VETERAN ROLLING STONES engineer and producer Glyn Johns witnessed a dramatic change in the group’s guitarist Mick Taylor (above, second from left), who replaced Brian Jones in 1969, after the hedonistic Exile On Main Street sessions in the South of France in 1971.
“He turned from from being a quiet, softly spoken, charming young man into a raving egomaniac junkie,” Johns told MOJO in 2015. “I was mixing the record… and said to Mick Jagger, ‘Either he goes or I go.’”
In an eight-page feature detailing the producer’s turbulent working relationship with the Stones, spanning their earliest demos in 1963 to 1975’s Black And Blue sessions, Johns explains how Jagger asked him to work on the tapes of Exile In Main Street in London after sessions at Nellcôte in France “had run riot and people were allowed to do whatever they wanted”.
“I said to Mick Jagger, ‘Either he goes or I go.’”
Johns descibes working on a track at Basing Street Studios on which Taylor had overdubbed backing vocals, drums and a bass. When Taylor asked the famously no-nonsense producer why he had removed them, he replied, “The Rolling Stones have a f**king great drummer and a really great bass player. You, sunshine, play the guitar and you’ll hear it rather nicely when I’ve finished this.”
It was then left to Jagger to ask the guitarist to leave the studio so Johns could continue mixing the track to his satisfaction. Taylor would leave the Stones three years later in December 1974, and, after quitting drugs during a long and successful solo career, rejoined the group onstage for their 2013 ‘50 & Counting’ tour.
Watch Mick Taylor's live debut with the Stones at London’s Hyde Park in July 1969 below.
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