The exuberance will be evident starting with the XRT Morning Show because our Friday Feature is The Rolling Stones. Is everybody ready? I vow to play some of the greatest songs ever written. Brian Jones, Keef, Mick Taylor, and Ron Wood have all taken guitar solos over the half century that The Rolling Stones have flirted with the title, The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band. So to get your juices flowing and the arguments fomenting, I offer the five best guitar solos from The Rolling Stones. I know you. You have opinions. Lay ‘em on me.
“Paint it Black, you devil” is what you hear from the crowd just before the Stones tear into the sulphurous anthem, Sympathy For The Devil. This live recording from Madison Square Garden featured new lead guitarist Mick Taylor on his first tour trading licks with Keef.
You will find little argument from Stones fans if you believe that Mick Taylor was the finest lead guitarist the Stones ever had. For years I assumed the Mick Taylor solo at the end was accomplished with a slide, but it was not. Somewhere there is a master tape where that solo just keeps burning instead of fading out. This song makes me go all goofy when I hear it so I clear out the air studio when it comes on.
Watch out boy! Muscle Shoals session whiz Wayne Perkins lays down my favorite solo on a Stones record. Wayne was in the running to replace Mick Taylor. Ronnie had a better haircut. Wayne had better chops. He rings the sweat out of a pretty basic scale.
Not only does Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? have best opening rhythm guitar salvo in the canon, but the Mick Taylor solo is a rare Stones foray into a blues jam. Our lives would not be as rich without it.
By the standards of later solos, Keith’s homage to Chuck Berry might seem unremarkable, but this is the solo that made Keith what he is today, a marvel of medical science.