Keith Richards

Keith Richards

Infobox musical artist
Name = Keith Richards

Img_capt =
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias = Keith Richard, Keef RiffHard, the Riffmaster
Born = birth date and age|1943|12|18|df=y
Dartford, Kent, England
Died =
Instrument = Guitar, vocals, bass
Genre = Rhythm and blues, rock and roll, blues, rock
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter, Producer
Years_active = 1962 - present
Label = Decca, Rolling Stones, Virgin
Associated_acts = The Rolling Stones, The New Barbarians, The X-Pensive Winos
URL = []
Notable_instruments = 1952 Fender Telecaster "Micawber"
1959 Gibson Les Paul

Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943) is an English guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer and a founding member of The Rolling Stones. As a guitarist, Richards is mostly known for his innovative rhythm playing. In 2003 Richards was ranked 10th on "Rolling Stone" magazine's "100 greatest guitarists of all time". [cite journal|url=|title=100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time|journal=Rolling Stone|issue=931|date=2003-09-22]

With songwriting partner and Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, Richards has written and recorded hundreds of songs, fourteen of which "Rolling Stone" magazine lists among the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".cite web |title=The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time |publisher=Rolling Stone |date=9 December 2004 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-08 |]

Early life

Keith Richards, the only child of Bert Richards and Doris Dupree Richards, was born in Dartford, Kent. His father was a factory labourer slightly injured during World War II, and Richards' paternal grandparents were socialists and civic leaders.cite book |last=Bockris |first=Victor |title=Keith Richards: The Biography |publisher= Simon & Schuster |year=1993 |id=ISBN 0-671-87590-6 |pages=pg. 17-18] His maternal grandfather (Augustus Theodore Dupree), who toured Britain in a jazz big band called Gus Dupree and his Boys, was an early influence on Richards' musical ambitions and got him interested in playing guitar.Bockris 1993. pg. 29-30.]

Richards' mother introduced him to the music of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and bought him his first guitar - a Rosetti acoustic - for seven pounds.Bockris 1993. pg. 33.] His father was less encouraging: "Every time the poor guy came in at night," Richards says, "he'd find me sitting at the top of the stairs with my guitar, playing and banging on the wall for percussion. He was great about it really. He'd only mutter, 'Stop that bloody noise.'"cite book |last=St. Michael |first=Mick |title=In His Own Words: Keith Richards |publisher=Omnibus Press |year=1994 |id=ISBN 0-7119-3636-X |page=pg. 75] Richards' first guitar hero was Scotty Moore.

Richards attended Wentworth Primary School, as did Mick Jagger; the two knew each other as schoolboys, and lived in the same neighbourhood until Richards' family moved to another section of Dartford in 1954.Bockris 1993. pg. 20, pg.22] From 1955 to 1959 Richards attended Dartford Technical School (now named Wilmington Grammar School),Bockris 1993. pg. 22] cite web |title=The Archives: Famous Old Boy Keith Richards |publisher=Old Dartechs' & Wilmingtonians' Association |url=|accessdate = 2008-03-02] where the choirmaster, Jake Clair, noticed his singing voice and recruited him into the school choir. As one of a trio of boy sopranos Richards sang (among other performances) at Westminster Abbey in front of Queen Elizabeth II - an experience that he has called his "first taste of show biz."Bockris 1993. pg. 27-28]

In 1959, Richards was expelled from Dartford Technical School for truancy, and the headmaster suggested he would be more at home at the art college in the neighboring town of Sidcup.Bockris 1993. pg. 30.] At Sidcup Art College Richards devoted his time to playing guitar, and first heard American blues artists like Little Walter and Big Bill Broonzy. He swapped a pile of records for his first electric guitar,Bockris 1993. pg. 34] a hollow-body Höfner cutaway. Fellow Sidcup student and future musical colleague Dick Taylor recalls, "There was a lot of music being played at Sidcup, and we'd go into the empty classrooms and fool around with our guitars. ... Even in those days Keith could play most of [Chuck Berry's] solos."Bockris 1993. pg. 34-35.] Taylor also remembers Richards experimenting with various drugs at Sidcup: "In order to stay up late with our music and still get to Sidcup in the morning, Keith and I were on a pretty steady diet of pep pills, which not only kept us awake but gave us a lift. We took all kinds of things - pills girls took for menstruation, inhalers like Nostrilene, and other stuff. Opposite the college, there was this little park with an aviary that had a cockatoo in it. Cocky the Cockatoo we used to call it. Keith used to feed it pep pills and make it stagger around on its perch. If ever we were feeling bored, we'd go and give another upper to Cocky."Bockris 1993. pg. 35-36.]

