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Sidekicks, sidemen made The Rolling Stones rock

Although they received little credit at the time, a number of outstanding musicians contributed to the Rolling Stones' sound, both in the studio and on the road.

By Lee Zimmerman

It’s not surprising that in their early days, The Rolling Stones had little use for supplementary players. Not only was their musical motif more basic, but the band also had the benefit of Brian Jones’ abilities as a solid utility player — a musician who proved adept not only on rhythm guitar, but slide guitar, harmonica, sitar, dulcimer, saxophone, keyboards, accordion and harpsichord, as well. Indeed, it could be argued that during Jones’ tenure with the band, The Stones produced some of the band’s most imaginative arrangements, thanks in large part to his musical dexterity. Aside from incorporating Mike Leander’s string arrangement on “As Tears Go By” (an innovative approach that coincided with The Beatles’ use of orchestra on “Yesterday” only a few months before) and the employment of regulars Ian Stewart and Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, The Stones remained a fairly self-contained outfit up until “Beggars Banquet,” when Jones’ accelerating deterioration forced the band to look outside its ranks. Here’s a list of some of the more prominent musicians who had a hand in shaping the Stones’ sound.


Ian Stewart
The de-facto sixth Stone, Stewart — better known simply as “Stu”— was in fact one of the band’s founders. An extraordinary boogie-woogie piano player, he was the first musician to respond to an advertisement Brian Jones placed in Jazz News on May 2, 1962, in which Jones announced his search for musicians to join his proposed R&B band. At first, Stewart served not only the role of piano player but booking agent, as well. He was, after all, the only band member who actually had a phone!
When manager Andrew Loog Oldham came on board, he decreed that Stewart didn’t look the part of a Rolling Stone and that a sixth member was one too many for a pop band at that time. As a result, Stewart was relegated to studio duties and a somewhat perfunctory role as the band’s roadie, a job that he performed with extraordinary dedication for the bulk of the band’s career.
In fact, he became a critical element in the group both in the studio and on the road. Stewart played keyboards, marimba or percussion on nearly every Rolling Stones album from 1964 until his death on Dec. 12, 1985 (with “Beggars Banquet” as the only notable exception), and he continued to tour with the band, as well.
Notably, Stewart never fit in with the presumed lifestyle of a Rolling Stone, preferring to spend his time playing golf rather than indulging in the band’s more typical offstage antics.

Stewart died of a heart attack related to respiratory problems in a hospital waiting room only a few months after contributing to his final Stones album, “Dirty Work.” When The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, the remaining members insisted that Stewart’s name be included in the honors. In his 2010 autobiography, “Life,” Keith Richards said that without Stu’s input, “We’d be nowhere.” It’s worth noting that “Boogie for Stu,” a tribute album released last year by pianist Ben Waters, included a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow” that featured Bill Wyman reunited with Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood for the first time since 1992.
Even in death, Stu managed to get the band back together.

Darryl Jones is only the third bass guitar player in the 50-year history of The Rolling Stones. AP photo/Robert E. Klein.

Darryl Jones

Darryl Jones
Even if he hadn’t gained the auspicious distinction of being only the third bass player in the entire 50-year history of the Rolling Stones (following original bassist Dick Taylor and then, more famously, Bill Wyman), Darryl Jones would still have made his mark in musical circles as a musician in Miles Davis’ touring band. He later went on to record with Davis on the albums “Decoy” (1984) and “You’re Under Arrest” (1985). From there, Jones played with other jazz notables including Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Mike Stern, John Scofield and Steps Ahead.

Jones’ other rock and roll credits include tours with Cher, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Eric Clapton and Joan Armatrading, but when he landed his gig with the Stones in 1993, his future course was obviously set. Nearly 20 years later, he’s still considered “the new guy,” a distinction previously held by Ron Wood when he won his job in the mid-1970s. Unlike Wood, however, Jones’ work with the band remains fairly low key. Nearly 20 years on, he’s still considered a sideman and not part of the group’s central core. Despite his much-ballyhooed recruitment, he remains a salaried employee who doesn’t own any interests in the Stones’ far-flung financial empire.

