Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years 1989

The Rolling Stones have made a zillion compilations, and they all hold some purpose, I suppose. This one is exceptional for several reasons. In no specific order, those reasons are:

1. This set is the collected singles (including quite a few rare B-sides) from 1963-1969, arguably the band's most interesting period of growth and change. The less familiar tracks are almost all good.

2. Although digitally remastered, the sound of the 4-LP set is excellent. I'm sure the CDs sound good, too. (The LP set goes for big bucks on the used market, so if you see one at a garage/boot sale, snatch it up!)

3. The set comes with a good book that includes lyrics and fairly complete recording information.

4. Brian Jones.

5. If you're a Stones fan, you need to own the four complete albums that came out right after this collection ends (Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main Street). These four represent the pinnacle of their work. If you don't feel that you need the entirety of the earlier albums, well, that is exactly why this set is so perfect.

6. Everything after 1972 has been flawed in some way. I know there are some records that the faithful would claim equal to their first decade's output, but I would respectfully disagree.

7. Their early work is fascinating. They were the bad boys to The Beatles cuteness.

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