One morning in 1961, on the train journey from Dartford to Sidcup, Richards happened to get into the same carriage as Mick Jagger, who was then a student at the London School of Economics.Bockris 1993. pg. 38.] They recognized each other and began talking about the LPs Jagger had with him: blues and rhythm & blues albums he had acquired by mail-order from America. Richards was surprised and impressed that Jagger not only shared his enthusiasm for Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, but also that he owned such LPs, which were extremely rare in Britain at the time. The two discovered that they had a mutual friend: Dick Taylor, with whom Jagger was singing in an amateur band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Jagger invited Richards to come to a rehearsal, and soon after Richards also joined the line-up. The group disbanded after Jagger, Richards, and Taylor met Brian Jones and Ian Stewart, with whom they went on to form The Rolling Stones (Taylor exited in November of '62 to return to art school).

By mid-1962 Richards had left Sidcup Art College in favour of pursuing his fledgling musical career, and moved into a London flat with Jagger and Jones. His parents divorced about the same time. Richards maintained close ties with his mother, who was very supportive of his musical activities, but he became estranged from his father, and didn't resume contact with him until 1982.

From 1963 to 1978, Richards used the professional name "Keith Richard", which Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham considered more suitable as a show-business name.

Musical career

Guitar playing

Richards has derived inspiration from Chuck Berry throughout his career. Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys rehearsed many Berry numbers,cite book |last=Wyman |first=Bill |title=Rolling With the Stones |publisher=DK Publishing |year=2002 |id=ISBN 0-7894-9998-3 |page=pg. 30] and Jagger and Richards were largely responsible for bringing Berry and Bo Diddley covers into The Rolling Stones' early repertoire. Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters records were another early source of inspiration, and the basis for the style of interwoven lead and rhythm guitar that Richards developed with founding Rolling Stones member Brian Jones.cite book |last=Jagger |first=Mick |coauthors=Richards, Keith; Watts, Charlie; Wood, Ronnie |title= According to the Rolling Stones |publisher= Chronicle Books |year=2003 |id=ISBN 0-8118-4060-3 |pages=pg. 39] When Jones was replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor, who worked with The Rolling Stones from 1969 to 1974, Taylor's playing style led to a more pronounced separation between the lead and rhythm guitar roles. In 1975 Taylor was replaced by Ronnie Wood, marking a return to the style of guitar interplay that he and Richards call "the ancient art of weaving".Jagger, Richards, Watts & Wood 2003. pg. 180.] Richards has said the years with Wood have been his most musically satisfying period in the Rolling Stones.Fact|date=March 2008

Richards often uses guitars with open tunings which allow for syncopated and ringing I-IV chording that can be heard on "Street Fighting Man" and "Start Me Up". He particularly favours a five-string variant of open G tuning (borrowed from Don Everly of the Everly Brothers), using GDGBD unencumbered by a droning low 6th string;cite web |last= Obrecht |first=Jas |title= Keith Richards Comes Clean on Distortion and the Meaning of Music |publisher=Guitar Player |year=1992 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-09 |] this tuning is prominent on numerous Rolling Stones tracks, including "Honky Tonk Women," "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up". Though he still uses standard tunings, Richards has said that his adoption of open tunings in the late 1960s led to a musical "rebirth". In that same time period, Brian Jones' declining contributions left Richards to record all the guitar parts on many tracks, including slide guitar, which had been Jones' specialty in the early years. Richards has rarely played slide in the years since Taylor and then Wood - both accomplished slide players - joined The Rolling Stones.

