By all accounts this band, who actually formed before I was even born, should be sitting squarely at the top, along with the Beatles, on this list.
For me it boils down to that damn stranded island thing. If it were named "The Rock Island" then possibly yes to it being The Stones, but for my handful of CD's to grab, I would always grab for the harder Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Purple for "The Hard Rock Island". Besides, I believe The Rock Island belongs to a railroad anyway!
In either case, you know I would at least grab a "Sticky Fingers" along for the ride...
I first heard The Rolling Stones on the radio like everyone else. I believe it was "Satisfaction". I really just thought of them like a Chuck Berry wannabe. The riffs were the same, so was the attitude, but maybe with a little Beatles thrown in. Don't hate me for that, but I thought early Who sounded the same! It just didn't have that "kick" that I was looking for.
When I first got into heavier rock it was 1975 or so and I was all about the American Bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, and Montrose. I still struggle today putting Zep, Sabbath, Purple and The Stones before the good Ol' USA! I just felt more "connected" to stateside bands at the time.
In the 80's I finally let myself be more open to "Non-Hard Rock"-type bands like The Doors, The Who, and definitely The Rolling Stones. I started with Best Of and Greatest Hits packages from all of them. For The Stones, it was the Hot Rocks Two-CD set. Suddenly my eyes were opened to how versatile and dynamic all their hits were. Disc Two was my favorite, because you got Street Fighting Man, Honky Tonk Woman, and Brown Sugar all together!
The first actual Stones CD I purchased was Sticky Fingers. I couldn't believe this "hit-making" band could be this damn good. Most of these songs were harder to my liking, and even the blues cuts were incredible! Just don't leave me with "Dead Flowers" 'cause that song is horrible! Ha!
After being overwhelmed by how good that album was, I dove headfirst into other great albums like Some Girls, It's Only Rock and Roll, Tattoo You and Black and Blue. As with all the other groups I like, the best Stones songs are the ones that you haven't heard yet.
As of this writing, The Rolling Stones have had a record 37 albums that have made it into the top 10 according to the Billboard Top 200. This "Rock Island Railroad" freight train refuses to stop from riding the rails of rock and roll. If you get a chance to see them in concert you better grab a ticket fast, as they still sell out any arena or festival faster than a Jumpin' Jack Flash. Their dedication to their music and their fans is unparalleled. They have been rockin' and rollin' longer than I have been alive, and their legacy will live on long after "Mick and Keef" finally get their "Satisfaction"!