Revisiting The Rolling Stones’ glorious Montreux jam session in 1972
We are taking a trip down the Far Out archives and have uncovered this absolute gem courtesy of The Rolling Stones. It features rare footage of the group jamming whilst Mick Jagger looks on in awe in the Swiss town of Montreux before they began their legendary tour of North America in 1972.
The North American tour which would follow these sessions, was named the “Stones Touring Party“, was a landmark occasion marking the first time that the Stones would step foot on American soil since that fateful night in Altamont at the end of their 1969 tour.
The night would see three music fans die across the evening, including Meredith Hunter who was stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels—this tour emerged as their chance to redeem their image.
The Stones had just released Exile On Main St., which was a rip-roaring success, and they were now ready to make the trip across the Atlantic and it wouldn’t disappoint. As this footage shows, The Rolling Stones were in the form of their life coming into this tour.
During a period when Mick Taylor was in the band, it is hard to disagree that they were going through a purple patch of through their career. With the new energy that guitarist Taylor brought to the Stones, the band’s sonic sense was improving and evolving at all times as they embraced the new decade and welcomed the hedonistic seventies with open arms—even if he didn’t see eye-to-eye with Keith Richards.
Following Taylor’s inclusion into The Stones’ set-up, the band were kickstarted into another chapter of their illustrious career. While Taylor’s brilliance flies somewhat under the radar—and because he was only with the band for a short period—it means that the guitarist’s contribution to the band is often criminally undervalued.
This footage does a lot to break those misconceptions and feels like you are watching Mick Taylor in a solo set and being supported by his backing band with his insane talents are on full show. It is a truly remarkable thing to witness, Jagger looks taken aback as he takes a seat to have the best seat in the house as he watched one of the world’s best bands jam it out.
Jagger noted this about his brief but fruitful tenure with the band to Rolling Stone in 1995: “[Taylor] wanted to have a solo career. I think he found it difficult to get on with Keith. I think he had a big contribution. He made it very musical. He was a very fluent, melodic player, which we never had, and we don’t have now. Neither Keith nor Ronnie Wood plays that kind of style.”
“It was very good for me working with him… Mick Taylor would play very fluid lines against my vocals. He was exciting, and he was very pretty, and it gave me something to follow, to bang off. Some people think that’s the best version of the band that existed.”
Charlie Watts’ performance as a timekeeper in this tremendous clip is also worth a mention with the sticksman managing somehow to keep everything ticking over despite him not knowing where his bandmates will take it next and his incredible skill allows for the others to show off their flair.
Take five minutes out of your day to watch this devastatingly good clip which shows The Rolling Stones at their best and completely off the cuff, which makes it even more perfect.