Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17: Former Rolling Stones guitarist, Mick Taylor, is 66-years-old today.

Michael Kevin "Mick" Taylor born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, is best known as a former guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers from 1966–69, and The Rolling Stones from 1969–74.

Taylor has a preference for playing blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, and a talent for slide guitar. Since his resignation from the Rolling Stones, Taylor has worked with numerous other artists as well as releasing a number of solo albums.

Taylor began playing guitar at age nine, learning to play from his mother's younger brother. As a teenager, he formed bands with schoolmates and started performing concerts under names such as The Juniors and the Strangers. Part of the band was recruited for a new group called The Gods, which included Ken Hensley (later of Uriah Heep fame). In 1966, The Gods opened for Cream at the Starlite Ballroom in Wembley.

In 1965 at age 16, Taylor went to see a John Mayall's Bluesbreakers performance at "The Hop" Community Centre, Welwyn Garden City. When Eric Clapton didn't show up - but a guitar for him did - Taylor approached John Mayall during the interval, asking if he could play with them, mentioning that he'd heard their albums and knew some of the songs. Mayall agreed.

Taylor played the second set with Mayall's band, and afterwards, they exchanged phone numbers, which proved to be a pivotal moment in his career....

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Rolling Stones - 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years

When Taylor was 17, Mayall was looking for another guitarist and invited Taylor to join the band. Before he turned 18, Taylor toured and recorded the album Crusade with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. From 1966 to 1969, Taylor developed a guitar style that is blues-based with Latin and jazz influences.

After the departure of Brian Jones from The Rolling Stones in June 1969, Mick Jagger asked John Mayall for his advice on a replacement guitarist, Mayall recommended Taylor.

Taylor arrived at the Stones' recording studio the next day, believing he had been asked there to work as a session musician. He impressed both Jagger and Keith Richards, and was invited back the following day to continue rehearsing and recording with the band. He added overdubs to "Country Honk" and "Live With Me" for the album Let It Bleed, also adding to "Honky Tonk Women" which was released as a single in the UK, in July 1969.

Taylor made his onstage debut as a member of the Stones at age 20 at a free concert in London’s Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. The concert was attended by an estimated quarter of a million people and had turned into a tribute to Brian Jones, who had died a couple of days earlier.

The Rolling Stones' 1971 release Sticky Fingers included "Sway" and "Moonlight Mile" which Taylor and Jagger had completed in Keith Richards' absence. Taylor was known for a smooth touch and tone which contrasted with Richards' jagged and cutting technique.

Between recording sessions, the band members were living in various different countries and in 1974, Taylor appeared on Herbie Mann's London Underground and on Mann's album Reggae.

In 1974, while the band began recording the LP It's Only Rock 'n Roll at Musicland Studios in Munich, Taylor missed some of the sessions while undergoing surgery for acute sinusitis. When he arrived, he found it difficult to work with Richards. Soon after, Taylor and the Stones parted ways.

In a 1997 interview with Mojo Magazine, Taylor said: "We used to fight and argue all the time. And one of the things I got angry about was that Mick had promised to give me some credit for some of the songs – and he didn't. I believed I'd contributed enough. Let's put it this way – without my contribution those songs would not have existed. There's not many but enough, things like "Sway" and "Moonlight Mile" on Sticky Fingers and a couple of others."

In December 1974, Taylor announced he was leaving the Rolling Stones. The bandmates were at a party in London when Taylor told Mick Jagger he was quitting and walked out. The Rolling Stones were due to start recording a new album in Munich, and the entire band was reportedly angry at Taylor for leaving at such short notice.

Taylor has worked with his former bandmates on various occasions since leaving the Rolling Stones. In 1977 he attended London-based sessions for the John Phillips album Pay Pack & Follow, appearing on several tracks. In December 1981, he performed with the band at their concert at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Taylor is also featured on one track ("I Could Have Stood You Up") on Richards' 1988 album Talk is Cheap.
In 2010, Taylor contributed guitar work on the upcoming Exile on Main Street special edition release. This release includes 10 outtakes/alternate versions of songs. In April 2010 the new Rolling Stones single "Plundered My Soul" came out and featured recently recorded vocals and guitars by Jagger and Taylor.

In addition to his contributions to Rolling Stones albums released during his tenure with the band, Taylor's guitar is also on two tracks on their 1981 release Tattoo You: "Tops" and "Waiting on a Friend," both of which were originally recorded in 1972.

Since leaving the Stones, Taylor signed a solo recording contract and toured and recorded with a number of artists. For example, Taylor worked with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings in the early 1990s.

In 2003, Taylor reunited with John Mayall for his 70th Birthday Concert in Liverpool along with Eric Clapton. A year later, in autumn 2004, he also joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers for a UK theatre tour. He toured the US East Coast with the Experience Hendrix group during October 2007. The Experience Hendrix group appeared at a series of concerts which were a homage to Jimi Hendrix and his musical legacy. Taylor played with Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin and Robby Krieger.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Mick Taylor along with the Rolling Stones in 1989.



For more about Mick, visit his Website at -

1 comment:

  1. Let's not forget Mick's work with Bob Dylan: Infidels and Rea Live in particular as well as the albums with Carla Olson: Too Hot For Snakes (aka Live at the Roxy), Within An Ace, Reap The Whirlwind and The Ring Of Truth.

    Too Hot For Snakes and The Ring Of Truth will be issued as a 2CD set in late 2012 by Fuel Records with 3 added tracks including 2 from the Roxy.