Rolling Stones Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

Rolling Stones Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. They are one of the most popular and longest surviving rock bands of the rock era. In the early days, they were one of the original heavier sounding bands that emerged on the rock scene. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards became the band’s main songwriters with their sound very much rooted in blues and early rock and roll. They wrote songs including “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “Paint It Black”which all became international hit records.

The Rolling Stones have estimated record sales of more than 200 million copies worldwide. They have won 3 Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. According to Billboard magazine and Rolling Stone magazine, they are one of the greatest bands of all time.

Best Rolling Stones Albums Of All Time

In total the Rolling Stones have released 25 studio albums which we will rank from the rest to the best as we see them. To avoid confusion, we’ve included the albums that were only released in the US as we all have access to all of their work nowadays via the internet.

25. Bridges to Babylon (1997)

This was their 21st British and 23rd US studio album which was released on September 29th 1997. During the making of this album, the band weren’t on speaking terms. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards recorded their parts separately and barely appeared in the studio together. By the time the tour to promote the album was under way, their relationship had improved enough so that they could work together on stage.

24. Undercover (1983)

Released on November 7th 1983, this was the Stones 17th British and 19th American studio album. The album has a split personality as Mick wanted the album to follow modern music trends, favouring reggae, new wave and worldbeat. Whereas Keith wanted to return to their blues roots. The result is an album that covers many different genres without ever fully committing to any.

23. Dirty Work (1986)

“Dirty Work” is the 18th British and 20th American studio album released on March 24th 1986. The album was recorded during a period of unrest for the Rolling Stones as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arguing over what direction the band should take. In all honesty they spent most of the 1980s arguing about the band’s direction.

22. A Bigger Bang (2005)

This was the last studio album of original material recorded by the Stones before Charlie Watts died in 2021. The idea behind this album was to make a hard rock album to get back to their 1970s hit material. The idea paid off as “A Bigger Bang” was a hit in many countries reaching number 2 on the UK album charts and number 3 in the US and making number 1 in 11 other countries.

21. Voodoo Lounge (1994)

This was their first album without bass guitarist Bill Wyman who left the band in 1991. Parts of the Keith Richards song “Thru and Thru” are used throughout the HBO TV show “The Sopranos” episode “Funhouse” and is played during the opening and closing credits.

20. Black and Blue (1976)

This was the first Stones album recorded after guitarist Mick Taylor had left in 1974. Keith Richards recorded most of the guitar parts for this album himself, with the rest being used as an audition to find a replacement for Taylor. When speaking of the album in later years, Richards said that it was used for “rehearsing guitar players, that’s what that one was about”. Eventually Ronnie Wood got the job as he’d already contributed to the title track on the “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” album.

19. December’s Children (And Everybody’s) (1965)

This was the 5th American studio album released on December 4th 1965. This was an album just for the American market, made up from various recordings of the Rolling Stones up to that point and including the UK version of “Out Of Our Heads”. It also featured their then international hit single “Get Off of My Cloud” and a remake of Marianne Fathfull’s hit song “As Tears Go By”. It’s also the last of the band’s early albums to include covers.

18.The Rolling Stones No.2  / The Rolling Stones, Now! (1965)

This was their 3rd American studio album released on February 13th 1965. The majority of this album is the same as “The Rolling Stones No. 2” with a few additions. Jagger and Richards wrote 4 songs on this album with the rest composed by American rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll artists.

17. The Rolling Stones / England’s Newest Hitmakers (1964)

Titled “The Rolling Stones” in the UK, “England’s Newest Hitmakers” is the Rolling Stones debut album released on April 16th 1964. The American edition came out with a slightly different playlist and was released on May 30th 1964 and subtitled “England’s Newest Hitmakers”. The UK version stayed at number 1 on the UK album charts for 12 weeks, while the American version only got to number 11 on the US album charts.

16. Goats Head Soup (1973)

Most of this album was written and recorded outside of the UK due to the band’s status as tax exiles. This is the album that gave us the single “Angie” and the album got to number 1 in the UK, US and many other countries but it received a fair bit of criticism. With many music critics seeing it as the start of the decline of the creativity of the Rolling Stones.

15. Steel Wheels (1989)

This was the album that saw a repair in the relationship of Jagger and Richards due in part, to their return to a more traditional Rolling Stones sound. This was also the album that saw the Stones get back into the top 5 on the charts in many countries.

14. 12 x 5 (1964)

This was their 2nd American studio album which was an expanded version of the EP “Five By Five” which had followed their debut album in the UK. Among the additional tracks is the UK-only single “It’s All Over Now” which is a cover of a Bobby Womack song and was the Stones first UK number 1 hit single.

13. Their Satanic Majesties’ Request (1967)

It’s been long rumoured that there’s an old saying in the music industry that wherever the Beatles went, the Stones would follow a few months later. Whether that’s true or not, it would appear to be in this case. Around 6 months after the Beatles released the Sgt. Pepper’s album, the Stones released their own psychedelic album. Even the cover looks very Sgt. Pepper’s-like.The title is a play on the words found inside a British passport which states “Her Britannic Majesty Requests and Requires…” Thankfully their following album was a far more bluesy album.

12. Blue and Lonesome (2016)

This is their 23rd British and 25th American studio album which was released on December 2nd 2016. It’s their first album to feature only cover songs and their first studio album for 11 years. The album’s run time is just around 43 minutes and yet it was released as a double album. Guest artists include Eric Clapton who joins the band for 2 tracks (“”Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “ I Can’t Quit You Baby”).

