Singles 1965-1967

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ABKCO’s second release in its Rolling Stones Singles series (three boxes filled with CD-singles, replicating the Stones’ 1960s-era 45s and EPs in their original packaging and sequencing) lacks the odd rarities included on its predecessor, 1963-1965. Actually, virtually everything here has been available, at one pass, since 1989’s The Singles: The London Years box. But from an archivist’s standpoint — and that’s the only kind of fan who’s going to buy these sets — 1965-1967 makes a compelling case that the Stones were one of the finest singles groups ever, in their heyday, and it’s all about the CD-single format. True, that’s a very specific charge to get from a high-end set like this; still, there’s something undeniably wondrous about holding that little repro “Satisfaction” sleeve, and hearing that rowdy cut, backed with “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man”... and then just having it stop, and stand on its own, like the first time anyone ever spun it. Too, all the material here, unlike 1963-1965, is original, and it all comes from the period when the Stones were morphing from R&B aficionados into raunchy, leer-lipped malcontents (kudos to the label for including both U.S. and British B-sides, as well). “Stupid Girl,” “Paint It, Black,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Play With Fire” — the Stones would get sleazier after Brian Jones died, but the careful balance of horniness and soulfulness they sustained during this period was a brief and wonderful thing.

Eric Waggoner writes about books for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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