The Rolling Stones didn't totally suck in the '70s. The decade started great for them, with Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. – released in 1971 and 1972, respectively – ranking as two of the band's (and music's, for that matter) best-ever albums. And their last LP of the '70s, Some Girls, is really good too. But in between, the story's a bit different.

And the Stones heard the jokes. How could they miss them? And they were more than aware that Goats Head Soup and Black and Blue were far from their finest works. With Keith Richards supposedly nodding off or disappearing altogether during the recording sessions, they were hardly a band even keeping it together in the middle part of the decade.

So, never one to let a golden opportunity pass them by, the Stones summed up the previous half-dozen or so years on their first compilation of the '80s, Sucking in the Seventies, which winked at the collected nature of the set with its punny title while also acknowledging that the record (yet another repackaging of old material by a group that had way too many repackages on shelves already) was no Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) or even Made in the Shade.

The album collected 10 songs, spanning the period from 1974's It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (an edited version of the album track "Time Waits for No One") through the 1978-79 sessions for 1980's Emotional Rescue ("If I Was a Dancer [Dance Pt. 2]," an outtake based on the same riff used on the album's "Dance [Pt. 1]"). In between are two songs from Some Girls, three from Black and Blue (all edited), one number from the dismal concert souvenir Love You Live, one B-side and a previously unavailable live cut from 1978.

If fans felt like they were being ripped off, the Stones didn't even bother to disguise their intentions (take a look at the album title again). For starters, more than half of the songs were edited from the original LP versions. But more shockingly, where were the big hits from the period – like "Miss You," their first No. 1 in five years and most likely last ever? "Beast of Burden" is here, and it's great, but the longer Some Girls version is even better.

That doesn't leave much on Sucking in the Seventies worth celebrating. The "Shattered" b-side "Everything Is Turning to Gold" is a grimier take on the disco-influenced songs the band was exploring during the period, and "If I Was a Dancer (Dance Pt. 2)" completes the dance-floor odyssey started the year before on Emotional Rescue. Everything else is either butchered versions of songs found elsewhere or live songs pulled from bloated mid-'70s tours.

The album still managed to climb to No. 15 in the U.S., but it didn't even chart in the U.K. Like several other quickie compilations from back in the day, Sucking in the Seventies was eventually replaced by another set and went out of print. But in 2005, it was updated for the CD age with a new remaster, reminding everyone just how dissolute the '70s could be.

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