Monday, 22 August 2016

The Rolling Stones Top 75 Countdown & This Week's Statistics

It's been a while since I've begun thinking that I was unfair to the Rolling Stones. They were my first proper entry with C*cksucker Blues (or Schoolboy Blues). At the time I was planning to mostly include gay themed songs, so I just presented this song, which had an excellent story attached to it anyway. But in the course of this blog, I decided to give the artists a fuller presentation and not just stick to the gay themed material. So I return to The Rolling Stones, the second best band ever, after the Beatles, and more importantly the first supergroup that introduced an androgynous idol to the world, long before Bowie and Boy George. It wasn't unusual to hear statements in the mid-to-late 60s, such as "I'm a straight man, but I would do Jagger". That, at the time, was revolutionary.


So why 75, you may ask, and not 50 or 100? The answer is quite simple. I decided to write down all the Rolling Stones' songs that I felt should be on this list and I came up with 76 songs. It was easier to remove one than to add 24. Plus, 75 is a number divided by 3, which means I can present 3 songs each time. These presentations will usually occur on Saturdays and Sundays, but they may appear on other days as well. Now, on with the countdown.

At #75, we find a traditional African-American spiritual song. The song is called You Gotta Move and is found in my favorite album of theirs, Sticky Fingers from 1971. Here's their version:


The song has a long history: the first recorded version is by The Two Gospel Keys, recorded in 1946 (or 1948):


The fabulous Sister Rosetta Tharpe gave us her own version in 1950:


One of the best Soul singers ever, Sam Cooke, changed the lyrics and released the song in 1964:


In 1965, Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell recorded it as a slow, slide guitar Hill Country Blues solo piece. His rendition inspired many subsequent recordings, including the one by the Rolling Stones.


At #74, is one of the Stones' sexist songs. (They've had a number of them). The Stones shared the prevalent male gaze of that time towards women, a mixture of desire, fear, admiration, and contempt. We're trying to get over this immature and often dangerous outlook and I think that we came a long way since then. I will, however, present the best of these songs, to help better demostrate the era in which they were conceived.

Yesterday's Papers, recorded in late 1966, includes Jack Nitzsche on harpsichord. The song is supposedly directed at Jagger's ex-girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton, whose relationship with Jagger at the time turned sour. It is noted for comparing "yesterday's girl" to "yesterday's papers", as something that can be just thrown out. This is exacerbated by the fact that Shrimpton tried to commit suicide over the breakup. Here's the song:


Here's a cover by Chris Farlowe:


Finally for today, at #73 we find a more recent song: Undercover of the Night from the 1983 album Undercover.

The song was largely a Mick Jagger composition, with guitarist Keith Richards going as far as saying, "Mick had this one all mapped out, I just played on it". Jagger later said that the song "was heavily influenced by William Burroughs’ ‘Cities of the Red Night,’ a free-wheeling novel about political and sexual repression. It combines a number of different references to what was going down in Argentina and Chile." The song was likely written in Paris in late 1982, where recording began on the album. It was the album's lead single, peaking at #4 in the Netherlands, #5 in Belgium, #8 in Norway, #9 in the US, #10 in Ireland and New Zealand, #11 in the UK and Canada, #15 in Sweden, #18 in Switzerland, #19 in Austria and #20 in Germany. Here it is:


Now, to this week's statistics: countries that had a very strong week last week, like Italy and Ireland, hardly made a dent to this week's statistics. In fact Ireland didn't visit at all - and it's a shame, because our Irish readers missed reading about the unfairly underappreciated Irish band Villagers. On the other hand, Cyprus, which has been inactive for sometime now, finally reappeared. This week's Top 10 is as follows:

1. United States
2. Greece
3. Germany
4. Russia
5. United Kingdom
5. Mexico
7. Portugal
8. Cyprus
8. France
10. Canada
10. China

Congrats to all, especially relative newcomer Mexico, which ties with the UK at #5. Also a hearty welcome to the rest of our visitors, from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. We make a diverse little company, don't we?

The all-time Top 10 is as follows:

1. United States
2. Greece
3. Russia
4. Germany
5. France
6. United Kingdom
7. Canada
8. Ireland
9. Cyprus
10. Portugal

The only notable change being Portugal knocking off Italy to replace it at #10.


Before I close, a post update: Labi Siffre is now at #4 in the all-time list, having overtaken both David Bowie (#5) and George Michael (#6) during the last week. He's also the #1 English-speaking artist, since the Top 3 consists of Greek Domna Samiou at #1, my Welcome! post at #2 and the Introduction at #3. Good work Labi!

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