Wednesday, January 17

Little Mick.

Happy Birthday Mick. (I didn't label the songs but he's in all of them.)

Michael "Mick" Kevin Taylor (born 17 January 1949 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire) is an English musician best known as the former lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones.

Known as "Little Mick" within the band, Taylor's live presence with the Stones is preserved on the Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, a live album recorded over three gigs at the Madison Square Garden in New York during the 1969 American Tour. Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup and It's Only Rock and Roll were the four studio albums Taylor recorded with the Stones.

Songs like "Sway", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Moonlight Mile", "All Down the Line", "Shine a Light", "Stop Breaking Down", "100 Years Ago", "Winter", "Time Waits for No One" and "Fingerprint File" are indelibly the Mick Taylor classics from those four studio records.

However, to the many fans of the Rolling Stones, the 1972 American Tour and the 1973 European Tour are where the true genius of Mick Taylor and the Taylor years can be heard, and the band was unable — and ever since unwilling — to officially release material recorded on these tours.

The band was contractually prohibited from officially releasing any material that was owned by Allen Klein's company ABKCO, which is part of the reason for a planned 1972 live album being shelved. It is a tragedy for Taylor fans that his best live work as a Stone can only be heard on obscure sound and film recordings, found on bootlegs of mostly mediocre sound quality, although 21st century re-masters of these bootlegs are now becoming more readily available through the internet.

Taylor resigned from the Rolling Stones in December 1974, just before the Stones were to start recording a new album in Munich, West Germany. As the story goes, the Stones were at a party in London when Taylor announced he was quitting and walked out.

Jagger, took the news professionally, but Richards complained about Taylor's departure. Mick Jagger, in a 1995 interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine, nearly admits the years Taylor was a member of the band were the best musically.

Jagger said Taylor never explained why he had left, and surmised that "he (Taylor) wanted to have a solo career. I think he found it difficult to get on with Keith."

In 1979, four years after he had left the Stones, Taylor's first solo album, the self-titled Mick Taylor, was released on CBS.

The album met with critical acclaim but could not have come out at a worse time. Taylor's new material was rock, jazz, and Latin flavoured blues while the year 1979 was the height of the punk and new wave movement. Still, it was his only charting album on both US or Europe, reaching #119 on Billboard in early August with a stay of 5 weeks on the Top 200. The record label told Taylor he should promote the record by visiting American radio stations. Taylor, on the other hand, wanted to take a new band on the road, which he saw as the best way to introduce new audiences to his own songs, but this plan wasn't backed by the record company.

Already frustrated with this situation, Taylor took some time out and deliberately kept a low profile for about a year. He had moved to the US East Coast to promote his solo record and was now living in the house where The Great Gatsby was filmed (Long Island). In 1981 he toured Europe and America with Alvin Lee (from Ten Years After), sharing the bill with Black Sabbath.

He spent most of 1982-1983 on the road with his old mentor John Mayall for the so-called Reunion Tour with John McVie (Fleetwood Mac) and Colin Allen. It was during this tour that Bob Dylan showed up backstage at The Roxy in Los Angeles because he wanted to meet Taylor. Perhaps Taylor's second most known work came in 1983 with Bob Dylan Infidels album, on which Taylor played with Mark Knopfler as well as Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Taylor lived in New York throughout the decade, which turned out to be a dark period. He battled with addiction problems for part of the decade before getting back on track the second half of the 1980s and moving to Los Angeles in 1990.

At the end of the 1980s and early '90s, Taylor managed to find his way back by doing session work and touring in Europe and America with a band including Max Middleton (formerly of Jeff Beck group), Shayne Fontayne, and Blondie Chaplin (now a back-up musician with the Stones).

Taylor moved back to England in the mid 1990s. He never seemed to feel comfortable in his role as a former Rolling Stone until he released a new record in the year 2000, the CD "A Stone's Throw". Playing at clubs and theatres (impossible for the Stones) as well as appearing at festivals has connected Taylor with an appreciative audience and lasting fanbase.

1 comment:

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