Explore Five Rare Gems from the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones, June 1969. Photo: Len Trievnor/Express/Getty Images

Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary is being feted with understandable aplomb — after all, there was a time when nobody expected rock & roll’s original enfants terrible to live past 30, much less continue rocking into their seventies. The band’s first tour dates since 2007, the three-CD, 50-song best-of set GRRR!, and the long-awaited commercial release of the first-ever Stones documentary, 1965’s Charlie Is My Darling, all underscore the impact Mick, Keith, and company have made over the course of the past half-century. But no matter how many hits the Stones squeeze into their upcoming shows or pack onto their ample anthology, a band with this much history behind it will always have to leave the lion’s share of their tale untold, especially when it comes to the more esoteric end of their discography. So consider this a public service, as we drop deep into the well of Stones obscurities for some of the coolest cuts that won’t be a part of the semi-centennial celebration.

1. “Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)”

When Exile on Main St. was remastered in 2010, it came complete with a bonus disc of previously unreleased tracks from those storied sessions, including alternate takes and newly overdubbed versions of works in progress. “Plunder My Soul,” released as a single ahead of the rest, got the most attention, but “Pass the Wine” is a sexy, serpentine slice of hedonistic hoodoo in which the Stones celebrate the fine art of survival. And no, we have no idea why it’s subtitled “Sophia Loren.”

2. “Through the Lonely Nights”

Everybody knows the Stones’ classic 1974 party platter, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll,” but that song’s bittersweet b-side occupies the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Started during the sessions for 1973’s Goat’s Head Soup album, this country-soul ballad of wrecked romance occupies a space similar to songs like “Memory Motel” and “Wild Horses,” and stands up admirably in that esteemed company.

3. “Everything Is Turning To Gold”

In 1978, the Stones detailed their New York City blues with a full-frontal attack inspired by the onslaught of New Wave on the Some Girls single “Shattered.” That song’s flip side (also included on the now out-of-print collection Sucking in the Seventies) showed that things weren’t always so anxious on the Stones’ side of town. Over a churning groove and primal, bluesy riffs, Mick details what happens when worries melt away and “the love juice starts to flow.”

4. “For Your Precious Love”

They may have a longstanding reputation as blues hounds, but nobody does soul like the Stones. This ballad was co-written by Chicago soul sultan Jerry Butler and first recorded by him with the Impressions in 1958, when the Stones were still schoolboys, but it obviously seeped deeply into their ears. An outtake from either 1986’s Dirty Work or ‘89’s Steel Wheels, depending on who you believe (our money’s on the latter), this cover reveals the band’s alternate identity as sweet soul senders.

5. “Under The Radar”

In case it wasn’t already obvious, one can never comfortably count the Stones out — so don’t get the idea that their hidden treasures are limited to the 20th century. The band couldn’t quite fit the appropriately titled “Under the Radar” on 2005’s A Bigger Bang, still their most recent album. Only those who picked up the deluxe edition of that release heard the track, on a bonus DVD. But just as that record — their best since the ‘80s album of your choice — proved there was still fire and fury in The Stones, this sassy, snarling tune betrays an equal amount of bite.

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