Nicky Hopkins
Arguably the most prolific session musician of the 1960s and 1970s, Hopkins played with literally every British band of significance during that era, beginning with Screaming Lord Sutch And The Savages at age 16. That led Hopkins to his involvement in the seminal blues band Cyril Davies’ R&B All Stars two years later.

In short order, Hopkins’ talents brought him to the attention of The Beatles (both collectively and as individuals), The Kinks (their song “Session Man” was allegedly inspired by his efforts), The Who, The Easybeats, Donovan, The Move, The Pretty Things and Led Zeppelin — although due to his frail health, his work with those bands mostly confined him to the studio and kept him from going out on the road.
However, in 1967 he committed to joining the Jeff Beck Group, and after the band disbanded following its first two albums, Hopkins hooked up with Jon Mark, Harvey Burns, Brian Odgers and Alun Davies in the ad-hoc outfit Sweet Thursday. That group was also short-lived, leading Hopkins to devote an increasing amount of his time to The Stones.

His first album with the band was “Between the Buttons,” but he later went on to contribute to “Beggar’s Banquet” and every album after, up to and including “Tattoo You.” His most prominent contributions included the piano parts on “She’s a Rainbow,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Loving Cup” and “Waiting on a Friend.” He also toured with the group throughout the early 1970s.
Hopkins’ ties to The Stones were further affirmed by the role he played on the album “Jamming with Edward!,” the album’s title taken from a nickname given by Brian Jones. That handle later loaned itself to the instrumental “Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder,” which Hopkins composed for Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “Shady Grove” album during his brief tenure with that band. Hopkins later reprised the tune for his second solo album, “The Tin Man Was a Dreamer,” an all-star effort recorded during the sessions for George Harrison’s “Living in the Material World” and featuring many of the same players. (Hopkins had recorded an earlier solo album, “The Revolutionary Piano of Nicky Hopkins” and would later release a third and final album, “No More Changes,” as well as a trio of soundtracks. A fourth effort, “Long Journey Home,” was never released.) Hopkins eventually moved to Nashville, where he died at the age of 50 on Sept. 6, 1994, the result of complications from intestinal surgery and his lifelong battle with Crohn’s Disease.

Jimmy Miller
Although he was born in Brooklyn, Jimmy Miller earned the distinction of being one of the best-known producers in British rock throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. He gained his pedigree producing the Spencer Davis Group, helping the band gain a grasp on the charts with its two biggest hits, “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “I’m a Man,” the latter of which Miller co-wrote with Steve Winwood. Winwood later employed Miller with both Traffic and Blind Faith.

Miller eventually went on to produce records by Delaney and Bonnie, The Wedding Present, Motorhead, The Plasmatics and Primal Scream, as well. Nevertheless, his most fortuitous client proved to be The Rolling Stones, with whom he’d record the albums that found The Stones at the band’s peak — “Beggars Banquet,” “Let It Bleed,” “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile on Main St.” and “Goats Head Soup.” Notably, too, Miller’s contributions to The Stones’ sound extended beyond his work behind the boards. A skilled drummer, he can be heard playing the trademark cowbell that opens “Honky Tonk Women,” as well taking over on the drum kit for Charlie Watts on the songs “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice” and “Shine a Light.”
The lyric “I sang my song to Mr. Jimmy” that Mick Jagger intones on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” refers to Jimmy Miller and their in-studio banter, the word “dead” describing a subject where they found mutual agreement. That supposed serendipity ran into a roadblock when Miller protested his low royalty rate and threatened to abandon the project. Ultimately, Jagger conceded to his demands, a topic the song alluded to somewhat cryptically. Sadly, Miller died in October 1994.

Bobby Keys
Given the fact that he has played saxophone on every one of the band’s albums from 1969 to 1974 and from 1980 onward, Keys has come closest to being a full-fledged Stone.

