Personalities | Mick Taylor | Bluesbreaking Stone | Guitar Heroes

Blues-rock guitarist Mick Taylor was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in 1949. A guitarist from the age of nine, he was in his teens when he formed a group with some school friends that subsequently evolved into the Gods. Taylor made two singles with the band.

When Eric Clapton failed to turn up for a Bluesbreakers gig in Welwyn Garden City, the 16-year-old Taylor stood in for Clapton for the second half of the set. When Peter Green left the Bluesbreakers in 1967, John Mayall signed Taylor as his replacement.

He became known for a style that is based on the blues with overtones of Latin and jazz. His reputation as a slide guitarist was second to none. These attributes made him ideally qualified to replace Brian Jones in The Rolling Stones. Under the impression he was doing session work, Taylor attended a Stones recording, soon realizing that he was auditioning. He contributed to ‘Country Honk’ and ‘Live With Me’ from Let It Bleed (1969) and was hired. His live debut was the free Hyde Park concert in 1969. On Taylor’s first full album with the Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971), he worked with Mick Jagger on ‘Moonlight Mile’ and ‘Sway’ when Keith Richards was absent from the studio. The classic Exile On Main Street (1972) featured Taylor and Richards’ guitar interplay at its peak. He left the Stones in 1974, frustrated at not receiving songwriting credits and convinced that the band was about to collapse.

Regarded as one of the finest guitarists in the world, Taylor was expected to pursue a high-profile solo career, but instead he joined Jack Bruce’s band Cream. His first solo work was the largely overlooked blues and jazz-tinged album Mick Taylor (1978). He spent much of the 1980s battling heroin addiction, a legacy from his time in The Stones, and he guested for Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler. A second solo album, A Stone’s Throw, was released in 2000, and he has since toured with John Mayall, Stephen Dale Petit and The Rolling Stones.

Taylor is usually associated with the Gibson Les Paul. He used a Gibson ES-355 for the recording of Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street, a Gibson SG on tour and, on occasion, a Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.

Essential Recordings

John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers: Bare Wires

The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers

The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street

Bob Dylan: Infidels

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