Like many bands from the mid-20th Century, The Rolling Stones started their careers and gained notoriety by covering hits by already accomplished musicians. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, as they say, but it’s also a great way to get paid. If the Stones hadn’t, they likely wouldn’t be 30 studio albums deep and still touring at this point in their lives. In fact, we’re still not sure how Keith Richards is still going as strong as he is; if iron sharpens iron, then Richard’s iron must be sex, drugs (oh, so many drugs), and rock ‘n’ roll.
Let’s move on from the metaphors.
Throughout their career, from beginning, to middle, to whenever the hell the end is, The Rolling Stones have recorded and performed countless covers of other artists holding varying degrees of fame (like Robert Johnson), but with huge influence (again, Robert Johnson). Here are ten of the best.
“Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”
Originally released by The Temptations and found on Some Girls from 1978.
“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
Also originally recorded by The Temptations and found on 1974’s It’s Only Rock’n’Roll.
“Going To A Go-Go”
This track from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles can be found on the band’s live album, Still Life, from 1982.
Originally recorded by soul and R&B duo Bob & Earl, “Harlem Shuffle” can be found on the band’s 1986 album Dirty Work.
“You Can’t Catch Me”
This Chuck Berry original can be found on the band’s second UK album, The Rolling Stones No. 2 from 1965
“That’s How Strong My Love Is”
O.V. Wright recorded “That’s How Strong My Love Is” before Otis Redding made it famous. It can be found on Out Of Our Heads from 1965
“Stop Breaking Down”
Found on arguably the band’s greatest effort, 1972’s Exile On Main Street, “Stop Breaking Down” was a part of Robert Johnson’s last recording session in 1937.
“Shake Your Hips”
This Slim Harpo track can also be found on Exile On Main Street.
Choosing a Chuck Berry song as the first track of your first (UK) album? Not a bad choice.
“Not Fade Away”
This Buddy Holly classic was the first track on the band’s first US album, now officially titled England’s Newest Hit Makers.