Keys began his career backing with Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly, and he has racked up countless sessions since, including an uncredited part played on Dion’s “The Wanderer,” the baritone sax on Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender” and the distinctive horn parts on John Lennon’s No. 1 hit “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” Keys later participated in Lennon’s infamous Lost Weekend in Los Angeles, which led to an invitation to play on Lennon’s “Walls and Bridges” and “Rock ’n’ Roll” albums. Around the same time, Keys took part in the last known recording session between John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Keys’ friendship with The Beatles extended to the other half of the Fab Four, as well. His self-titled 1972 instrumental album featured appearances by Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Eric Clapton, as well, while his sophomore solo set, “Gimme the Key,” appeared three years later on Ringo’s vanity label, Ring O Records.

Nevertheless, it’s Keys’ relationship with The Stones, particularly his kinship with Keith Richards, that helped define his rocker image. He was Richards’ ideal foil, which wasn’t surprising considering that the two men shared the same birth date: Dec. 18, 1943. A scene in the unreleased film “C*cks*cker Blues” demonstrates their mutual appreciation for all things outrageous, filming them laughing gleefully as they toss a television set from the 10th floor of a hotel during the band’s 1972 tour.

Keys met the Stones in 1964 at a gig in San Antonio, and five years later, he made his auspicious debut with the band, playing sax on the songs “Live with Me” and “Brown Sugar,” which make his playing an indelible part of the Stones’ sound. He toured with the band throughout the early ’70s and even served as an attendant for Mick Jagger’s wedding.

When Keys’ excessive behavior became too much even by Stones standards, he was suspended by order of Mick Jagger. Eventually, he got back in the band’s good graces, reclaiming his role in the touring band and even getting hired as musical director for Ronnie Wood’s short-lived Miami music club, Woody’s on the Beach. Keys continues to tour with the Stones to this day.

Jim Price
Price and Keys formed The Stones’ horn section on the band’s tours from 1970 until 1973, following contributions to the albums “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile on Main St.” and “Goats Head Soup.” A successful session player in Los Angeles, Price made his mark playing trumpet and trombone for the communal outfits that eventually became backing bands for Delaney and Bonnie, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton and George Harrison’s celebrated solo LP, “All Things Must Pass.” Price also lent his talents to Barbra Streisand and other notables before settling behind the boards as a producer and composer for television and commercials.

Billy Preston
With a musical reach that encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk and gospel, and, most notably, work alongside some of the 20th century’s greatest musical icons — Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and The Beatles among them — Preston hooked up with The Stones for the band’s string of ’70s albums: “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile on Main Street,” “Goats Head Soup,” “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll” and “Black and Blue.”

His two-album tenure on Apple Records and a subsequent series of solo hits notwithstanding — “Space Race,” “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Nothing from Nothing” chief among them — the Stones provided Preston with his longest tenure of outside employment, as well as a support slot on the band’s 1973 European tour. The ties were so strong, in fact, that Preston’s live recording, “Live European Tour 1973,” featured Mick Taylor on guitar. Preston later accompanied the band on its 1976 tour, contributing vocals, keyboards and two of his own songs backed by The Stones.

It seemed all too appropriate; it was said that Preston’s song “Do You Love Me” inspired The Stones’ song “Melody,” a track on “Black and Blue.” After the two sides parted company in 1977 due to a dispute over money, they continued to collaborate on various Stones solo projects, as well as the Stones’ 1981 “Tattoo You” and 1997 “Bridges to Babylon” albums.

Preston died of kidney failure June 6, 2006, a few months shy of what would have been his 60th birthday.

Bernard Fowler
In addition to a 25-year stint as one of The Stones’ two primary backup vocalists, Fowler’s resumé includes work with the bands Tackhead, Bad Dog, Nicklebag and Little Axel; individual efforts by Herb Alpert, Michael Hutchence and Todd Terry; a 2006 solo album, “Friends with Privileges;” and studio collaborations with Waddy Wachtel, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ivan Neville, Robert Plant, Dave Abbruzzese and Joe Elliot of Def Leppard.

