One of the original purveyors of rock and roll, The Rolling Stones pioneered the overdriven sound that catapulted the blues into a new, exciting era and genre. Heralded by many as the "greatest rock and roll band in the world," their deep catalog of records have topped worldwide charts for half a century. At the heart of The Rolling Stones' influential sound is the songwriting team of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Their compositions, often blending pop, blues, and rock are among the most recognizable tunes in history.
We've hand-picked a few Rolling Stones songs that guitar players of all levels can enjoy learning. Whether you want to master every lick and solo, or simply strum along with a simplified version, there's something here for everyone!
From The Rolling Stones' 1971 album, Sticky Fingers, Wild Horses is a great song to learn in order to understand how to build a dramatic story arc with your playing. The arrangement features four distinct sections: intro, verse, chorus, and a bridge -- each with its own chord progression. Many of the chords are open, but there are a few barre chords thrown in, which can be a fun challenge for beginners. In addition to the full barre chord shapes, instructor Mike Olekshy shows some simplified alternative versions.
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
With guitar licks that mimic classic R&B horn sounds and some heavily blues-influenced rhythm guitar playing, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction is the prime example of The Rolling Stones' crossover from blues to rock and roll. In this simplified tutorial, instructor Mike Olekshy breaks all the songs parts down to simple open chords with an easy strumming pattern so that beginners can pick things up quickly. Once you've captured the overall vibe of the song, you can dive into mastering each riff with our full tutorial, perfect for guitarists with a bit more experience.
You Can't Always Get What You Want
An epic tune from the 1969 album, Let It Bleed, You Can't Always Get What You Want demonstrates The Rolling Stones mixing country, blues and gospel influences into an anthemic rock and roll hit. In this "Made Easy" tutorial, instructor Caren Armstrong shows to play through the song with basic chord progressions. If you've played along a bit and are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the licks and rhythms, check out our full version tutorial with instructor Mike Olekshy.
The opening track on Let It Bleed, Gimme Shelter is considered by critics to be one of the greatest songs of all time. Born out of the tension of the times, the song features an urgent, frenetic sound and guest vocals by soul and gospel singer, Merry Clayton. Comprised of an iconic intro, hypnotic verse riffs and explosive soloing, Gimme Shelter is a nice challenge for guitarists with some experience. In this tutorial, instructor Mike Olekshy breaks down every single layer.
Paint It Black
From their 1966 album, Aftermath, Paint It Black was one of The Rolling Stones' first number 1 hits in the United States, as well as one of the first products of the Jagger/Richards team being the principal songwriting force behind the band. Featuring a pounding drum groove, tense guitar progressions, and even a sitar, this song creates a dark atmosphere in the key of E minor. For this tutorial, instructor Mike Olekshy details each guitar part, and adapts the prominent sitar part for guitar so you can truly nail the overall sound.