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The Best Rolling Stones Songs Mick Taylor Helped Write

Guitarist Mick Taylor’s time in the Rolling Stones was brief, but he helped them create a handful of their best songs from 1969-1974, several of which he never got writing credit on, despite basically co-writing the tracks. The autocratic nature of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards didn’t allow for Taylor to get his due in terms of the writing. In fact, he is only properly credited as a co-writer on one song, the heavy-bluesy “Ventilator Blues” off Exile on Main St. during his illustrious five-year tenure with the Stones. As he told the Daily Mail in 2009: “‘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. Here are five of the best songs Taylor co-wrote with the Rolling Stones:

“Winter” from Goat’s Head Soup

Credited as a Jagger/Richard’s penned-track, Richards doesn’t even play on the recording and was not around when it was recorded at Dynamic Sound Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. One of three ballads on the Goat’s Head Soup album, “Winter” is better than the rest. Taylor’s licks throughout the verses are amazing, and the solo is simply stunning in the feel it has. Below is a version Taylor recorded (with Carla Olson) with plenty of extra fretboard virtuosity:

“Moonlight Mile” from Sticky Fingers

Another phenomenal ballad, again with a cold feel to it like “Winter”, “Moonlight Mile” was written by Jagger and Taylor at Jagger’s Stargroves estate during another of Richards’ absences. The story goes that Taylor was promised he’d get credit on the song, but never did as Jagger and Richards took the credit. Taylor’s playing is suitably subdued to echo the vibe of the song and it was his idea to add the string section to the track. As an aside, the song was the result of an all-night writing session and a “Moonlight Mile” is taking a large amount of cocaine after a long day’s work.

“Sway” from Sticky Fingers

Arguably one of the best songs on Sticky Fingers, the main contributor on “Sway” was Jagger, but it was composed with Taylor present and one would reasonably assume some input from him as well. Jagger came up with the main riff (first grunge riff ever?), while Taylor filled in the blanks with some stellar licks. Again, Richards does not play on the track (he added some sweet backing vocals) and gets writing credit. Taylor’s outro solo is amazing. Check out the stunning version below with Carla Olson

“Till the Next Goodbye” from It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll

This is a song Taylor has said, in interviews, he co-wrote with Jagger. Again, he was promised writing credits, but, of course, received none. It’s a decent song, and one Richards actually plays on. It’s the final track Taylor would record as a member of the Rolling Stones.

“Time Waits for No One” from It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll

Taylor also said publicly he co-wrote “Time Waits for No One” with Jagger. You know the story by now and it’s the lack of credit he received (among other things) that led to Taylor resigning from the band in 1974. The solo to end the song is yet another sparkling Taylor highlight as the rest of the band is just jamming away. The metronome at the end signalled Taylor’s time in the band was quickly ending.

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

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