Their albums have made them £250million and their spectacular tours have grossed upwards of £1.8billion.

He was five years younger than his bandmates and a far more gifted instrumentalist, having toured for three years with the influential John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

Furthermore, as a fitter’s son from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, he was genuinely working class, while the Stones were middle-class boys pretending to be rough.

And they always had people around them telling them how great they were and to try some of this or that. 'Keith in particular was surrounded by people telling him how great he was when he could hardly keep his eyes open.’Taylor revealed that around 1972-73, Keith’s drug-taking became a serious problem. ‘Keith had his own separate social scene and it was obvious there was a lot of drug-taking.

There were also problems travelling to certain countries because of all the drug convictions.‘When I left John Mayall I was a London musician with London friends.

From January 1971, he also had a daughter, Chloe, to support from a short-lived marriage to his first wife, Rosie.

His first public appearance with the band was the Stones’ huge free concert in Hyde Park, which became an impromptu memorial for the band’s founder and original guitarist Brian Jones, who had been found dead two days earlier.

For all his undoubted virtuosity on the electric guitar, he was never a huge fan of the band and found their brand of bar-room rock and roll musically limited.

‘When they asked me to come to the studio in 1969, I thought they just wanted me to play a session,’ he recalled.

'I was having difficulties with drug addiction and couldn’t have lasted. ‘My life is so much better now than being a drug-ravaged member of the Stones. ‘But people who really know me ask another question – whether I regret joining the Stones.