30 Years On, I think that “Postliberal” sums it up best
Before Mick & the Boys carefully cultivated their bad boy image, they broke new ground by delivering sharp, driving updates of Afro-American bluesmen like Willie Dixon, etc., and early rockers like Chuck Berry (I think this was their finest hour, personally). But even back then they were developing evidence of a refined style - when they wanted to. "Lady Jane" with its Elizabethan overtones came out in1966 and, while it didn’t crack the Top 20 in the US, it did set the stage for Ruby Tuesday hitting #1 the very next year.
Another example of the Stones straying from the rock genre is Dead Flowers, here covered by Townes Van Zandt. One of my favorite Stones songs.Hearing Townes sing it, it almost sounds like a song Townes would write.
In about 1970, I was in the Army and living in a barracks. I put on one of my Rolling Stones records - can't remember which one, but it had Lady Jane on it. Anyway, a friend heard it, and came over to ask me which group it was that played such great blues. He was amazed to hear that it was the Stones. Until that time, I never thought of the Stones as a blues group, but the more I thought about it and listened to music, the more convinced I became that he was right.
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