Rolling Stones Gather No Moss

“HONK” by Rolling Stones. Seen here in its triple vinyl configuration.

Career-spanning are the key words for compilation albums. You earn this type of release by outlasting your contemporaries. A group builds their legacy by putting out recordings year after year. They perform live concerts in support of their latest work. If music journalists are writing about them perhaps they can influence listeners to keep buying their goods.

In the case of Rolling Stones all the years have added up to this moment with the release of a new best-of compilation LP, Honk, on April 19th via Polydor/Interscope. The career-spanning project is available as a single-CD and 2-LP edition featuring 20 songs, along with a deluxe 3-CD/4-LP set with 46 cuts.

This album covers the band’s output from 1971 until 2016. There are songs taken from their recent tours as well.

Perhaps no band has been able to stay in the good graces of its dedicated public more than The Stones. I think they have remained true to themselves. Their last studio effort was 2016’s “Blue & Lonesome” which brought them full circle. A collection of blues covers that remind listeners what they are at their core is a blues rock fusion.

How you perceive them today depends on when you entered their story. The first Stones compilation for me was “Hot Rocks” which covered their hits from the 1960s up until 1971. I became a regular buyer of their music after hearing this record. According to Wikipedia it’s the band’s best-selling record selling 6 million copies in the U.S. since its release (12x Platinum).

There would be other best of type records in the future. Every generation has been introduced to The Stones since 1962. Over 50 years since their inception they show time and again why they are still here. The first true career-spanning hits album came with 40 Licks. It boasted 4 new songs; always an enticement for longstanding fans of a group who already own most of the music. “Don’t Stop” was one of those tracks that provided an answer to their critics.

Proving that they were not just putting out another compilation they toured in support of it. Money is a component crucial to a band’s survival. Rolling Stones did not control their 1960s output. From the 1970s onward they gained control of their recordings.

To be honest I loved their music despite the ever changing climate of pop culture. Their early material remains evergreen. In my teens I witnessed the closest they ever came to breaking up. At the time very few cared since they were not considered relevant. Their 1989 comeback “Steel Wheels” allowed me to see them finally.

Honk includes their hits from the 1980s through 2016. And live recordings from their past two decades as a stadium staple around the world. Including a live performance of “Wild Horses” with Florence Welch (Flo And The Machine); “Beast Of Burden” with Ed Sheeran; “Bitch” with Dave Grohl.

Now Sir Mick Jagger, at 75, after heart surgery shows no signs of slowing. Yes, their current U.S. tour was postponed. But Honk allows a sweet reminder of why we still care. Their latter output is all here. Hey this is only rock n roll, but we like it!

Check out Pitchfork’s list of Stones songs that don’t sound like the Stones here:

Here is all the info on Honk:

“Start Me Up”, “It’s Only Rock N Roll”, “Gimme Shelter”, “Tumblin’Dice”, “Fool To Cry” etc etc etc.”Undercover”, “Mixed Emotions”, “Saint Of Me”, “Streets of Love” etc etc etc

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