The Best Rolling Stones Covers Ever

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Jul 262018
20. Charlotte Martin – Wild Horses

Only the opera-trained artist and her piano perform in this haunting and emotional version. Martin demonstrates her amazing range throughout. At the four-minute mark, the singular piano drops out and Charlotte soars, a cappella, through the chorus, before the piano returns for a grand finale. The song appeared as a bonus track on her 2004 first full-length major label release On Your Shore. – Frank Minishak

19. Jane’s Addiction – Sympathy for the Devil

Before Nothing’s Shocking broke Jane’s Addiction for the masses, they recorded an eponymous live album that saw this version of “Sympathy,” recorded back to back with the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” Thirty years later, it still sounds fresh, thanks to a quietly burbling beat and Perry Ferrell’s ethereal vocals. It also helps that you won’t run across it on the radio two or three times a day. – Patrick Robbins

18. Don Williams & Poco Sezo Singers – Ruby Tuesday

We called it “folk-pop schmaltz” when we included it in a Five Good Covers piece here. But we meant that as a good thing. Soon-to-be country star Williams was still harmonizing with his Pozo Seco singers in 1970, when it’s generally accepted that the track was released. It’s a made-for-AM-radio, soft rock duet with piano, organ and horns that crescendo intermittently throughout. – Frank Minishak

17. Cal Tjader – Gimme Shelter

Cal Tjader was one of the few great non-Latino Latin jazz masters. His cover of “Gimme Shelter” from album Agua Dulce, released only two years after Let It Bleed, reimagines the dark, ominous original as a Latin-tinged instrumental. It features spacey Moog synthesizers, Tjader’s vibraphone lead, and percussion from, among others, Pete and Coke Escovedo (future members of Santana, brothers of Alejandro, and father and uncle, respectively, of Sheila E.) This is no muzak instrumental, and despite being quite different from the original, it works on its own merit. – Jordan Becker

16. Björk & PJ Harvey – Satisfaction

This unlikely yet inspired pairing coming from the 1994 Brits, a big televised shindig wherein all the gongs for best song/artist/contribution etc to a year are given out. With it starting off how the Velvet Underground and Nico might tackle the song, Björk then adds her vocal in the 2nd stanza, a counterpointed wail to Harvey’s knowing monotone. From here the song builds, delicate layer upon layer, with an imperceptibly increasing pace, the tension evident in their smiles. – Seuras Og

15. Susan Tedeschi – You Got The Silver

The first Stones song that Keith Richards sang all of the vocals on, and also the last song that Brian Jones contributed to (playing an autoharp pretty much buried in the mix), is a bluesy number that also features some fine, understated slide guitar from Richards. Susan Tedeschi makes the song her own on 2005 covers album Hope and Desire. Tedeschi’s soulful voice, which is certainly more pleasant to listen to than Richards’, is supported by some typically virtuosic slide guitar from husband Derek Trucks. Not surprisingly, they dust off the song now and then with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. – Jordan Becker

14. Ituana – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

This concert sing-along favorite contrasts your wants with Jaggers’s philosophical response of “you get what you need.” Easily the musical highlight in the 1969 classic is the beautiful children’s choir intro. The Los Angeles band Ituana strips the Let It Bleed song down with a sultry voice and lounge feel – no choir. The result is a brilliant, pensive rendition that stands as great alternative to the busier Rolling Stone effort. The cover’s effort was good enough to win an Emmy for its inclusion in the finale scene of the TV show Big Little Lies. – John Lenhardt

13. Little Richard – Brown Sugar

If I am to be honest, I remain unsure whether this is any good as a standalone, or whether, like a dog walking on its hind legs, it is good purely for the chutzpah of it being done at all, especially by, bloody hell, the Little Richard, without whom the Rolling Stones might never have even existed. OK, so it is a standard soul revue type performance, more horns than a poacher’s trophy wall, and girly vocals everywhere. Actually, he makes a pretty damned good job of it, having also the decency not to bowdlerize the lyric. But then, it was 1971. Richard was 39, way too old for rocking and rolling, as it was seen then. – Seuras Og

12. The Assemblage – Satisfaction

Detroit’s Stuart Avery Assemblage certainly had a promising start: one of their first concerts was opening for the Yardbirds. They so impressed Jimmy Page that he brought them back to play with his group for the encore. For whatever reason, they appear to have fizzled not long after. But not before shortening their name to the Assemblage – and not before recording a fiery Doors-meets-gospel reimagining of “Satisfaction.” It dumps the original riff entirely, swapping in funky congas, passionate backing singers, trippy organ (played by Robin Robbins, who would shortly thereafter join Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band). They showed such promise it’s a shame they didn’t do more, but they couldn’t have gone out with a bigger bang. – Ray Padgett

11. Ramin Djawadi – Paint it Black

Ramin Djawadi brilliantly uses “Paint it Black” in two separate episodes of the popular HBO series Westworld. The first time in season one’s Westworld as a chamber piece and the second in season two’s Shogun World using Japanese instruments. Although the covers are a far cry from the original, for the Stones generation watching the show, the drama is far more impactful with the use of such poignant music. – Angela Hughey

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  12 Responses to “The Best Rolling Stones Covers Ever”

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  1. I love Devo’s version – not least for the way it utterly deconstructs the original, guaranteed in the late ’70s to annoy the hell out of grumpily aging classic-rockers – but The Residents’ version makes Devo’s sound like muzak.

    And then halfway through, Snakefinger comes in with a guitar solo that was probably used to test the durability of paint strips.

  2. Good choices, but I would have put Jane’s a lot higher on the list. If your readers are interested, here’s a ton more Stones covers…

  3. You know what this needs? Five or six more covers of “Beast of Burden.” Sheez …

  4. Montrose “Connection”
    Chubby Checker “Under My Thumb”

  5. You forgot Alex Chilton’s cover of Jumpin Jack Flash

  6. I can’t believe I’m not seeing anything about Bette Midler’s cover of Beast of Burden. Not only is it awesome, Mick is in her video.

  7. The Lantern by Mac Ribell, a 60´s brazilian fuzz band….

  8. Townes Van Zandt “Dead Flowers”

    The way Mick & Keith wanted to sound.

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