The Events That Lead To Mick Taylor’s Departure From Rolling Stones
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He Was With The Band At Their Peak
Mick Taylor played with the Rolling Stones from 1969 to 1974. He joined the group following Brian Jones’ dismissal and in December 1974, he announced his departure. There were rumors about the exact reason why he left – from drugs to exhaustion. But in truth, it’s more of a combination of events that finally pushed Taylor to leave.
While the Rolling Stones were working on their album It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll in Munich, Taylor couldn’t make it to some of the recording sessions because he suffered from acute sinusitis and needed to undergo surgery. When he finally recuperated and went back to playing with the Stones, he and Keith Richards didn’t get along. It wasn’t sudden though. Speaking about the time when they were working on Exile on Main St. in 1972, Taylor told Classic Rock: “Keith wasn’t at his most communicative then [pause]. He wasn’t as outgoing. I’m choosing my words carefully here. But instinctively, yeah, we got on.”
In October 1974 ahead of the release of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Taylor told NME’s Nick Kent that he co-wrote two songs with Mick Jagger – “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One.” But when Kent showed him the record sleeve, Taylor’s name didn’t get any songwriting credits. More than that, Jagger actually promised Taylor that he would get the credit.
Taylor told Gary James in another interview, “I was a bit peeved about not getting credit for a couple of songs, but that wasn’t the whole reason [I left the band]. I guess I just felt like I had enough. I decided to leave and start a group with Jack Bruce. I never really felt, and I don’t know why, but I never felt I was gonna stay with the Stones forever, even right from the beginning.”
On December, while the other Stones members were partying in London, Taylor told Jagger that he was leaving the band. And when asked about his departure, Taylor finally set the record straight to Classic Rock: “Yeah, I could write a book about that. From the moment I joined John Mayall, right up until 1974, I’d been working all the time. I was completely used to either being in the studio or being on the road. If it wasn’t with the Stones, it was with somebody else. I just needed a break.”
After he left the Stones, Mick Taylor received an invite from Jack Bruce to form a new band and Taylor even toured with Bob Dylan. Ronnie Wood replaced him but even so, Charlie Watts said that “the Mick Taylor period was a creative peak for us. A tremendous jump in musical credibility.”