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Brian Jones vs. Mick Taylor vs. Ry Cooder vs. Ron Wood

Vincent Vega

Best Rolling Stones Guitarist  

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Who is the best Lead Guitarist for the Rolling Stones?

Brian Jones

(Joined 1962; Fired 1969)

One of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, Jones was a multitalented musician who had a very charming and yet psychotic personality. He was the Stone's de facto manager until about 1965 and helped them get their first gigs and exposure. He was a skilled guitarist with an experimental style; he also was very skilled at the flute, piano, mellotoron, sitar, dulcima, harpsicord and many other instruments. He was the Stones Lead Guitarist but due to his legal difficulties, his increasing drug use and his difficult, eccentric personality, he was fired in June 1969. The Stones had been considering firing him for nearly a year, as his irratic behavior negatively affected both touring and recording and he was nearly replaced by Ry Cooder. He had been planning to leave the Stones, as he didn't get credit on many of the songs he contributed to and was being pushed from his role as leader of the band by Mick Jagger. A Blues devotee; he began to stray away from the guitar and the blues in 1966; Experimenting and contributing greatly to many famous Stones songs such as "Paint It Black", "2,000 Lightyears from Home", "Ruby Tuesday", "She's a Rainbow" and "Street Fighting Man"

Ry Cooder

(Unofficially a Member 1968-1970)

Ry Cooder was a skilled Blues and Jazz guitairst and the Stones noticed his talent and as Brian Jones became increasingly difficult to work with, the Stones began working with Ry Cooder. He played on a few songs on "Beggar's Banquet", "Let it Bleed" and one song on "Sticky Fingers" and his choppy, bluesy style influenced Rhythm Guitarist Keith Richards. Ry Cooder left the Stones abruptly in 1969-1970 just before they would approach him to join officially, feeling ripped off. Richards had began to use Cooder's trademark Open G tuning which would be later used to great success by Richards. Cooder to this day claims that he wrote the riffs to songs such as "Sister Morphine", "Memo from Turner", "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women" without getting due credit.

Mick Taylor

(Joined 1969;Quit 1974)

Taylor is arguably the most famous lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones. He was a famous session guitarist and joined the band in June 1969, recommended to them by John Mayall. He was younger than the rest of the Stones and more innocent, and was a extremely talented Blues virtuoso (in the lines of a Buckethead or Bumblefoot,) His melodic, jazzy style, full of flow and rhythm brought the Stones music to a new, much more beautiful level. His time with the Stones is considered by many to be their greatest years in terms of quality. Keith Richards was from all accounts jealous of Taylor's talent and generally treated him like shit. He was also jealous of Jagger's increasing partnership with Taylor (Keith was strung out on Heroin much out of the time) With Taylor, Jagger created many beautiful epics such as "Sway", "Winter", "Time Waits for No One" and "Moonlight Mile" Unlike Brian Jones, his guitar style never meshed with Keith's and the blur which the Rolling Stones kept between the positions of Lead Guitarist and Rhythm Guitarist began to become clearer during Taylor's time in the band; He was clearly the lead guitarist and Keith was clearly the rhythm. Taylor left suddenly in December 1974 just before the Stones were to record Black and Blue. He left due to the way the band was destroying his life (he started Heroin because of Keith's influence), Keith's bad treatment and his lack of credits on songs he created and contributed to. He also disliked being a "Junior" partner in the band, receiving less payment than the other members which kept him broke most of the time.

Ronnie Wood

(Unofficially Joined 1976-)

(Officially Joined 1993)

Ron Wood was a simple, easy going guy. He was generally a fun guy to work with and liked peace in the bands he was in. He was a member of the Faces, the Jeff Beck group and the New Barbarians. He was also a longtime friend of Keith Richards, contributing to songs such as "It's Only Rock N' Roll" years before he joined the band. Mick Taylor suddenly left in December '74 before the Stones were to head back into the studio, a move which sent the band into chaos. They needed a new lead guitarist. Throughout 1974 and 75 they auditioned many virtuouso and talented guitarist such as Wayne Perkins, Jeff Beck and Harvey Mandel. Perkins basically hadden gotten the job but Keith felt his style was too much like Mick Taylor's. So Mick Jagger called up Ronnie Wood and he came to audition. They signed a short term contract in which he was a touring member only. He, along with the other auditioners, contributed to the 1976 album Black and Blue. After the Stones 1975 Tour he went back to the Faces, but when they broke up he joined the Stones for good. His choppy, jazzy lead style messed perfectly with Richards'. He wasn't officially a member until 1993 when he was promoted from a Junior Partner and Contract Musician. He has admitted that it has been difficult to get credit on songs he's written and that the songs are very protective of their status as the songwriters of the band. In the mid 80s he was nearly kicked out due to his alcohol addiction.

Edited by Mr. Miser
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Just thought I'd add that Ry Cooder also plays on an album called "Jamming with Edward."

It was recorded right after Brian Jones' firing from the band during the Let it Bleed sessions in 1969 while waiting for Keith to show. He also plays on "Memo from Turner" which was recorded for the film ''Performance'' in 1969. Keith refused to appear on it because he knew Mick was fucking his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Reportedly, the song features the whole band minus Keith and plus Cooder.

Jamming with Edward is:

Mick Jagger- Vocals

Ry Cooder- Guitars

Bill Wyman- Bass Guitar

Charlie Watts- Drums

Nicky Hopkins- Piano

Nicky Hopkins, along with Ian Stewart, were the Stones' two pianists/keyboardists.

Edited by Mr. Miser
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