.