Richards - who owns over 1000 guitars, some of which he has not played but was simply given - is often associated with the Fender Telecaster, particularly with two 1950s Telecasters outfitted with Gibson PAF humbucker pickups in the neck position.citation |title=Play With Fire |magazine=Guitar Player |publisher=New Bay Media LLC |date=December 1989 |pages=pg. 113] Also notable was the 1959 Bigsby-equipped sunburst Les Paul that he acquired in 1964, which was the first "star owned" Les Paul in Britain. [cite book |last=Bacon |first=Tony |title=50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul |publisher=Backbeat Books |id=ISBN 0-87930-711-0 |pages=pg. 39] cite web |url= |title=The Keith Richards/Clapton Windsor Burst|accessdate=2008-02-14 |publisher=We Sell Guitars Limited| ] Since 1997 a Bigsby-equipped ebony Gibson ES-355 has served as one of his main stage guitars.cite video |people=The Rolling Stones |title=Bridges to Babylon |medium=DVD released 1999 |publisher=Warner Home Video |year2=1997 ] cite video |people=The Rolling Stones |title=The Biggest Bang |medium=DVD released 2007 |publisher=Universal Music Operations |year2=2005-06 ] Even though Richards has used many different guitar models, in a 1986 "Guitar World" interview he joked that no matter what model he plays, "give me five minutes and I'll make 'em all sound the same."Citation |last=Santoro |first=Gene |title=The Mojo Man Rocks Out |newspaper=Guitar World, March 1986, reprinted (2006) in Guitar Legends: The Rolling Stones |publisher=Future plc |year=1986 |pages=pg. 24 ]

In 1965 Richards used a Gibson Maestro fuzzbox to achieve the distinctive tone of his riff on "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction";Citation |last=Bosso |first=Joe |title=No Stone Unturned |magazine=Guitar Legends: The Rolling Stones |publisher=Future plc |pages=pg. 12 |year=2006 ] the success of the resulting single boosted the sales of the device to the extent that all available stock had sold out by the end of 1965.cite web |title=Sold on Song: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction |publisher=BBC | |url= |accessdate=2008-03-09 |] In the 1970s and early 1980s Richards frequently used guitar effects such as a wah-wah pedal, a phaser and a Leslie speaker,cite book |last=Dalton |first=David |title=The Rolling Stones: The First Twenty Years |publisher= Alfred A. Knopf |year=1981 |id=ISBN 0-394-52427-6 |pages=pg. 163] but he mainly relies on combining "the right amp with the right guitar" to achieve the sound he wants.citation |last=Wheeler |first=Tom |title=Keith Richards: Not Fade Away |magazine=Guitar Player |publisher=New Bay Media LLC |date=December 1989]

Richards considers acoustic guitar to be the basis for his playing,cite web |title=1995 Guitar World Interview with Keith |url=
accessdate = 2008-03-03
] and has said: "Every guitar player should play acoustic at home. No matter what else you do, if you don't keep up your acoustic work, you're never going to get the full potential out of an electric, because you lose that touch." Richards' acoustic guitar is featured on tracks throughout the Rolling Stones' career, including hits like "Not Fade Away", "Brown Sugar", "Beast of Burden" and "Almost Hear You Sigh". All the guitars on the studio version of "Street Fighting Man" are Richards on acoustic, distorted by overloading a small cassette recorder microphone, a technique also used on "Jumping Jack Flash".cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk: Street Fighting Man |url= |accessdate=2008-03-09 | ]


Richards' backing vocals appear on every Rolling Stones album; and on most albums since "Between the Buttons" (1967), he has sung lead or co-lead on at least one track (see list below). Richards views the vocal training he got in his choirboy days as part of his professional arsenal, and has said of his own singing: "It's not the most beautiful voice in the world anymore, but the Queen liked it, when it was at its best ... It's not been my job, singing, but to me, if you're gonna write songs, you've got to know how to sing."cite book |last=Booth |first=Stanley |title=Keith: Till I Roll Over Dead |publisher=Headline Book Publishing |year=1994 |id=ISBN 0-7472-0770-4 |pages=pg. 173-174]

On stage, Richards began taking a regular lead-vocal turn in 1972, singing "Happy" (from the album "Exile on Main Street"). "Happy" has become something of a "Richards signature tune", featured on most Rolling Stones tours ever since,cite book |last=Appleford |first=Steve |title=The Rolling Stones: Rip This Joint: The Story Behind Every Song |publisher=Thunder's Mouth Press |year=2000 |id=ISBN 1-56025-281-2 |pages=pg. 119] as well as on both of Richards' solo tours. From 1972 to 1982, Richards routinely took one lead-vocal turn during Rolling Stones concerts; since 1989 he has normally sung lead on two numbers per show. Each of the band's studio albums since "Dirty Work" (1986) have also featured Richards' lead vocals on at least two tracks.