Fowler’s relationship with The Stones began in 1985, when he was hired as a backup vocalist for Mick Jagger’s first solo album, “She’s the Boss,” which then led to an ongoing stint in The Stones’ touring band during the band’s 1989 world tour. He subsequently sang on the albums “Steel Wheels,” “Voodoo Lounge,” “Bridges to Babylon” and “A Bigger Bang.” Fowler also contributed to individual albums by the solo Stones, including efforts by Charlie Watts (“Tribute to Charlie Parker with Strings,” “Warm and Tender,” “Long Ago and Far Away”); Keith Richards (“Main Offender”) and Ron Wood (“Slide on This,” “Slide On Live,” “Live and Eclectic,” “I Feel Like Playing”).

Lisa Fischer
Having peaked early on with the 1991 single “How Can I Ease the Pain,” a song that brought Fischer to the top of the R&B charts and garnered her a Grammy Award in the process, Fischer’s career took flight when she opted to devote her talents to singing backup, both for Luther Vandross and later for The Rolling Stones.

Fischer’s role often includes playing the onstage foil to Mick Jagger, particularly during “Gimme Shelter,” where she shares center stage and takes the opportunity to fully share the emotive, expressive vocal abilities that won her the role in the first place.

Rocky Dijon
African percussionist Rocky Dzidzornu (also known as Rocky Dijon) contributed to three Stones albums: “Beggars Banquet,” “Let It Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers.” Dijon began his association with the band during The Stones’ fertile era of experimentation in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

His most notable contribution was his percussion work on “Sympathy for the Devil,” which helped to transform the song from its slow, somber origins into a compelling, hypnotic tribal chant. He can also be heard on the songs “Child of the Moon,” “Factory Girl” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Dijon later was enlisted to recreate his parts for the Stones’ ill-fated “Rock and Roll Circus” special. He also helped to create the signature percussion sound that defined “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” before leaving the band’s employ to work with Taj Mahal, Nick Drake, Jimi Hendrix, Ginger Baker, Stevie Wonder, Joe Walsh, Minnie Ripperton and Billy Preston. In 1976, Dijon reunited with Bill Wyman, who recruited the percussionist for his solo album, “Stone Alone.”

Merry Clayton
Clayton holds the distinction of providing the only female solo vocal on any Stones studio album: her soaring performance alongside Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter.”
Sadly, Clayton also may have paid a price for which no special honors could ever compensate. Her riveting delivery even gave Jagger pause — he can be heard singing “whoa” after Clayton soars into high gear — and rumor had it that her subsequent miscarriage may have been due to the strain that came from reaching those high notes during that duet.

Clayton first encountered The Rolling Stones when she performed on the soundtrack for “Performance,” the film that provided Mick Jagger with his first featured film role. It was rumored that the Stones originally wanted Bonnie Bramlett to sing with Jagger on “Gimme Shelter,” but the band chose Clayton when Bramlett proved unavailable.
In 1970, Clayton recorded her own version of “Gimme Shelter,” and it became the title track of her debut solo album released that same year.

Jack Nitzsche
An arranger, producer, songwriter and film composer, Nitzsche scored a minor hit with his instrumental composition “The Lonely Surfer,” prior to developing his talents as Phil Spector’s protégé and scoring many of his boss’ famous Wall of Sound arrangements.
Nitzsche also made his mark as part of L.A.’s so-called Wrecking Crew, that group of studio musicians that backed The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many other ’60s hit-makers.

It was while overseeing the music for The T.A.M.I. Show television special in 1964 that Nitzsche first met the Stones, who then recruited him to arrange the keyboards for their albums “The Rolling Stones, Now!,” “Out of Our Heads,” “Aftermath” and “Between the Buttons,” as well as the hit singles “Paint It Black” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” The relationship flourished when he oversaw the choral arrangements on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and introduced The Stones to Ry Cooder, who subsequently played on a number of Stones sessions in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Nitzsche himself went on to work with Buffalo Springfield on that band’s epic track, “Expecting to Fly.” That in turn led to Nitzsche’s production work for Neil Young’s eponymous debut and “Harvest” LPs, as well as his enlistment in Crazy Horse.

Ry Cooder
Easily among the most prolific and stylistically diverse session players of the past 40-plus years, Cooder got his start playing in the fledgling Rising Sons, which included future stars Taj Mahal and Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy.

Cooder went on to guest with a veritable Who’s Who of up-and-coming talent, including Captain Beefheart, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Van Morrison, Neil Young and Little Feat.

