The 30 Best Covers of Rolling Stones Songs

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The Rolling Stones may not get covered by other bands as much as The Beatles, but they’re not far off. Their songs have been recorded more than 500 times on various albums, but we’ve narrowed that output down to our 30 favorites. No artist was allowed to appear more than once on this list, and we only picked our the best version of each song (with one notable exception at #1).

30. Beatles – I Wanna Be Your Man
If this song was the battleground where the Beatles vs. Stones war was waged, then the Stones would be the clear winners, giving it a little more grit. Still, it’s a fun little song in the hands of the Fab Four.

29. Phish – Loving Cup
Trey Anastasio’s jam outfit waited until they had a baby grand for Page McConnell to break this song out on tour in 1993. It’s been an off-and-on staple for the band over the years.

28. U2 – Paint It Black
This song has been covered by The Feelies, R.E.M., Echo & The Bunnymen and tons of others, but we’re going with the dark strangeness of the U2 cover from the Achtung Baby Deluxe Edition. We also love this Grace Potter version.

27. The Corrs – Ruby Tuesday
Ron Wood actually joined the Irish band for this live cut recorded in Dublin. The siblings’ harmonies add a nice depth to the song.

26. Lindsey Buckingham – I Am Waiting
With finger-picked acoustic guitar, Lindsey Buckingham almost whisper-sings this Aftermath track for his 2006 solo album, Under the Skin, on which the former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist plays almost all the instruments.

25. Billy Bragg – She Smiled Sweetly
With Bragg’s vocals way up front in the mix, the lyrics of this deep cut from Between the Buttons—about letting go of your worries—get a chance to shine.

24. Rage Against The Machine – Street Fighting Man
With the help of producer Rick Rubin, Rage took on some unexpected covers on their 2000 album Renegades, from Eric B. & Rakim to Devo to this Rolling Stones cut, drenching it all in heavy riffs.

23. Golden Smog – Backstreet Girl
The very first thing Minneapolis super-group Golden Smog recorded was a five-song covers EP On Golden Smog. Founding members Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum), Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Marc Perlman, Kraig Johnson and Chris Mars (The Replacements) put a slow-country tinge on “Backstreet Girl.”

22. Tori Amos – Angie
The 1992 EP single for her hit “Crucify” included this stripped down cover of the Stones’ ballad “Angie” with just vocals and piano. Also check out Welsh rockers Sterophonics acoustic power-ballad version.

21. Mekons – Heart of Stone
Even with a countrified “Heart of Stone,” The Mekons keep the spirit of the original alive.

The Rolling Stones may not get covered by other bands as much as The Beatles, but they’re not far off. Their songs have been recorded more than 500 times on various albums, but we’ve narrowed that output down to our 30 favorites. No artist was allowed to appear more than once on this list, and we only picked our the best version of each song (with one notable exception at #1).

20. Etta James – Miss You
On 2000’s Matriarch of the Blues, Etta James slows down this soulful number that’s wonderful apart from some weird phone-call noises and random spoken-word around the two-minute mark.

19. Alejandro Escovedo – Sway
Roots-rocking Texas troubadour Alejandro Escovedo released a live album in 1998 including this twangy take on “Sway” from Sticky Fingers that includes a sweet guitar solo.

18. Susan Tedeschi – You Got the Silver
The Rolling Stones have done their share of blues covers, and here, Susan Tedeschi completes the circle with some sweet-as-Tupelo-honey slide guitar.

17. The Ramones – Out of Time
There’s something great about The Ramones’ covering standards, like the Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance?” and this Rolling Stones cut.

16. Lee Fields – Moonlight Mile
The Rolling Stones may have borrowed heavily from American blues, but American soul singers like Lee Fields got a lot of mileage out songs like this one.

15. First Aid Kit – Play With Fire
The Swedish sisters in First Aid Kit lend their gorgeous harmonies and some acoustic guitar to this track, and that’s all it needs.

14. Elton John – Honky Tonk Women
Elton John  has rarely sounded like he’s having as much fun as on this unexpected cover, and it’s completely endearing.

13. Jason & The Scorchers – 19th Nervous Breakdown
Nashville’s country-punk pioneers Jason & the Scorchers covered this track on their 1986 album Still Standing and capture the frenetic energy of the original.

12. Marianne Faithfull – As Tears Go By
It’s not often that the same artist has two great, very different covers of the same song, but it’s worth listening to both Faithfull’s sweet 1964 cut and her much rawer version in 1987.

11. The Who – Under My Thumb
From their Odds & Sods album, Pete, Roger and the gang payed tribute to their contemporaries with a pretty faithful, drum-heavy rendition of “Under My Thumb.”

The Rolling Stones may not get covered by other bands as much as The Beatles, but they’re not far off. Their songs have been recorded more than 500 times on various albums, but we’ve narrowed that output down to our 30 favorites. No artist was allowed to appear more than once on this list, and we only picked our the best version of each song (with one notable exception at #1).

10. The Blind Boys of Alabama – The Last Time
The Rolling Stones may or may not have had the Second Coming in mind when they wrote this song, but in 2001, Gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama turned “The Last Time” into an old-time spiritual, focusing on the refrain.

9. MC5 – Empty Heart
The Michigan rock band covered this track in a 1972 performance that as released as Thunder Express in 1999. It’s a full-on assault and a perfect song choice for the blues-punk outfit.

8. Over the Rhine – Waiting On A Friend
I was already partial to Karen Berquist’s voice when I heard this cut from Paint It Black: An Alt Country Tribute to the Rolling Stones.

7. Patti Smith – Gimme Shelter
Patti Smith performed this song when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Musically, it’s a pretty faithful version, but when Patti Smith’s vocals kick in, the song becomes something entirely different.

6. David Bowie – Let’s Spend The Night Together
Ziggy Stardust turned this hit into a fantastic space-rock blur 40 years ago.

5. Townes Van Zandt – Dead Flowers
It’s difficult to hear Van Zandt sing “I’ll be in my basement room, with a needle and a spoon,” when you know where his addictions would lead him. But this version, famously used in The Big Lebowski has surpassed the original in my mind.

4. Johnny Cash – No Expectations
Recorded on Gone Girl, this song could have been written with Johnny Cash in mind. Like most everything else he sung, the Man in Black owns it.

3. Tina Turner – Jumping Jack Flash
It takes a brave soul to try to out-Jagger Jagger, but that’s what Ms. Turner does on this live cut from Live in Arnhem backed by a band that knows how to do rock ‘n’ roll. I believe she was born in a cross-fire hurricane.

2. Sundays – Wild Horses
Off their album Blind, The Sundays make this a gorgeous, haunting plea. It’s one of the most popular Stones covers but one of the best. Also check out this lovely Flying Burrito Brothers version.

1. Otis Redding – Satisfaction
1. Devo – Satisfaction (tie)
It’s impossible to choose between Devo’s and Otis Redding’s completely distinct takes on “Satisfaction,” so I’m including them both. I love the horns on Redding’s version and the way Devo makes it the most Devo of Devo songs.

Our friends at Concert Vault have put together a playlist of some amazing Rolling Stones covers here.

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