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The best Stones recording line-up according to Keith Richards


The best Stones recording line-up according to Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones are on the road for more than six decades and released 31 studio albums, becoming one of the best-selling bands of all time. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the only remaining original members of the band nowadays and over the years there were some changes on their line-up, especially on guitar. The first lead guitarist was Brian Jones, who was fired in 1969, being replaced by Mick Taylor (From 1969 to 1974) and since then Ronnie Wood is a member of the group.


But what is Keith Richards’ favorite Rolling Stones line-up when the subject is studio albums? Well, he revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1987 which was the best one in his opinion.

The best Rolling Stones recording line-up according to Keith Richards

During the conversation with Rolling Stone in the late 80s, Richards said that that line-up with Mick Taylor was the best because of the albums the band recorded during that time.

“The most fun is Ronnie. He’s also the most open. However, I think some of our best work was probably with Mick Taylor. Ronnie’s incredibly underrated in a lot of ways. He’s got a lot more to him than you think, ’cause he’s a very sort of superficially flippant character. But he’s got a lot more depth to him than most people think.”

He continued:

“And I’ve always enjoyed working with him very much. I love his enthusiasm. And he’s been with the Stones longer than any of the others. That was the amazing thing while we were doing Dirty Work: “Do you realize, Ronnie, that you’ve been in this band longer than Brian was? Longer than Mick Taylor? And you’re still the new boy (Laughs),” Keith Richards.

His favorite Rolling Stones albums were made with Mick Taylor

Even after decades playing with Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards continues to praise Mick Taylor, who was in the band for only five years. In an interview with GQ magazine in 2020, the guitarist listed his favorite Rolling Stones albums.

Curiously, all of them had Mick Taylor as the guitarist. They are: “Beggars Banquet” (1968), “Let It Bleed” (1969), “Sticky Fingers” (1971) and “Exile on Main St.” (1972). He noted that he likes all the band’s discography and it’s hard to pick only a few favorite records. However, if he was forced to choose only some, those were the ones.

What Mick Taylor added to the band according to Richards

In 2017, on his special questions and answers series “Ask Keith” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), the guitarist talked about what was Taylor’s contribution to the band. “Taylor opened up some beautiful possibilities, especially in recording because I would just lay down 3 or 4 different rhythms. Mick was very much a solo player. Incredible melodic and sensitivity about his playing. Most of those early Stone records, you know, the big ones.”

“He’s probably 6, 7, maybe 8 guitars on these tracks. But you wouldn’t know that. When I play guitar I wanna play with another guy and if he is providing the other side of the coin. If I’m laying down that rhythm then the complements that come from the other guitar then will be moving into the rhythm guitar,” Keith Richards said.

After the original Stones guitarist Brian Jones was fired in 1969, John Mayall and Ian Stewart recommended Mick Taylor to Mick Jagger. At the time the guitarist was a member of Mayall’s group.

He decided to leave the group in 1974 to get away from the Rock star lifestyle. In the following decades he released several solo albums and worked with artists like Bob Dylan, Jack Bruce and Carla Olson. He also reunited on stage with the Stones a few times.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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