Through the Past, Darkly
(Big Hits Vol. 2)
Greatest hits album by
Released12 September 1969
Recorded8 August 1963 – June 1969
GenreRock, psychedelic
LabelLondon (US), Decca (UK)
ProducerAndrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Beggars Banquet
Through the Past, Darkly
(Big Hits Vol. 2)

Let It Bleed
The Rolling Stones compilations chronology
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)
Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)
Stone Age

Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) is the second compilation album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in September 1969 by Decca Records in the UK and London Records/ABKCO Records in the US.


According to Bruce Eder of AllMusic, the album resulted from "three coinciding events – the need to acknowledge the death of the band’s founder Brian Jones (whose epitaph graces the inside cover) in July of 1969; the need to get 'Honky Tonk Women,' then a huge hit single, onto an LP; and to fill the ten-month gap since the release of Beggars Banquet and get an album with built-in appeal into stores ahead of the Stones' first American tour in three years."[1]


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Because the Stones' first Big Hits compilation had been released in separate formats, with the Aftermath-era material appearing only on its UK edition, the American edition of Big Hits Vol. 2 included hit singles from the Aftermath period.

The British track listing included the more obscure "You Better Move On", from The Rolling Stones' self-titled 1964 debut EP and "Sittin' on a Fence", an Aftermath outtake originally released in 1967 on the US-compiled Flowers album. In addition to those songs, many tracks, notably single-only releases, were collected for the first time on a UK Rolling Stones album: "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Ruby Tuesday", "We Love You", "Dandelion", and "Honky Tonk Women".

Title and packaging

The name of the album is a play on a line from the KJV translation of 1 Corinthians 13: "For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face..."[2]

The LP was packaged in an eight-sided die-cut gatefold sleeve, featuring an epitaph for Jones: "When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind. Let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find."[3] Album cover design John Kosh


Released on 12 September 1969,[4] both versions of Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) proved to be popular releases, reaching #2 in the UK and US with enduring sales.

In August 2002 the US edition of Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) was reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records.

The British version was again made available to the public as part of a limited edition vinyl box set, titled The Rolling Stones 1964–1969, in November 2010. It was also re-released digitally at the same time.

It was released in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version. For Record Store Day 2019 ABKCO Records released the record on orange vinyl, with a gatefold cover in the octagonal-shape of the original issue.

Critical reception

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
Tom HullA−[6]

Reviewing for Rolling Stone in September 1969, Greil Marcus hailed Through the Past, Darkly's American edition as "an album of tremendous impact" and "one of the great party records", with all the songs fan-favorites and "loud, tough, flashy rock and roll". However, he lamented the absence of singles and early songs of the Stones that had not yet appeared on any US album, as well as the aspect of repetition in the song selection.[7] Robert Christgau echoed this disappointment in The Village Voice: "Some are repeated for a third time ('Ruby Tuesday,' 'Let's Spend the Night Together') while great B sides ('We Love You,' 'Who's Driving My Plane?,' 'Child of the Moon,' and 'You Can't Always Get What You Want,' which exists in a nine-minute version) remain uncollected. And whose fault is that?"[8] More receptive was Rob Sheffield, who wrote years later in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) that the compilation had adequately summarised the Stones' "brief but tasty" psychedelic music period.[9]

Track listing

UK edition

All tracks written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

Side one

  1. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" – 3:40
    • Originally released as a single in May 1968
  2. "Mother's Little Helper" – 2:45
  3. "2000 Light Years from Home" – 4:45
  4. "Let's Spend the Night Together" – 3:36
    • Originally released as a single in January 1967
  5. "You Better Move On" (Arthur Alexander) – 2:39
  6. "We Love You" – 4:22
    • Edited version; originally released as a single in August 1967

Side two

  1. "Street Fighting Man" – 3:15
  2. "She's a Rainbow" – 4:11
  3. "Ruby Tuesday" – 3:16
    • Originally released as a single in January 1967
  4. "Dandelion" – 3:32
    • Edited version; Originally released as a single in August 1967
  5. "Sittin' on a Fence" – 3:02
    • Originally released on the American compilation Flowers in July 1967
  6. "Honky Tonk Women" – 3:00
    • Originally released as a single in July 1969

US edition

All tracks written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one

  1. "Paint It Black" – 3:20 (from Aftermath)
  2. "Ruby Tuesday" – 3:12 (from Between the Buttons)
  3. "She's a Rainbow" – 4:35 (from Their Satanic Majesties Request)
  4. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" – 3:40 (from London single 908)
  5. "Mother's Little Helper" – 2:40 (from Flowers)
  6. "Let's Spend the Night Together" – 3:29 (from Between the Buttons)

Side two

  1. "Honky Tonk Women" – 3:03 (from London single 910)
  2. "Dandelion" – 3:56 (from London single 905)
  3. "2000 Light Years from Home" – 4:45 (from Their Satanic Majesties Request)
  4. "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" – 2:33 (from Flowers)
  5. "Street Fighting Man" – 3:10 (from Beggars Banquet)


The Rolling Stones

Additional musicians



Year Chart Top Position
1969 Finland Soumen Virallinen LPs Chart[10] 9
1969 UK Albums Chart[11] 2
1969 Billboard Pop Albums[12] 2


Year Single Chart Top Position
1969 "Honky Tonk Women" UK Top 50 Singles[11] 1
1969 "Honky Tonk Women" The Billboard Hot 100[13] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Gold 100,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Eder, Bruce (n.d.). "Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  2. ^ Stallings, L.T. (2016). Unrolled Stone: Heidegger’s Being and Time, Brian Jones, and the Rolling Stones (7th ed.). BoD – Books on Demand. p. 135. ISBN 3739216905.
  3. ^ Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. Crown. p. 316. ISBN 0767909569.
  4. ^ Paytress, Mark (2009). "Good Times, Bad Times". Rolling Stones: Off The Record. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857121138.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 2005. ISBN 0857125958.
  6. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: The Rolling Stones". Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  7. ^ Marcus, Greil (18 October 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (44): 42. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (18 September 1969). "Consumer Guide (4)". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  9. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Rolling Stones". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 697. ISBN 0743201698.
  10. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. p. 240. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  11. ^ a b "The Rolling Stones - Albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2 - Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  13. ^ "The Rolling Stones - Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  14. ^ "British album certifications – Rolling Stones – Through the Past Darkly". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Rolling Stones – Through the Past, Darkly". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 4 September 2021.