The five best Rolling Stones albums were chosen because they features some of the best, and best known, Rolling Stones songs. This is one great group that isn't always respected enough as an album band. But the evidence of these five best Rolling Stones albums offers undeniable proof of the act's studio greatness.
- Exile On Main Street. Bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys searched for studio perfection, this 1972 Rolling Stones double album showed off a loose beauty, which puts it at number one among the five best Rolling Stones albums. There are no better 'in-the-pocket' groove songs better than "Tumbling Dice." A song like "Rip This Joint" kicks out the jam in a way the more mercurial Beatles or Beach Boys never could. And just consider Jagger's vocal drawl on "Shine A Light." Not bad for a Brit, eh?
- Aftermath. Many of these album songs revealed a snotty side to the Stones that few other '60s bands — except, perhaps, The Animals — exhibited. How something like "Under My Thumb" fit became a hit during the peace and love decade is nearly a miracle. All Jagger's vocal snot lands this release on the five best list.
- Sticky Fingers. This came out a year prior to Exile On Main Street, and is not so expansive as that release. Yet the group was truly beginning to get in a good groove, as "Brown Sugar" proved, which easily makes this the third from the top among the five best Rolling Stones albums. The band showed it could do country with "Wild Horses" and especially druggy, as on "Dead Flowers" and "Sister Morphine."
- Some Girls. Reactionary music fans accused the Rolling Stones of selling out when the dance beat of "Miss You" was released. What, the Stones have gone disco? Say it ain't so! It wasn't so. This is a band that grew up on black music (blues), and so remaining hip at the time with what was current in dance music should have come as no great surprise. The group also tipped its hat with of cover of "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" on the album. Emotions ranged from empathy ("Beast of Burden") to paranoia ("Shattered") on an album that has only grown better with age.
- Beggars Banquet. Although not the best overall Stones album, this album contained the band's best-ever song, "Sympathy for the Devil," and one of its best groove songs, "Street Fighting Man." These songs alone make the album top five material.