‘Worried About You’ (Tattoo You, 1981): Mick Jagger’s falsetto is one of music’s best kept attractions. In the soft and sensitive ‘Worried About You’, we’re lucky to hear some scintillating vocals as well as a sweet and measured guitar work that characterises the uneven ‘Tattoo You’ album. This unusually relaxing and sincere song breaks in tone with much of the band’s previous work.
‘Time Waits for No One’ (It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, 1974): Mick Taylor, who replaced fated bandleader and lead guitarist Brian Jones after his death at the end of the 1960s, here proves his place in the band wasn’t just a convenient fit. Taylor’s fantastic solo and improvisation throughout this nostalgic and bittersweet ballad, married with Jagger’s lyrical work and Charlie Watt’s steady drumming, constitute some of the band’s most poetic music to date.
‘Sweet Virginia’ (Exile on Main St., 1972): this song can be found on the Stones’ flawed masterpiece ‘Exile on Main St.’ ‘Sweet Virginia’ isn’t one of their stage favourites. However, the country-shuffle rhythms and squealing lyrics about struggles and heartbreak are supported by some pretty brilliant guitar work as well as a casually killer saxophone solo by the underrated Bobby Keys. A breezing listen to be enjoyed with a beer.
‘Hand of Fate’ (Black and Blue, 1975): taken from the jam-driven ‘Black and Blue’ album, ‘Hand of Fate’ is a sublime rock ballad about a lovesick murderer on the run. Written in the first-person, the narrative is underscored by one of Keith Richards’ best riffs. Short, cutting and violent, it’s puzzling that this song never makes any of the Stones’ greatest hits collections, as Jagger’s lyrics effectively convey a sense of tragedy and fatality almost to the same level as ‘Gimme Shelter.’
‘Midnight Rambler’ (Let It Bleed, 1969): given its frequent live appearances, the song isn’t exactly a hidden gem for Stones enthusiasts. However, for other listeners, this would be a lesser known example of some of the sterling work featured on 1969’s ‘Let It Bleed.’ ‘Midnight Rambler’ showcases one of Richards’ best riffs alongside suitably dark and seductive lyrics by his Glimmer twin. This is one of my favourite songs and is lots of fun to play on guitar.
'The Neon Demon' (2016) dir. by Nicolas Winding Refn - When aspiring model Jesse moves to California, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. A modern LA-set spin on the giallo genre, yielding some pretty marvellous results.
'Deep Red' (1975, ‘Profondo rosso’) dir. by Dario Argento - A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and teams up with a reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen assailant bent on keeping a dark secret. A compelling and twisted tale that draws on psychoanalysis to fuel its violent imagery.
'A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin' (1971, ‘Una lucertola con la pelle di donna’) dir. by Lucio Fulci - A young woman is accused of murdering her debauched neighbour after dreaming it. Was she set up, or did she really do it? Set in 1960s London, this is a sexy and thrilling film that also happens to have some of the best cinematography on this list.
'Opera' (1987) dir. by Dario Argento - A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself. An absolute classic by Argento.
'The Fifth Cord' (1971, ‘Giornata nera per l'ariete’) dir. by Luigi Bazzoni - This outstanding giallo stars Franco Nero as a hard-drinking newspaperman who gets involved in a string of brutal murders. Although lesser-known in the genre, it features an excellent performance by Nero as well as a surprisingly believable plot.
'What Have You Done to Solange?' (1972, ‘Cosa avete fatto a Solange?’) dir. by Massimo Dallamano - After several coeds are murdered at a college, a professor who is involved with a student becomes a suspect, along with several other male and female teachers. Very graphic.
'Amer' (2009) dir. by Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani - Searing memories and carnal desires rule the mind of Ana, a young woman in thrall to her own fantasies whose visions and obsessions draw her toward deeper eroticism – and danger, in this modern take on a giallo.
'The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail' (1971, ‘La coda dello scorpione’) dir. by Sergio Martino - The mysterious death of a millionaire spirals into the murder of his suddenly rich wife, which draws the attention of a dogged investigator, who follows a trail of blood to the bitter end. Incredibly fun and caper-like, the film features a brilliant score by Bruno Nicolai.
'Tenebre' (1982) dir. by Dario Argento - An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book. This avant-garde giallo is completely bonkers, meta and self-aware.
'The Bird with the Crystal Plumage' (1970, ‘L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo’) dir. by Dario Argento - In Italy, the American writer Sam Dalmas witnesses an attempt of murder of the owner of an art gallery, a couple of days before his foreseen return to the US. He decides to stay with his girlfriend Julia and help the police in the investigation. An excellent example of the genre that some credit as the original giallo.