This shall begin what will be a regular feature commemorating the terrific forgotten musicians of rock and roll, and the ones who never did get as much recognition as they deserved. My first Underrated Musician is Mick Taylor, known best as a member of the Rolling Stones from 1969 until 1974.
Mick Taylor had a difficult role to fill in the group as Brian Jones' replacement, a job which I believe he filled very nicely. The music the Stones made during this period- Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock And Roll can easily be considered to be the best music they ever made. Before joining the Rolling Stones, Taylor was a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, filling the position once held by Eric Clapton and later Peter Green (who went on to form Fleetwood Mac). He played on two sessions for Let It Bleed, and then was made a full member of the band. Although Mick Taylor was not the musician that Brian Jones was in the sense that Jones could play seemingly any instrument ever made, he was definetly one of the most brilliant guitarists who ever lived. I'd go as far as to say his playing rivalled Keith Richards'...
So why did Mick Taylor never get the recognition that the rest of the band did? There are many reasons, of course. He was very shy and stayed away from the public eye. But a lot of the trouble came from within the band. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards definetly weren't as nice as they could've been to him.
I'm guessing that it's mostly because of jealousy reasons- Mick Taylor was doing a good deal of writing for the Rolling Stones during this period. Not to mention he was much younger and far better looking then Mick and Keith were. Mick split the band in 1975, also for unknown reasons, but I usually figure it was just because of this attitude he was getting from Mick and Keith, and because he wasn't getting proper writing credits on their songs. The Stones never were quite the same again after he left, and really didn't do that much great stuff with his replacement, Ron Wood. Don't get me wrong, I love Woody and I love the Faces. I just don't think he was right for the Stones. Or maybe he was but the rest of the band was out of ideas for songs.
So for whatever reason he may be more or less forgotten, I consider Mick Taylor to be one of the true great musicians who has ever lived. Long live and God bless you, Mick!