Today’s Stones instalment is a bit of a cheat. I mean, we’ve all heard these songs a zillion times in our lives. And I’ve heard most (if not all of them) in recent days on other (later) compilations and various live records that I’ve been playing. But as I was scanning my CD shelves in the Man Cave, my eye fell on this set, an old friend indeed, and I knew I had to bring it up here. I’ve played the hell out of this set, over the years. For the longest time, it was the only place I knew to get Honky Tonk Women, too (it was a non-album single).
Crazy to think, Hot Rocks was released without input from the band, and it became their biggest selling album:
Hot Rocks 1964–1971 was released without input by The Rolling Stones (as was More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)). The album has spent 262 weeks on the US Billboard 200 chart (between 1972-2016) and peaked at #4. After selling in excess of six million copies, it was certified twelve times platinum, as per RIAA rules regarding double album releases. It has ended up as their best-selling album. The UK release was delayed for many years, coming out on 21 May 1990, to coincide with the Urban Jungle Tour, reaching No. 3.
Ah hell, since we’re at it, let’s let Wiki will tell us the story of it:
Hot Rocks 1964–1971 is the first compilation album of Rolling Stones music released by former manager Allen Klein’s ABKCO Records (who gained control of the band’s Decca/London material in 1970) after the band’s departure from Decca and Klein. Released in late 1971, it proved to be The Rolling Stones’ biggest-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective.
After reportedly having been duped by Klein to unknowingly sign over the recording copyrights to all of their material from 1963 to 1970, The Rolling Stones left Decca and formed their own label, Rolling Stones Records, with a new distributor. They recorded Sticky Fingers throughout 1970, releasing it the following spring. Although Klein—and now ABKCO—no longer had The Rolling Stones as clients, their fruitful catalogue was ripe for the picking and, thus, Hot Rocks 1964–1971 was quickly compiled as a double album greatest hits package.
While the album carries most of the band’s biggest hits during their first decade, it does drop a few of them to include standout tracks such as “Play With Fire”, “Under My Thumb” and “Gimme Shelter” giving listeners a more well-rounded impression of The Rolling Stones’ music in this era. Although “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” are a part of Sticky Fingers, those two songs are co-owned by the band and Allen Klein because The Rolling Stones recorded the songs while they were still under contract to Decca.
For me, I skip all of that label crap, and who owns what – that’s their business. I’m only after the tunes. And owning this set in my formative teens and 20s was really amazing. Just look at this track listing. Yes, we can say this or that song should be here, but same as I said elsewhere about these guys: if you want more, just own all the albums (I do!).
Look at all the majesty. Just look at it! What a band!
Time Is On My Side (guitar intro version)
Heart Of Stone
Play With Fire
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
As Tears Go By
Get Off Of My Cloud
Mother’s Little Helper
19th Nervous Breakdown
Paint It, Black
Under My Thumb
Let’s Spend The Night Together
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Street Fighting Man
Sympathy For the Devil
Honky Tonk Women
Midnight Rambler (live, Madison Square Garden, NYC 1969-11-28)
You Can’t Always Get What You Want