‘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.