During concerts on the two final legs (autumn 2006 and summer 2007) of The Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang Tour, Richards set his guitar aside to sing his 1969 ballad "You Got the Silver" without self-accompaniment.cite video |people=The Rolling Stones |title=Shine a Light |medium= DVD released 2008 |publisher=Universal |year2=2006 ] Prior to that he had occasionally switched from guitar to keyboards in concert,cite video |people=Ronnie Wood & Band |title=The First Barbarians Live From Kilburn |medium= DVD released 2007 |publisher =Wooden Records |year2=1974 ] cite video |people=The New Barbarians |title=Buried Alive: Live in Maryland |medium=CD released 2006 |publisher=Wooden Records |year2=1979 ] but these concerts were the first time since his choirboy days that Richards appeared on stage armed with only his voice.

Other instruments

Richards has played bass on about two dozen Rolling Stones studio recordings, from "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" (1966) through "Infamy" (2005).cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk |url= | ] One unusual instance was when he and Bill Wyman joined forces to play the bowed double bass on "Ruby Tuesday" (1967) - Wyman did the fingerboard work while Richards manned the bow.cite web |last=McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk: Ruby Tuesday |url= |accessdate=2008-03-17 | ] The rest of Richards' bass-playing contributions have been on bass guitar, on tracks including "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1968), "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968), "Live With Me" (1969), "Before They Make Me Run" (1978), "Sleep Tonight" (1986) and "Brand New Car" (1994). He has also played bass on stage on a couple of occasions: with The Dirty Mac in 1968 (see "Recordings with other artists", below) and on "Sympathy for the Devil" at a Rolling Stones concert at Madison Square Garden in June 1975.

Richards' keyboard playing has also been featured on several Rolling Stones tracks, including "She Smiled Sweetly" (1967), "Memory Motel" (1976), "All About You" (1980), "Thru and Thru" (1994) and "This Place Is Empty" (2005), among others. He sometimes composes on piano - "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" are two early examples;cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk: Let's Spend the Night Together |url= |accessdate=2008-03-17 | ] and he's said of his keyboard playing: "Maybe I'm a little more accomplished now - to me it's just a way of getting out of always using one instrument to write."St. Michael 1994. pg. 26] Richards played keyboards on stage at two 1974 concerts with Ronnie Wood, and on The New Barbarians' tour in 1979; and 1977 and 1981 studio sessions featuring his piano and vocals have been well documented, though never officially released.Bockris 1993. pg. 259-260] cite web |last= Markle |first=Gilbert |title=Diary of a Studio Owner |year=1982 |url=
accessdate=2008-03-17 |

Richards has also contributed percussion to a few Rolling Stones tracks, including the floor tom on "Jumpin' Jack Flash"cite web |last=McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk: Jumpin' Jack Flash |url=|accessdate=2008-03-17 | ] and bicycle spokes on "Continental Drift" (1989).cite web |last=McPherson |first=Ian |title=Track Talk: Continental Drift |url= |accessdate=2008-03-01 | ]


Richards and Jagger began writing songs together in 1963, following the example of the Beatles' Lennon/McCartney and the encouragement of Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, who saw little future for a cover band.cite book |last=Oldham |first=Andrew Loog |title=Stoned |publisher=St. Martin's Griffin |year=2000 |id=ISBN 0-312-27094-1 |pages=pg. 249-251] The earliest Jagger/Richards collaborations were recorded by other artists, including Gene Pitney, whose rendition of "That Girl Belongs to Yesterday" was their first top-ten single in the UK.cite book |last=Elliott |first=Martin |title= The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002 |publisher=Cherry Red Books |year=2002 |id=ISBN 1-901447-04-9 |page=pg. 16] Richards recalls: "We were writing these terrible pop songs that were becoming Top 10 hits. ... They had nothing to do with us, except we wrote 'em."cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=Jagger/Richards: Songwriters |url= |accessdate=2008-03-17 | ] The Rolling Stones' first top-ten hit with a Jagger/Richards original was "The Last Time" (1965);Elliott 2002. pg. 60] "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (also 1965) was their first international #1 recording. (Richards has stated that the "Satisfaction" riff came to him in his sleep; he woke up just long enough to record it on a cassette player by his bed.)Booth 1994. pg. 51] Since "Aftermath" (1966) most Rolling Stones albums have consisted mainly of Jagger/Richards originals. Their songs reflect the influence of blues, R&B, rock & roll, pop, soul, gospel and country, as well as forays into psychedelia and Dylanesque social commentary. Their work in the 1970s and beyond has incorporated elements of funk, disco, reggae and punk. Richards has also written and recorded slow torchy ballads, such as "All About You" (1980).

