Ron Wood has played devil's advocate to both Rod Stewart and Keith Richards, with a style that perfectly complemented both the Faces and the Rolling Stones.
The shaggy-haired guitar ace joined the Stones in 1975 after the Faces split up, but his history dates back to the sounds of swinging London as guitarist with R&B rockers the Birds, and as bassist extraordinaire for the Jeff Beck Group. Most people might only know the man from his tenure as Mick Taylor's replacement, but there's more to the story than meets the eye. See for yourself as we count down the Top 10 Pre-Rolling Stones Ron Wood Songs.
"Pool Hall Richard"The Faces
Released as a non-LP single in 1973, this rocking raver hit the U.K. Top 10 and was, in many ways, the band's last hurrah. With Rod Stewart's solo career rocketing higher by the day, tensions within the band grew too much. Ronnie Lane left shortly after its release, and before too long, Wood was a Rolling Stone. This was certainly a high note to go out on, making it one of the Top 10 Pre-Rolling Stones Ron Wood Songs.
"I Ain't Superstitious"The Jeff Beck Group
From: 'Truth' (1968)
The raunchy Willie Dixon-penned blues track was custom made for the Jeff Beck Group. A classic where Beck displays his six-string genius and Rod Stewart demonstrates why he was one of the greatest rock singers ever. The trio beat Led Zeppelin to the punch by a few scant months with loud, hard rock 'n' roll drenched in the blues, and delivered it with passion. Cream laid the groundwork, and Zeppelin won the war, but the Truth album is where it really took shape.
"Plynth (Water Down the Drain)"The Jeff Beck Group
From: 'Beck-Ola' (1969)
Co-written by Wood, Rod Stewart and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, "Plynth (Water Down the Drain)" is one of the few original compositions on the Jeff Beck Group albums. The band dishes out a raw and raunchy pile of rock here, with Beck's guitar slashing away while Wood lays down a funky groove and Stewart nails the vocal like no one else could.
"Shapes of Things"The Jeff Beck Group
From: 'Truth' (1968)
Jeff Beck took the Yardbirds classic from 1966 and transformed it into a full-blown epic rocker on 1968's Truth. Beck whips off a brilliant lead as the band groove on behind him. Wood anchors the song as Micky Waller takes off into Keith Moon-like territory mid-song. It's a shoo-in for our Top 10 Pre-Rolling Stones Ron Wood Songs.
"Miss Judy's Farm"The Faces
From: 'A Nod Is as Good as a Wink ... ' (1971)
From Wood's opening guitar riff and Rod Stewart's howl, "Miss Judy's Farm" is one of the Faces' all-time best rockers. This Wood/Stewart composition from the 1971 classic A Nod Is As Good as a Wink ... to a Blind Horse shows off the Faces' stomping and raucous style in full bloom. Wood's playing here is pure raunch and roll, while Lane's and Jones' bump-and-grind rhythm section and Ian McLagan's pure soul organ set the stage for one of Stewart's finest moments.
From: 'I've Got My Own Album to Do' (1974)
Wood's 1974 solo debut is somewhat of a forgotten artifact. He received a little help from friends Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, George Harrison and David Bowie on I've Got My Own Album to Do, to name a few. One of the album's best tracks is "Mystifies Me," a song that would have fit in on any classic Faces album.
"All Shook Up"The Jeff Beck Group
From: 'Beck-Ola' (1969)
An Elvis Presley classic is remade into rocking number from the Jeff Beck Group's second album Beck-Ola. They make "All Shook Up" their own by shaking things up and twisting it into a different shape. Wood and new drummer Tony Newman were a fierce rhythm section on this one, while Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart do what they do best.
"You're on My Mind" The Birds
The first single from the Birds, and it's a doozy! Raunchy R&B to the max was the band's calling card, and aside from the Pretty Things, no one was doing this style quite as convincingly. Wood wrote this rocker and delivers the primal and gritty solo here. There's great guitar and harmonica interplay here too. A mod-styled dance floor raver if ever there was one, "You're on My Mind" earns a spot in the Top 10 Pre-Rolling Stones Ron Wood Songs.
"How Can It Be?"The Birds
Written by Wood and issued as the flip side of the Birds' third single, the largely unknown "How Can It Be?" never lets up. It's pure mod-styled R&B via primal loud rock 'n' roll, powered by Wood's slashing guitar and thundering bass and crashing drums. This song should be more well known, but if it's new to your ears, better late than never.
From: 'Ooh La La' (1972)
Written by Wood and Ronnie Lane, this country-tinged number features a rare lead vocal by Wood. Apparently Rod Stewart didn't care much for the tune, so Wood took a shot at the vocals, which ended up being just what the song needed. His more casual delivery fit the words, music and general mood of the song perfectly. Over time, this has become one of the Faces' most popular songs.