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Five of Mick Taylor’s Best Solos with the Rolling Stones

Most Rolling Stones fans know the impact guitarist Mick Taylor had on the band during his tenure from 1969-1974. He brought another layer to the group with his virtuoso guitar playing and influenced the band’s songwriting, particularly when Keith Richards wasn’t around as the band crafted songs. He also added some very memorable guitar solos that took tracks like “Winter” and “Sway” to new heights. So here are the five best guitar solos Taylor contributed on Stones studio recordings (his live solos would be an entirely different list).

Time Waits For No One

From the last album Taylor recorded with the Stones, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, “Time Waits For No One” features a latin feel and, with the solo, you almost get the sense Taylor knew he was finished as a Stone because there’s an aching in the notes he’s playing throughout. You can really feel it near the end of the song, at around the 5:20 mark. That solo is one of Taylor’s finest moments in the studio and he quit the band (telling Mick Jagger at a party in December, 1974) two months after It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was released.

Winter

One of the most underrated songs in the Rolling Stones catalogue, “Winter” is off 1973’s Goat’s Head Soup album and it’s a track Taylor had a hand in writing, but never got credit. While Taylor incorporates some amazing licks during the verses, the solo is a pure work of genius. It’s not a barrage of speed, but the feel Taylor brings with the notes that echoes the melancholy of the song, which is one of his trademarks throughout his tenure with the Stones.

Sway

With “Sway”, a song from 1971’s amazing Sticky Fingers record, Taylor delivers a masterpiece short solo using a bottleneck slide at 1:35 mark, then he cranks things up again for the outro solo which carries “Sway” as it fades out. Here Taylor brings a heavy blues feel with plenty of pull-offs and bends. It’s worth it to really crank up the sound for the last 10 seconds, just to hear those last few amazing notes.

All Down the Line

On “All Down the Line”, a classic track off Exile on Main St., Taylor lets loose with a blistering slide solo, which is fitting given the song is a double entendre about cocaine. Again, Taylor picks up on the groove of the song and carries it along, while Jagger and the rest of the band have a good ‘ol hootin’, hollerin’ time playing along as it fades out.

Shine A Light

Another Exile on Main St. track, “Shine A Light” is a Mick Jagger song he’d written in 1968 under the name “Get a Line on You” in reference to Brian Jones’ ever-worsening condition and his detachment from the band. After Jones died, it was redone for Exile. As usual, Mick Taylor crafts a tasty solo using lots of reverb that serves nicely with the gospel vibe of the song. The highlight is the ending, when Taylor comes out of the solo and tones it down with a few quiet passages.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

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