In his solo career, Richards has often shared co-writing credits with drummer and co-producer Steve Jordan. Richards has said: "I've always thought songs written by two people are better than those written by one. You get another angle on it."

Richards has frequently stated that he feels less like a creator than a conduit when writing songs: "I don't have that God aspect about it. I prefer to think of myself as an antenna. There's only one song, and Adam and Eve wrote it; the rest is a variation on a theme."

Richards was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993.cite web |title=Inductees: Keith Richards |publisher=Songwriters Hall of Fame |url=
accessdate = 2008-03-03

Record production

Richards has been active as a record producer since the 1960s. He was credited as producer and musical director on the 1966 album "Today's Pop Symphony", one of manager Andrew Loog Oldham's side projects, although there are doubts about how much Richards was actually involved with it.Wyman 2002. pg. 224.] On the Rolling Stones' 1967 album "Their Satanic Majesties Request" the entire band was credited as producer, but since 1974, Richards and Mick Jagger have frequently co-produced Rolling Stones and other artists' records under the joint name "The Glimmer Twins", often in collaboration with other producers.

Since the 1980s Richards has chalked up numerous production and co-production credits on projects with other artists including Aretha Franklin, Johnnie Johnson and Ronnie Spector, as well as on his own albums with the X-Pensive Winos (see below). In the 1990s Richards co-produced and added guitar and vocals to a recording of nyabinghi Rastafarian chanting and drumming entitled "Wingless Angels", released on Richards' own record label, Mindless Records, in 1997.

olo recordings

Richards released his first solo single - his renditions of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" and Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" - in late 1978, but since Richards has generally resisted sustained ventures outside of The Rolling Stones, his solo recordings are fewer than those of Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. It was only after Jagger refused to tour with The Rolling Stones behind "Dirty Work" in 1986 that Richards began to actively pursue solo work. In 1987 he formed Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos (first named Organised Crime) with Steve Jordan, drummer on some tracks on "Dirty Work" and in the film "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll", which Richards had also worked on (see below).

Besides Steve Jordan, the X-pensive Winos included Sarah Dash, Waddy Wachtel, Bobby Keys, Ivan Neville and Charley Drayton. Their first release, "Talk Is Cheap" (which also featured session musicians Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker), produced no Top 40 hits, though it went gold and has remained a consistent seller. It spawned a brief U.S. tour - one of only two that Richards has done as a solo artist. The first tour is documented on the Virgin release "Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988". In 1992 "Main Offender" was released, and following a "warm-up concert" in Buenos Aires, the X-Pensive Winos (including a new member, backing vocalist Babi Floyd) toured Europe and North America.cite web |last =Zentgraf |first=Nico |title=The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962-2008 |url=|accessdate=2008-02-23 | ]

Recordings with other artists

During the 1960s most of Richards' recordings with artists other than The Rolling Stones were sessions for Andrew Oldham's Immediate Records label. Notable exceptions were when Richards, along with Mick Jagger and numerous other guests, sang on The Beatles' 1967 TV broadcast of "All You Need Is Love"; and when he played bass with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell as The Dirty Mac for "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" TV special, filmed in 1968.cite video |people=The Rolling Stones, The Dirty Mac, et al| title=Rock and Roll Circus |medium=DVD released 2004 |publisher=ABKCO Films |year2=1968 ]

In the 1970s Richards worked outside The Rolling Stones with Ronnie Wood on several occasions, contributing guitar, piano and vocals to Wood's first two solo albums and joining him on stage for two July 1974 concerts to promote "I've Got My Own Album to Do".cite video |people=Ronnie Wood & Band |title=The First Barbarians Live From Kilburn |medium= DVD released 2007 |publisher =Wooden Records |year2=1974 ] In December 1974 Richards also made a guest appearance at a Faces concert. In 1976-77 Richards played on and co-produced John Phillips' solo recording "Pay, Pack & Follow" (released in 2001). In 1979 he toured the U.S. with The New Barbarians, the band that Wood put together to promote his album "Gimme Some Neck"; he and Wood also contributed guitar and backing vocals to "Truly" on Ian McLagan's 1979 album "Troublemaker" (re-released in 2005 as "Here Comes Trouble").

