At the age of 20 years old, guitarist Mick Taylor (of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers fame) replaced Brian Jones, in what as that time the greatest rock and roll band in the world– the Rolling Stones. Well the best was yet to come, as they went on to record the epic musical masterpieces– Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street.
Then suddenly in ’74, Mick dropped out. Some say he was kicked out– but Taylor simply had enough of the chaos, drugs, and strain that came with being in the Stones. Had he stayed, Taylor adamantly believes that the Stones’ life of debauchery would have killed him.
The one thing no one argues, not even the Stone’s themselves, is that Mick Taylor’s musical prowess far surpassed that of his former band mates. His fluid and bluesy guitar work held the group together through many of Richards’ drug and alcohol binges. The irony is that many fans unwittingly attribute much of Mick Taylor’s picking on countless Stones’ classics from ’69-’74 to guitar frontman, Keith Richards.
Back in ’82, the Stone’s management cut-off royalties due to Taylor for his work with the band– essentially screwing him. Adding insult to injury, they threw this tasty gem in the recently released documentary “Stones in Exile”–
Bassist Bill Wyman declares, “Musically he (Mick Taylor) was a better musician than the other guys in the band. Some of the things he did was amazing but he was incredibly boring onstage. He’d do the most amazing licks, riffs and solos but he’d just stand there and look at his guitar.
God, the audience would see the top of his head all the time. I always thought he could’ve been a bit more… but then I’m not a good one to talk. I don’t leap about much. In 30 years with The Stones I’ve probably made three steps on the stage.”