11. Out of Our Heads (1965)

This is their 3rd British and 4th American studio album which had different listings and covers depending on the geographical release. The American version contains “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” which would go on to become the band’s first US number 1 single which would also top the charts in 10 other countries including the UK.

10. Tattoo You (1981)

Released on August 24th 1981, “Tattoo You” is mostly made up of outtakes recorded during the 70s. It also contains one of the Stones most well known songs “Start Me Up” which reached number 2 on the US charts. Due to touring dates and the band’s constant arguing, it became almost impossible to arrange a dedicated recording session. So the production team came up with this almost compilation album.

9. Emotional Rescue (1980)

After the success of their previous album “Some Girls” the Stones went back into the studio to produce its follow up. The result was “Emotional Rescue” which topped the charts in many countries including the UK, the US and Canada. The album produced 2 singles which were; the title track and “She’s So Cold”.

8. Between the Buttons (1967)

This was their most eclectic album containing psychedelic, baroque pop and ballads. For most of the album guitarist Brian Jones played a variety of instruments that weren’t guitars including; the organ, marimba, vibraphone and even the kazoo. The album got to number 3 on the UK album charts and number 2 in the US. 

7. It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (1974)

This was the Stones 12th British and 14th American studio album and the last to feature guitarist Mick Taylor. The title track features Ronnie Wood on guitar who would eventually become Taylor’s replacement. Some of the other contenders for guitarist included; Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel. This album had it all, from blues, rock ‘n’ roll, reggae and funk. 

6. Some Girls (1978)

Released on June 9th 1978, “Some Girls” was the album that gave us “Miss You” and “Beast Of Burden” among others. It was the first album to feature Ronnie Wood as a full time member which meant there was no need to employ other non-band musicians apart from Sugar Blue who contributes harmonica on “Miss You” and the title track.

5. Aftermath (1966)

This was the band’s first album to contain all original compositions all written by Jagger and Richards. It’s also the album that gave us “Paint It Black” and “Under My Thumb”. “Aftermath” made number 1 in many countries including the UK and the US.

4. Let It Bleed (1969)

This album marks a welcome return to the more bluesy sound the Stones were famous for. It also drew influences from gospel, country blues and country rock. Whilst recording this album Brian Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor due to Jones’s unreliability. As a result, Keith Richards was the only guitarist for much of this album playing both rhythm and lead parts. The album track “Gimme Shelter” has featured in 3 Martin Scorsese films which are; “Goodfellas”, “Casino” and “The Departed”.

3. Beggars Banquet (1968)

This was the album that saw the problems begin with Brian Jones and was the first album where Keith Richards had to cover both rhythm and lead guitar work. The album saw the band returning to their rock, blues roots even if it was via some Latin beats and conga style rhythms. The album was a commercial success reaching number 3 in the UK and number 5 in the US and it’s also the album that gave us “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Street Fighting Man”.

2. Sticky Fingers (1971)

This was their first studio album to not feature any material contributed to by Brian Jones who had left the band 2 years earlier. It was also the album that gave us “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” among others. The album topped the charts around Europe and in the UK and US.

1. Exile on Main Street (1972)

“Exile On Main Street” was the Stones 10th British and 12th American studio album release. It reached number 1 in the UK and the US when it was first released in 1972 and again on its re-release in 2010 it made number 1 in the UK but only got to number 2 in the US. The album gave us the singles “Tumbling Dice” and “Happy”. “Happy” features Keith Richards as vocalist.

All Rolling Stones Albums In Chronological Order

The Rolling Stones / England’s Newest Hit Makers1964
12 X 51964
The Rolling Stones No.2 / The Rolling Stones Now!1965
Out Of Our Heads1965
December’s Children (And Everybody’s) 1965
Between the Buttons 1967
Their Satanic Majesties Request 1967
Beggars Banquet1968
Let It Bleed1969
Sticky Fingers 1971
Exile on Main St.1972
Goats Head Soup 1973
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll1974
Black and Blue1976
Some Girls1978
Emotional Rescue 1980
Tattoo You 1981
Undercover 1983
Dirty Work 1986
Steel Wheels 1989
Voodoo Lounge 1994
Bridges to Babylon1997
A Bigger Bang 2005
Blue & Lonesome 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best selling Rolling Stones album?

The best selling Rolling Stones album is “Hot Rocks 1964-1971” which has sold more than 7,000,000 copies.

What is the newest Rolling Stones album?

The newest Rolling Stones album is “Blue and Lonesome” which was released on December 2nd 2016.

What is the first Rolling Stones album?

The first Rolling Stones album was called “The Rolling Stones” in the UK and “England’s Newest Hitmakers” in the US and was released on April 16th 1964 in the UK and May 30th 1964 in the US.

What is the Rolling Stones most famous song?

The Rolling Stones most famous song is “Gimme Shelter” which was never released as a single but has been featured in 3 Martin Scorsese films which are “Goodfellas”, “Casino” and “The Departed”. The track was taken from the album “Let It Bleed”.

When did the Rolling Stones start?

The Rolling Stones were formed in London, England, UK in 1962.

What genre is the Rolling Stones?

The genres ascribed to the Rolling Stones are; rock and roll, blues rock, hard rock, R&B, pop rock, blues and rock.

Who are the members of the Rolling Stones?

The current members of the Rolling Stones are Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. Past members are Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Mick Taylor.

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