Who was the guitarist to turn down Mick Jagger?

Mick Jagger

Since the 1960s, The Rolling Stones have been the model for what a badass rock and roll band should look like. Though they may have started out playing blues standards, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards quickly evolved into one of the greatest songwriting partnerships in music history, working off each other to create musical magic. While every great creative partnership requires some distance, one guitarist thought it was unthinkable to replace the riff master alongside Jagger.

Playing guitar for Mick Jagger invites unavoidable comparisons to Keith Richards, whether welcomed or not. Despite Brian Jones founding the band, Richards produced one classic riff after another. Every guitarist who joined since had to keep up with his track record.

By the 1980s, however, The Stones had begun to diverge in slightly different directions. While Keef was content to continue playing the hard-edged rock and roll he had been doing his entire life, Jagger was looking to branch out into new territory, some of which did not fit with The Stones’ signature style.

Rather than disbanding, they took extended breaks in the decade to pursue individual projects and endeavors. For his solo act, Jagger would bring in some of the world’s most accomplished guitarists. Periodically, they would rejoin him for albums like Dirty Work.

Guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani was invited to perform with the rock legend. At that time he was assembling the band for his solo shows. While most would give a kidney to have a good jam session with the frontman of The Stones, Satriani remembered that he didn’t think he was the right man to take Keef’s place.

“When I hit the national or worldwide scene, I was playing with Mick Jagger. And I was not the right guy for the gig, at least I thought”. Satriani said, recalling how uncomfortable it was to try to work his magic into rock classics. You know, I already stopped attempting to imitate those players, so I don’t again.

Even though Satriani would subsequently assert that he had the highest regard for The Stones’ accomplishments, he felt much more at home creating his own style of instrumental music. It makes sense that Satriani would want to forge his own artistic path after hearing some of his solo work.

The guitarist shows off his mastery of the instrument on albums such as Surfing with the Alien. He can produce unusual sounds using feedback and perform incredible tapping licks on songs like “Midnight”. Nobody would have imagined that were possible. But it wouldn’t take long for Jagger to join The Stones again.

Despite potential attention from Mick Jagger, Satriani became a dominant figure in the guitar world, showcasing his unparalleled influence. He profoundly shapes the instrument in a way that very few others can match. Regardless of his earnings from massive concerts, Satriani’s creative voice was always meant for something far greater. It went beyond copying Keef’s sounds, showcasing Satriani’s unique artistic expression.

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