That prolific activity only accelerated as the decades went by, resulting in several sterling solo works, Cooder’s fostering of the award-winning Latin band Buena Vista Social Club and his own brief super group, Little Village, which found him playing alongside John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner.

Some of Cooder’s most enduring work came through his collaborations with The Rolling Stones, especially the albums “Let It Bleed” (mandolin on “Love in Vain”) and “Sticky Fingers” (slide guitar on “Sister Morphine”). He also took part in the sessions that produced “Jamming with Edward!,” and he played slide guitar for the 1970 film soundtrack “Performance,” most notably on Jagger’s solo single, “Memo from Turner.” Likewise, the rarities compilation album “Metamorphosis,” first released in 1975, features Cooder’s playing on the Bill Wyman outtake “Downtown Suzie.”

Chuck Leavell
Leavell came to The Rolling Stones with an impressive pedigree as a member of the Allman Brothers Band following the deaths of founding members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, and later an integral contributor to Sea Level, an Allmans spin-off that also included fellow ABB bassist Lamar Williams and drummer Jaimoe.

Leavell got involved with session work and signed on with The Rolling Stones, partnering with Ian Stewart on keyboards until Stewart’s death, after which Leavell took on the keyboard tasks entirely. Ironically, Leavell originally was inspired to pursue music after witnessing Billy Preston, another Stones associate, performing as part of Ray Charles’ backup band.

After his appearances on 10 of The Rolling Stones’ albums released between 1986 and 2008, Leavell was given the role of The Stones’ musical director, making him responsible for creating the band’s set lists in collaboration with Jagger.
“It’s my job to keep Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie all happy,” Leavell claims on his website.

In addition to working with The Rolling Stones, Leavell’s resumé includes projects with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Gov’t Mule, Train, The Black Crowes and Montgomery Gentry, as well as three albums recorded under his own auspices.


John Lennon and Paul McCartney
The relationship between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones was cemented early on, when Lennon and McCartney gave their fledgling rivals an early cast-off, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” prior to the fruition of the Jagger-Richards writing partnership.

Brian Jones and Mick Jagger would also occasionally make cameos on Beatles recordings, one of which found both Stones contributing to The Beatles’ B-side “Baby, You’re a Rich Man.” In August 1967, Mick Jagger met poet Allen Ginsberg at McCartney’s London abode, where he invited him to attend a recording session for a new song titled “We Love You” (supposedly a spoof of the Beatles’ similarly themed “All You Need Is Love”). Lennon and McCartney had also announced that they planned to attend. Once there, John and Paul joined the chorus, although their contribution would remain uncredited.

“They looked like little angels,” Ginsberg noted of the combined choir of Beatles and Stones. “Like Botticelli Graces singing together for the first time.”

Dave Mason
Mason’s on-again, off-again relationship with his primary band, Traffic, gave him plenty of opportunity to freelance on his own, and throughout the late ’60s, he was a regular presence on albums by Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Mama Cass and Delaney and Bonnie.

His contributions to the “Beggars Banquet” sessions weren’t credited at the time, but there’s no doubt that his relationship with Jimmy Miller, who previously served as Traffic’s producer and was then helming the Stones, provided the common denominator.

Byron Berline
Berline’s fiddle part on the countrified version of “Honky Tonk Women” (re-titled “Country Honk” when it appeared five months after the original single on the “Let It Bleed” album) restored the song to its original down-home intents. It’s been said that Berline got the gig on the recommendation of Keith’s pal, Gram Parsons, who knew the fiddler when they had both played in the Flying Burrito Brothers. Berline was encouraged to play his part on the sidewalk outside the studio to add ambiance after Stones tour manager Sam Cutler added the car horn heard at the start of the song.

Al Kooper
Kooper’s credits included work with Bob Dylan, founding Blood Sweat and Tears and the so-called Super Session album alongside Stephen Stills and Michael Bloomfield. His choral and musical arrangements on the final track of “Let It Bleed,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” gave the album another mark of distinction.

