The Rolling Stones may be popular with their accountants but they have long since lost their creative edge. That is the view not of an acerbic critic or from a jilted band member but from among the their own legion of fans.
According to a poll in the rock magazine Mojo, the Stones were at the height of their powers in the early 1970s but have barely recorded a decent track since. Only a small proportion of tracks from the past 30 years make it into the band's top 50 and none from the past 22 years despite the Stones' having released a further five studio albums in that time.
Forty-four of the songs in the top 50 come from the first 10 years of the band's recording career. The top three all come from the years 1968 and 1969. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - originally released 35 years ago - tops the list of the best Stones songs.
The runner-up, "Honky Tonk Women", was the band's last number one in 1969, while third-placed "Sympathy For The Devil" was never released as a single, but was merely an album track on Beggars Banquet.
The most consistent Stones album, the list shows, is the 1971 release Sticky Fingers which contributes seven greats, with "Brown Sugar" the highest placed at 5. Let It Bleed from 1969 has six tracks in the top 50.
The most recent is "Start Me Up", which was the band's last top 10 single in 1981. It is rated 15th best but was written three years earlier.
Another song released that year, "Waiting On A Friend", is at 40 in the Mojo list but similarly the tune is from many years earlier. It was an out-take from the 1972 album Goat's Head Soup.
The editor of the Mojo Rolling Stones Special Edition, Marke Blake, said: "The '60s and '70s represented a golden age for The Rolling Stones. The band tailor their live show towards songs from this era, and this has been picked up by the fans in the songs they've chosen.
"There are a fair number of album tracks in the list, but it's the classic Stones singles that remain their best and certainly most popular work."
The band has played to packed stadiums during their current Forty Licks Tour, featuring blues-based early tracks. The tour ends in Spain later this month.
THE TOP TEN
1 Jumpin' Jack Flash (1968)
2 Honky Tonk Women (1969)
3 Sympathy For The Devil (1968)
4 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
5 Brown Sugar (1971)
6 Wild Horses (1971)
7 Gimme Shelter (1969)
8 Tumbling Dice (1972)
9 Paint It Black (1966)
10 Angie (1973)Reuse content