Childhood & Early Life
He was born on January 17, 1949 in Welwyn Garden City, England in a working-class English family. His father served the ‘De Havilland’ aircraft company as a fitter. He was brought up in the town of Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
Taylor started playing guitar when he was only nine years old. He learnt it from his maternal uncle.
As a child he accompanied his parents to see the show of ‘Bill Haley & the Comets’ and was fascinated by the performance of the American rock and roll band that infused in him an interest to join a rock band.
He formed different bands in his teens along with his school friends and performed at various concerts. One such band was ‘The Juniors and the Strangers’, a part of which was later inducted for a new band titled ‘The Gods’.
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Once in 1965, he and his schoolmates went to ‘The Hop’ Community Centre in Welwyn Garden City to watch the show of English blues rock band ‘John Mayall's Bluesbreakers’. Upon seeing absence of the band’s ace guitarist Eric Clapton, Taylor approached John Mayall and told him that he knew some songs of the band and could play with them for the rest of the night’s show if the latter allowed.
John Mayall allowed the young Taylor, still in his teens, to play the second set with the band and the teenager with his performance left an impression on John Mayall. This incident played a significant part in Taylor’s musical career.
In 1966, while Mayall was searching for a guitarist to fill up the vacancy of Peter Green, when the latter left the band to form ‘Fleetwood Mac’, he invited Taylor to fill up the position.
Subsequently Taylor made his debut with the ‘John Mayall's Bluesbreakers’ at an old blues club called ‘Manor House’ in north London, while the music enthusiasts were eager to see how the new lad fit in the shoes of Eric Clapton.
For the next three years Taylor toured with ‘John Mayall's Bluesbreakers’ and performed in noted albums of the band like ‘Crusade’ in 1967 and ‘Bare Wires’ and ‘Blues from Laurel Canyon’ in 1968. Gradually he developed a blues-based guitar style with influences of Latin and jazz styles.
In 1969, John Mayall recommended Taylor’s name to lead vocalist of the ‘Rolling Stones’, Mick Jagger, following removal of Brian Jones from the band in June that year.
He soon impressed Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the ‘Rolling Stones’, and a new musical journey for Taylor began. On July 5, 1969 he made his debut performance with the band at a free concert at London’s ‘Hyde Park’.
Taylor was part of the greatest string of classic albums released by the ‘Rolling Stones’ during the late 1960 and early 1970s. These include ‘Let It Bleed’ (1969), ‘Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!’ (1970), ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971), ‘Rock'n'Rolling Stones’ (1972) and ‘Exile on Main St.’ (1972).
Two tracks of ‘Sticky Fingers’ namely ‘Moonlight Mile’ and ‘Sway’ were completed by Jagger and Taylor in the absence of Richards. The only credit Taylor received was for co-authoring ‘Ventilator Blues’, one of the tracks from ‘Exile on Main St.’, while the lion's share of credit was received by Richards and Jagger.
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His smooth lyrical tone differed variedly with the jagged technique of Richards.
Due to his surgery for acute sinusitis, Taylor had to miss some of the studio sessions of the band’s new album ‘It's Only Rock 'n Roll’ (1974) that was being conducted at Munich’s ‘Musicland Studios’ in November 1973. After resuming work he faced difficulty in getting along with Richards. Moreover Richards deleted some tapes that contained Taylor’s guitar parts for some of the songs of the album.
He quit the band in December 1974. In one of his interviews with Gary James, he mentioned that although he was slightly upset of not being given credit for a couple of songs, it was not the only reason for which he left the band.
After leaving the ‘Rolling Stones’, he joined the newly formed Jack Bruce Band and toured Europe. However it did not last long and was disbanded in 1976.
Even after leaving the ‘Rolling Stones’ he worked on several occasions with the band members. The collaborations include ‘Pay Pack & Follow’ (1973-79), an album by John Phillips; ‘I've Got My Own Album to Do’ (1974), ‘Now Look’ (July 1975) and ‘Gimme Some Neck’ (April 1979) - all solo albums by Ronnie Wood; and ‘Talk Is Cheap’ (1988), a solo album by Keith Richards.
His two solo albums include self-titled ‘Mick Taylor’, released in 1979 by ‘Columbia Records’ and ‘A Stone's Throw’ released in 2000.
He performed in one of the concerts of the ‘Rolling Stones’ held at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri on December 14, 1981.
Over the years he worked with many artists including Bob Dylan and Carla Olson and toured around the world with different musicians and bands at different points of time.
The two London shows of the ‘Rolling Stones’ held on November 25 and 29 in 2012, saw Taylor playing ‘Midnight Rambler’ from the album ‘Let It Bleed’.
He participated and toured across Europe and North America during the ‘50 & Counting’ concert tour of the ‘Rolling Stones’ between November 25, 2012 to July 13, 2013, that marked the band’s 50th anniversary.
Again between February 21 and November 22, 2014, he performed for the ‘Rolling Stones’ and toured across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia during their ‘14 On Fire’ concerts.