Jim Dickinson
Best known as a producer and session musician, Dickinson played piano on “Wild Horses” when The Stones alighted at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio during the band’s 1969 American tour. Dickinson later went on to work with the Flamin’ Groovies, Big Star, Alex Chilton, Mudhoney, Ry Cooder, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Bob Dylan. He also sired sons Luther and Cody, the current mainstays of the band the North Mississippi Allstars.

Nanette Workman
Credited as Nanette Newman, Workman sang backup vocals on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Country Honk,” two of the tracks from “Let it Bleed,” as well as adding the distinctive backup vocals to the Stones’ 1969 hit single, “Honky Tonk Woman.” She also worked with John Lennon and Elton John, appeared on “The Benny Hill Show” and was later inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.

Doris Troy
The daughter of a Pentecostal minister, Troy was working as an usher at the Apollo Theater when she was discovered by James Brown. She later went on to work with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick, but her biggest claim to fame was the fact she co-wrote and recorded “Just One Look,” which hit No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.

The song is now considered a standard, spawning covers by The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry, Anne Murray, Klaus Nomi and Harry Nilsson. After relocating to England, she did sessions with Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Dusty Springfield and Nick Drake. Signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1969, she co-produced her self-titled solo album with George Harrison. That same year, she worked with The Stones, contributing backing vocals to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Ernie Watts
Given his somewhat disparate background — tenures with Doc Severinson’s “Tonight Show” band, Charlie Haden and Marvin Gaye all show up on his resumé — Watts’ tenure with The Stones might seem somewhat out of sync. Nevertheless, he toured with them as a saxophonist (replacing Bobby Keys) in 1981 and also appeared in the 1982 concert film “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

Ian McLagan
A member of the senior class of seminal ’60s rockers, the ex-Face, ex-Small Faces and much-in-demand session keyboardist (for Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Cocker) found a natural fit when his former partner, Ron Wood, joined The Stones’ fold. In addition to occasional appearances in the studio and on tour, McLagan took part in Wood and Richards’ side project, The New Barbarians. McLagan currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he leads his own outfit, the Bump Band.

Leon Russell
Russell became a popular player in the U.K. session scene of the early ’70s. He played piano and provided the arrangements for “Live with Me” on “Let It Bleed” and later paid allegiance to The Stones with his own freewheeling version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Jagger, Watts and Wyman showed support when they appeared as part of an all-star studio assemblage on Russell’s eponymous 1970 solo debut.

Madeline Bell
Bell boasted a solo hit with the song “I’m Gonna make You Love Me,” but achieved most of her success at the helm of the band Blue Mink, a band that became a consistent hit maker in the U.K.

A much in-demand back-up singer, she also loaned her voice to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Wayne Perkins & Harvey Mandel
Guitarists Perkins and Mandel were initially considered candidates to replace Mick Taylor when they traveled to Munich for the recording of the critical “Black and Blue” album in 1974. The sessions functioned more as an actual audition for would-be Stones guitarists to replace Mick Taylor, a list that also included Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher and Steve Marriott. Only Mandel and Perkins actually appear on the album — on the songs “Hot Stuff” (Mandel), “Memory Motel” (both) “Hand of Fate” (Perkins) and “Fool to Cry” (Perkins) — but it was Ron Wood, contributing guitar to the songs “Hey Negrita,” “Cherry Oh Baby” and “Crazy Mama,” as well as backing vocals to a number of other tracks, that made the final cut, allowing the ex-Face to get his face on the album cover.

Paul Buckmaster
Best known for the elaborate orchestrations he provided the early Elton John albums, Buckmaster’s work transcends a wide musical spectrum, encompassing albums by David Bowie, Train, Nilsson, Guns N’ Roses, Carly Simon and 10,000 Maniacs. His string arrangements for “Sway” and “Moonlight Mile” gave those songs an ambience all their own.

The Watts Street Gospel Choir and The London Bach Choir
It’s hard to imagine The Stones singing with a classical choir, but that’s what they employed for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the closing track on “Let It Bleed.” The London Bach Choir, originally founded in 1875, gave the track the same regal feel L.A.’s Watts Street Gospel Choir accorded “Salt of the Earth” from “Beggars Banquet” a year earlier.