I mentioned the 40th anniversary of the  remastered version of Exile on Main Street a few weeks ago.

Lately, I have been listening to an awesome selection of Rolling Stone Cover albums. Having heard these songs over the course of 4 decades, a little freshening up can go a long way. These 4 albums present the songs you know oh-so-well in a fresh new way.

Paint It Blue: Songs Of The Rolling Stones: Given how freely the Stones borrowed from American blues greats, it only seems fair that these same blues players cover the Stone’s best known tunes. Somewhere between musically incestuous and ironically absurd, the covers by the bluesman (who influenced the originals) works stunningly well.

Luther Allison practically makes You Can’t Always Get What You Want his own (flavored with some of Lou Reed’s doo do do dos); Larry McCray gets funky on Midnight Rambler. Derek Trucks’ slide guitar burns thru Tumblin’ Dice; Junior Wells turns (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction into churning swamp funk.

Turnabout sure is fair play!

Favorite cut: Taj Mahal’s Honky Tonk Women


All Wood and Stones: Imagine what the Rolling Stones would have sounded like if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were gnarly California dudes, with acoustic guitars ala CSNY.

That was the totally original idea behind James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf recording — take 11 Rolling Stones classics and turned them into something the likes of which you have never heard before. They wildly succeeded.

Enchanting acoustic guitars, joyous vocal harmonies, surprisingly inspired arrangements completely rewrite classic Stones.

Favorite cut: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction


Bossa Nova:  I love these wacky, bizarre, all female covers of the Stones’ catalog. The mix of Bossa Nova, Reggae, electronica, and — dare I say it — almost Muzak — combine to create a truly unique disc.

Its an odditiy — fun, weird, amusing, but there is an indefatigable sincerity that permeates all of these covers. Sure, the breathy female vocals are pretty thin, but the amusement factor more than make up for that.

It all somehow works.

I admit, you must have a musical sense of humor to enjoy these (think Barenaked Ladies). I especially like mixing some of these covers into a playlist, and watching people do double takes, as they try to make sense of the melody they recognize, with the arrangements.

Favorite cut: Beast Of Burden and since this is a double disc, I am adding: Fool To Cry


Stripped:  OK, its not quite a cover album. But the Stones going not-quite unplugged presents their own catalogue in the same spirit of fresh, new takes on old favorites. Its not quite acoustic, but its about as close as the boys ever come.

Rather than use do the mega-hits — Honky Tonk Women, Satisfaction, Sympathy for the Devil, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, etc. Stripped is filled with the unjustly neglected Stones B-Sides: Wild Horses, Street Fighting Man, Not Fade Away, Shine A Light, Let It Bleed, Angie, etc. The disc contains terrific versions of many of their lesser known hits, stripped of excess production.

Favorite cut: Like A Rolling Stone

Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music

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12 Responses to “Friday Night Jazz Rolling Stones Covers”

  1. beaufou says:

    There’s a cool “sister morphine” on Marianne Faithfull’s Blazing away.
    Working class hero is not bad at all either.

    Just adding.
    The B-side of “Tattoo you” is an absolute gem.

  2. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    Who do you think your trying to kid? You haven’t got the time. And if i knew you better. Your one amazing person (I try to be ????????????)


    BR: I have no idea what you are saying here.

  3. wunsacon says:

    I’m torn between these two songs as the soundtrack for the times: “Shattered” and “Gimme Shelter”. One’s kind of upbeat, actually. Yeah, we can beat this. You just have to be “tough, tough, tough, tough, tough, tough”. The other? Oh, so scary. “War.” Children, it’s just a shot away. But, “love”. ‘Sister, it’s just a kiss away!

    The bear in me can’t choose.

  4. LLouis says:

    I just checked if TheBadPlus ever made a Rolling Stones cover, they didn’t, who knows maybe on their next album. They now have a vocalist, Wendy Lewis, on their new album, with covers of Nirvana (again), Pink Floyd, Wilco, The BeeGees and Heart (Barracuda). I was much impressed the first time I listened to their cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.


  5. Philbro says:

    There is a whole run of Bossa CDs, including Beatles, Guns N Roses, Pink Floyd. The Sones album is the one that works best.

  6. john-nicholas says:

    A Partial List of Great Stones Covers Not Mentioned Already:

    Ike and Tina Turner doing Honky Tonk Women.

    Otis Redding doing (I Can’t No) Satisfaction.

    The Chesterfield Kings doing Got Yourself Together. The Chesterfield Kings do a lot of great Stones covers.

    And Great Stones Covers found on bootlegs:

    Bruce Springsteen, etc. doing a Darlington County/Honky Tonk Women medley in Hartford on his reunion tour.

    Prince doing Honky Tonk Women

    Black Crowes doing in concert Happy, Honky Tonk Women, and Torn and Frayed

  7. MinnItMan says:

    One of the all-time great covers of a Stone’s tune is Dwight Yoakam doing the “The Last Time.” Google DY and title for a 30 second clip. This gets to a pet peeve I have about post-Everly Brothers rock historiography (and how it plays out with middle-aged – or now elderly – white people): while blues is certainly one of the animating forces, the Beatles and Stones (and others) were self-conscious avante garde eclecticists who were particularly attuned to powerful representations of distinct forms that they adapted as they saw fit. British blues was not “blues” per se, but an interpretation of blues by art school kids who recognized an under-appreciated treasure (BB King has very generous comments regarding same). But, the Beatles and Stones, in particular, were not limited to just recognizing that one under-appreciated treasure. They saw them early and often and perhaps saved more “authentic” music than theirs from the memory hole. That’s a big reason why they were/are so great. That said, the intructions for playing “Let it Bleed”: “This Record Should Be Played Loud” cuts to the chase far better than critical theory. It really should be.

  8. TerryC says:

    Have you been to a Best Buy lately? There are practically no CD’s left on the shelves. With all the digital music, I’m afraid that album cover art will soon disappear (even in it’small CD form). That’s a shame, because the artwork itself is a huge part of the music experience of the last 50 years. My son has a huge coffee table book of album covers from Hard Rock. Too bad there probably won’t be many new ones to come. And when I was younger, practically everything I learned about the classical music I bought was from all the good writing that was on the album.

  9. ToNYC says:

    bluebeat.com is doing a determined effort to bring out and along the disappearing cover art, liner notes.
    It’s neither too late or too early to turn (it) on.

  10. microtherion says:

    There is also “The Rolling Stones Project” by Tim Ries, doing the covers as instrumental jazz, with a Volume 2 adding vocalists (as well as actual Stones).

  11. Ducky62 says:

    Here’s Ellen Foley (backed by the Ian Hunter Band IIRC) covering the Rolling Stones song “Stupid Girl”.

    They used to play this on the radio when I was in high school.

  12. J Kraus says:

    Speaking of Covers, the first DVD release of Playboy After Dark (Hef’s 1950′s-60′s TV show) includes a great performance of The Beatles Come Together by Ike and Tina Turner recorded in the late 1960′s.