Two days after the death of Brian Jones, The Rolling Stones were planned to play a free concert in Hyde Park, London. They did the gig as a tribute to Jones and the first ever concert with Mick Taylor happened in front of around 250 thousand fans. All was filmed by a production team of Granada Television and was shown on TV as Stones in the Park. This show featured the debut of "Honky Tonk Women", recently released by the band. Stage Manager Sam Cutler introduced the Rolling Stones then as "the greatest rock & roll band in the world" and this label kept getting repeated in the entire 1969 tour and is even used today.
In December of the same year the band released "Let it Bleed", which reached number 1 in the UK and 3 in US. This was the last album of the sixties and featured tracks like "Midnight Rambler" and "Gimme Shelter". After the tour was over the band staged the Altamont Free Concert where the biker gang Hells Angels were used as security. The problem then was that a fan, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed and beaten to death by the Angels and the band was considered responsible although video footage released proved that Mick Jagger and the rest of the band tried to stop everything. In 1970 the next album, "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!" was released and reached number 6 in US and 1 in UK. Critic Lester Bangs declared that album to be the best live album ever.
1970 saw the contracts with Decca Records and Allen Klein come to an end and the result was the band forming their own record company called Rolling Stones Records. March 1971 saw the release of "Sticky Fingers", an album that reached number one both in UK and US and marked the first ever album by the band under their own label. The album was highly successful and features two of the most well known tracks by The Rolling Stones: "Wild Horses" and "Brown Sugar". This album marked the band's entrance into a more blues influenced style and was actually the first band that featured a full release of Mick Taylor with the band.
After the album was released the Rolling Stones moved to the South of France at the advice of financial advisors. They used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio in order to hold recording sessions in the basement of the Villa Nellcote, rented by Keith Richards. Everything was completed later on and combined with previous unrecorded tracks the result was "Exile on Main St.", released in May of 1972, an album that also reached number one in both US and UK. Critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A+ rating and at the moment "Exile on Main St." is considered to be one of the best ever albums by the Stones.
November 1972 saw the start for the recordings of the follow up album, "Goats Head Soup", another number one hit in US and UK, which was released in 1973. The album features worldwide hit "Angie" and "Waiting for a Friend", although the second one was only released later on, on the album "Tattoo You", eight years later. While making the record another legal battle started, one linked with drugs and dating to the band's stay in France. Jagger was convicted on drug charges in 1967 and 1970 and this made it hard for the band to fulfill their plans for the Pacific Tour in the early 1973 period. They were not allowed to play in Japan and were almost banned in Australia. The result was a European tour that avoided France in the months of September and October of 1973.
The following album was recorded in Musicland studios in Germany and was called "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll", an album that reached number 2 in UK and 1 in US. The album was not produced by Jimmy Miller due to drug abuse problems so the album was produced by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Near the end of 1974 the band was facing difficult times as band members lived in various countries and there were some legal problems that made it hard to choose the tour locations. At the moment, Keith Richards did do drug abuse and this was affecting both productivity and creativity. Mick Taylor had some problems because he thought some of his contributions were not recognized and at the end of 1974 Taylor left the Rolling Stones. He stated in 1980:
"I was getting a bit fed up. I wanted to broaden my scope as a guitarist and do something else... I wasn't really composing songs or writing at that time. I was just beginning to write, and that influenced my decision... There are some people who can just ride along from crest to crest; they can ride along somebody else's success. And there are some people for whom that's not enough. It really wasn't enough for me."