Forty Licks is a doublecompilation album by The Rolling Stones. A 40-year career-spanning retrospective, Forty Licks is notable for being the first retrospective to combine their formative Decca/London era of the 1960's, now licensed by ABKCO Records (on disc one), with their self-owned post-1970 material, distributed at the time by Virgin/EMI but now distributed by ABKCO's own distributor Universal Music Group (on mostly disc two). Four new songs are included on the second disc. The album was a commercial success, as it reached No. 2 on both UK & US charts and went on to sell over 7.5 million copies worldwide. Concurrently with the album's release, the Stones embarked on the successful, year-long international Licks Tour, which would result in Live Licks in 2004.
Forty Licks has received mostly positive reviews from music critics. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine felt that Forty Licks was similar to ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits because both were influenced by The Beatles' 1, but that Forty Licks had a better concept than ELV1S. Although Rob Brunner's review of the album for Entertainment Weekly was favorable, he felt that the album was not needed because most of the band's fans already own all of the notable songs on the album. Darryl Sterdan of Jam!CANOE also felt that most fans already owned most of the songs on the album and that "Losing My Touch" was the only good previously unreleased song on the collection.Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone felt that there were several songs missing from the album, but that the compilation was exciting and the four new songs were much better than their other recent work.Stylus magazine's Colin McElligatt felt that the band needed an "all-inclusive" collection, but the collection will not please everyone.
Mick Taylor – guitars (lead, slide, rhythm and bass) (on "Wild Horses", "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar", "Angie", "Tumbling Dice", and "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)")
Charlie Watts – drums, percussion, backing vocals (except on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Happy")
Ronnie Wood – guitars (lead, slide, rhythm, acoustic, and pedal steel), backing vocals, bass drum, bass guitar (on all disc two tracks except "Brown Sugar", "Happy", "Angie", "Fool to Cry" and "Tumbling Dice")
Bill Wyman – bass guitar, maracas, bowed double bass, backing vocals (except on "Street Fighting Man", "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Don't Stop", "Happy", "You Got Me Rocking", "Shattered", "Love Is Strong", "Keys to Your Love", "Anybody Seen My Baby?", "Stealing My Heart", "Tumbling Dice" and "Losing My Touch")
Nicky Hopkins – acoustic piano, electric piano, synthesized strings and backing vocals on "Street Fighting Man", "Gimme Shelter", "Sympathy for the Devil", "She's a Rainbow", "Happy", "Fool to Cry" and "Tumbling Dice"
Nanette Workman – backing vocals on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Honky Tonk Women"
Jack Nitzsche – piano, tambourine, choral arrangements and Nitzsche-Phone on "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?", "Mother's Little Helper", "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend the Night Together"