The Rolling Stones have achieved many things over the years, but perhaps their greatest achievement is their steadfast endurance. For nearly six decades, the British band has been performing an epic catalog featuring some of rock's grittiest and sexiest songs, and displaying a level of showmanship unsurpassed by their peers and followers.

“Fifty years is a long time, generally, to be doing anything and still be doing it and, of course, still doing the same songs, a lot of them," singer Mick Jagger told the Toronto Star in 2013. But I suppose it’s some kind of achievement. You’re out there in front of these people still doing this thing that you did in a club when you were 19, basically."

It's true the Stones have leaned heavily on their hits. Their top-three most-played songs in concert include "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Brown Sugar" and "Honky Tonk Women." But with a career that began in 1962, it's easy to understand how some classic songs never made it to their set lists.

There's still time, though, since the Stones still tour regularly. Whether or not the band will pull any surprises onstage remains to be seen, but if they're up for some suggestions, we have a list of the Top 10 Songs the Rolling Stones Haven't Played Live Yet below.

10. "Dear Doctor"
From: Beggar's Banquet (1968)

One of the Stones' earliest dips into country music, "Dear Doctor" weaves a woeful tale of a man whose fiancee has abandoned him on their wedding day. "Keith [Richards] and I had been playing Johnny Cash records and listening to the Everly Brothers — who were so country — since we were kids," Jagger said in the 2003 book According to the Rolling Stones. I used to love country music even before I met Keith. ... The country songs, like 'Factory Girl' or 'Dear Doctor,' on Beggars Banquet were really pastiche. There's a sense of humor in country music anyway, a way of looking at life in a humorous kind of way — and I think we were just acknowledging that element of the music."

 

9. "Soul Survivor"
From: Exile on Main St. (1972)

"Soul Survivor" began in the basement of Villa Nellcote, the French mansion where recording sessions for 1972's Exile on Main St. took place. The tracks were then taken to Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles for overdubs. "We did a lot of work on the stuff when we took it to L.A.," Richards told Rolling Stone. "But there was something about the rhythm section sound down there [in France] — maybe it’s the concrete, or maybe it’s the dirt, but it has a certain sound to it that you couldn’t replicate if you tried." On the 2010 reissue of the album, an early version of "Soul Survivor" can be heard, featuring Richards singing lead vocals with placeholder lyrics.

 

8. "Slave"
From: Tattoo You (1981)

Initially recorded in 1975 during the Black and Blue sessions, "Slave" was one of the many reworked songs included on the hodgepodge album that became 1981's Tattoo You. It features Billy Preston on keys, the Who's Pete Townshend on backing vocals, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and percussion by Ollie E. Brown and Michael Carabello. Although the song has yet to appear in any live sets, it probably would have made a good choice for an extended blues jam. An early 10-minute version of the track has long circulated as a bootleg online.

 

7. "Short and Curlies"
From: It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974)

The penultimate song on 1974's It's Only Rock 'n Roll, "Short and Curlies" is a prime example of the sturdy, piano-driven music that helped propel the Stones' 12th album to the top of the charts. Switching courses slightly, Jagger and Richards produced the album themselves under the Glimmer Twins moniker. (Jimmy Miller helped shape the band's earlier run of classic LPs.) "Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves," Richards said at the time, "because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording, and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go."

 

6. "Casino Boogie"
From: Exile on Main St. (1972)

The seemingly random nature to "Casino Boogie"'s lyrics is intentional. "That song was done in cut-ups," Jagger told Uncut in 2010. "It's in the style of William Burroughs, and so on. 'Million dollar sad' doesn't mean anything. We did it in L.A. in the studio. We just wrote phrases on bits of paper and cut them up. The Burroughs style. And then you throw them into a hat, pick them out and assemble them into verses. We did it for one number, but it worked. We probably did it because we couldn't think of anything to write."

 

5. "Heaven"
From: Tattoo You (1981)

A gorgeous opening guitar riff gives way to a surprisingly psychedelic sound on "Heaven," the only Tattoo You track that Richards doesn't play guitar on. (Those duties were fulfilled by Jagger and Bill Wyman, who also provides bass and synthesizer.) Noticeably less gritty than other songs found on the No. 1 album, "Heaven" has never made it to the stage.

 

4. "Hide Your Love"
From: Goats Head Soup (1973)

The bluesy jam "Hide Your Love" probably has never been performed live because Jagger initially didn't think too highly of the song. "At the time I remember thinking, 'Oh, that was a throwaway song,'" he told Rolling Stone in 2020. "My memory was doing it once in Olympic [Studios in London], which I probably did, with me playing piano on it. And I don’t even remember who plays piano on the record. ... This says piano on track seven, and there is no track seven. I’m just looking at it on Wiki. My memory was completely wrong." (Jagger was likely looking at the entire set's track listing, as opposed to the vinyl edition, which lists each side's contents separately.)

 

3. "Down in the Hole"
From: Emotional Rescue (1980)

Long before 2016's covers album Blue and Lonesome, the Stones were pretty much writing their own blues songs. "Down in the Hole," from 1980's Emotional Rescue, features harmonica by guest Sugar Blue, who also played on the Stones' No. 1 1978 hit "Miss You."

 

2. "Winter"
From: Goats Head Soup (1973)

Despite its chilly theme and title, the melancholic "Winter" was recorded in the balmy tropics of Jamaica during the Goats Head Soup sessions. Written and recorded without Richards, "Winter" was largely the result of a collaboration between Jagger and guitarist Mick Taylor, who provides the great solo here. “I always liked the way Mick picked out those pretty melodies around the tunes,” Jagger said of the song in 2020. “He was very good at that sort of thing.”

 

1. "If You Really Want to Be My Friend"
From: It's Only Rock 'n Roll (1974)

It isn't exactly clear whom Jagger is singing to in "If You Really Want to Be My Friend," which includes the Philadelphia-based soul group Blue Magic on backing vocals. He could be referring to his wife at the time, Bianca, and attempting to rationalize the balancing act of being a married man and an international rock star. But Jagger switches perspective during the song: "I know everybody wants to be your man" becomes "If you really want to be my man." Is this nodding to his relationship with Richards, who had grown frustrated with Bianca's heavy influence on his songwriting partner? It's possible. Either way, the song has never made it onstage.

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