(Credit: Alamy)


The 25 songs The Rolling Stones have played live the most


Since 1962, The Rolling Stones have more or less been touring consistently. Apart from a few brief interims, like the mid-1980s ‘World War III’ era and a five-year gap between 2007 and 2012, there has rarely been a year that was not accompanied by a Stones tour.

In that 60 year span, the band has played upwards of 2,000 concerts, from brief package tours that found the group playing as little as three songs a night to extravagant modern festival gigs that could last up to three hours. The Stones have played a lot of music, and they have quite a back catalogue to pull from these days.

Mick Jagger is the designated setlist maker in the band, and he often keeps his eye on crowd-pleasing favourites. As the band got older and started to reduce their yearly number of gigs, Jagger began to homogenize the setlist more and more. Maybe that’s due to age, or perhaps Jagger just wants to get the most bang out of every concert. In any case, the variations between modern setlists usually only shake out to a difference of a single song or two.

How James Brown inspired The Rolling Stones to new heights

Read More

But there are surprises when it comes to the band’s historical stats. For instance, I have rarely come across a Stones concert that didn’t end with ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ and would have bet every last dollar I have on that song being the band’s most played. While it’s true that not hearing the band’s first transatlantic hit is indeed a rare occurrence at a Stones show, it was slightly more common when the band were still playing upwards of 50 shows a year. Now that the number usually rests somewhere in the teens, you can bet your life that you’ll hear ‘Satisfaction’.

It’s actually the band’s opener that has remained the most consistent over the years: ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, the 1968 single that showed off the Stones’ return to hard rock, has been on consistent rotation since its recording, having been played at over half of the band’s total shows. While the band will occasionally lead off with ‘Start Me Up’ or ‘Street Fighting Man’ instead, it would be almost impossible to get through a Stones concert without hearing ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

The top ten are all certified classics, with tracks like ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ understandably being the band’s go-to picks. But further down the list, odd choices and pleasant surprises begin to pop up. The Voodoo Lounge cut ‘You Got Me Rocking’ is a band favourite, having been played more times than better-known tracks like ‘Paint It Black’ and ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’.

Elsewhere, even though they’re some of the band’s best numbers, songs like ‘Rocks Off’, ‘Shattered’, and ‘Angie’ have only appeared at approximately 10% of the Stones’ total shows. ‘Wild Horses’ isn’t just missing from the top 25: it’s all the way down at number 40, with a paltry 151 performances. That’s only two more plays than the Let It Bleed deep cut ‘Monkey Man’.

The oldest song in the top 25 is of course ‘Satisfaction’, with the most recent being ‘Out of Control’ from 1997’s Bridges to Babylon. Unsurprisingly, the Stones like to keep to their classic run of albums from 1968’s Beggars Banquet to 1972’s Exile on Main St., but plenty of songs from Some Girls get their own appearances as well. When it comes to Keith Richards’ standard number, he usually opts for ‘Happy’, but will also reach for ‘Before They Make Me Run’ on occasion as well.

Check out the full list of The Rolling Stones’ 25 most played I’ve songs down below.

The Rolling Stones’ 25 most played songs:

  1. ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ – 1,182
  2. ‘Brown Sugar’ – 1,137
  3. ‘Honky Tonk Women’ – 1,122
  4. ‘Tumbling Dice’ – 1,108
  5. ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ – 956
  6. ‘Start Me Up’ – 904
  7. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – 813
  8. ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)’ – 800
  9. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ – 769
  10. ‘Miss You’ – 757
  11. ‘Midnight Rambler’ – 708
  12. ‘Gimme Shelter’ – 673
  13. ‘Street Fighting Man’ – 593
  14. ‘Happy’ – 530
  15. ‘You Got Me Rocking’ – 450
  16. ‘Paint It Black’ – 426
  17. ‘All Down The Line’ – 329
  18. ‘Before They Make Me Run’ – 315
  19. ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ – 300
  20. ‘Bitch’ – 290
  21. ‘Angie’ – 258
  22. ‘Beast of Burden’ – 242
  23. ‘Shattered’ – 224
  24. ‘Out of Control’ – 207
  25. ‘Rocks Off’ – 204

Stream a playlist of all 25 songs, below.