Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Exile on Main St.

The Rolling Stones


The Stones’ shambolic, decadent mystique in its ultimate form.

More than songs or performances, Exile on Main St. was about mood. Can you hear the young gods sweating it out in the basement of a French mansion overlooking the Mediterranean, surrounded by junkies and hangers-on, eating lobster in the afternoon and working all night? Never had the band managed to translate their myth so faithfully into sound. But Exile was also the closest The Rolling Stones ever got to something truly avant-garde, an album whose perceived mistakes—the muddy mix, the dislocated performances—conjured a feeling that something more correct would have wiped away.

Exile on Main St. is the greatest rock ’n’ roll record of all time. It’s not just the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the South of France, in a mansion, being unimaginably beautiful and decadent. But it’s what’s going on in there that you can’t hear.”

Chris Robinson

The Black Crowes

For every “Tumbling Dice” or “Torn and Frayed”—two of the album’s more coherent moments—there was an “I Just Want to See His Face” or “Let It Loose,” tracks that functioned less as finished thoughts than open-ended suggestions. And the blues that had once served as the band’s shorthand for earthly hardships and desires now sounded mysterious and arcane. They now embodied the confusion they had once merely described.