Since the 1980s Richards has made more frequent guest appearances. In 1981 he played on reggae singer Max Romeo's album "Holding Out My Love to You". He has worked with Tom Waits on two occasions, adding guitar and backing vocals to Waits' 1985 album "Rain Dogs", and co-writing, playing and sharing the lead vocal on "That Feel" on "Bone Machine " (1992). In 1986 Richards produced and played on Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Jumping Jack Flash" and served as musical producer and band leader (or as he phrased it "S&M director")cite video |people=Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, et al|title=Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll |medium=DVD released 2006 |publisher=Universal City Studios Inc |year2=1986 ] for the Chuck Berry film "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll".

In the 1990s and 2000s Richards has continued to contribute to a wide range of musical projects as a guest artist. A few of the notable sessions he has done include guitar and vocals on Johnnie Johnson's 1991 release "Johnnie B. Bad", which he also co-produced; and lead vocals and guitar on "Oh Lord, Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me" on the 1992 Charles Mingus tribute album "Weird Nightmare". He duetted with country legend George Jones on "Say It's Not You" on the "Bradley Barn Sessions" (1994); a second duet from the same sessions - "Burn Your Playhouse Down" - appeared on Jones' 2008 release "Burn Your Playhouse Down - The Unreleased Duets". He partnered with Levon Helm on "Deuce and a Quarter" for Scotty Moore's album "All the King's Men" (1997). His guitar and lead vocals are featured on the Hank Williams tribute album "Timeless" (2001) and on veteran blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin's album "About Them Shoes" (2005). Richards also added guitar and vocals to Toots & the Maytals' recording of "Careless Ethiopians" for their 2004 album "True Love" and to their re-recording of "Pressure Drop", which came out in 2007 as the b-side to Richards' iTunes re-release of "Run Rudolph Run".

Rare and unreleased recordings

In 2006 The Rolling Stones released "Rarities 1971-2003", which includes some rare and limited-issue recordings, but Richards has described the band's released output as the "tip of the iceberg".Fact|date=March 2008 Many of the band's unreleased songs and studio jam sessions are widely bootlegged, as are numerous Richards solo recordings, including his 1977 Toronto studio sessions, some 1981 studio sessions and tapes made during his 1983 wedding trip to Mexico.

Public image and private life

Richards, who has been frank about his habits, has earned notoriety for his decadent outlaw image. Rock critic Nick Kent summed up his 1970s
Lord Byron figure. He was mad, bad, and dangerous to know."Bockris 1993. pg. 213.] In 1994 Richards said of this
citation |title=Ladies and Gentlemen, the Interesting Old Farts |last=Deevoy |first=Adrian |magazine=Q |publisher=EMAP Metro |date=August 1994 |pages=pg. 91]

Richards has been tried on drug-related charges five times: in 1967, twice in 1973, in 1977 and in 1978.Bockris 1993. pg. 133-135, pg. 215-216, pg. 280-283.] cite book |last=Flippo |first=Chet |title=On the Road with the Rolling Stones |publisher= Doubleday/Dolphin |year=1985 |id=ISBN 0-385-19374 |pages=pg. 177-178] The first trial - the only one involving a prison sentence - resulted from a February 1967 police raid on Redlands, Richards' Sussex estate, where he and some friends, including Jagger, were spending the weekend.cite book |last=Booth |first=Stanley |title=The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (2nd edition) |publisher=A Capella Books |year=2000 |id=ISBN 1-55652-400-5 |pages=pg. 243-245] The subsequent arrest of Richards and Jagger put them on trial before the court of public opinion and Her Majesty. On 29 June Jagger was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for possession of four amphetamine tablets; Richards was found guilty of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property and sentenced to one year in prison.Booth 2000. pg. 276.] Both Jagger and Richards were imprisoned at that point, but were released on bail the next day pending appeal.Booth 2000. pg. 277.] On 1 July "The Times" ran an editorial entitled "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?", portraying Jagger's sentence as persecution, and public sentiment against the convictions increased.Wyman 2002. pg. 286.] A month later the appeals court overturned Richards' conviction for lack of evidence, while Jagger was given a conditional discharge.Booth 2000. pg. 278-279.] The most serious charges Richards faced resulted from his arrest on 27 February 1977 at Toronto's Harbour Castle Hotel (), when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found him in possession of "22 grams of heroin".citation |last=Greenspan |first=Edward (editor) |title=Regina v. Richards 49 C.C.C. (2d) |journal=Canadian Criminal Cases, Canada Law Book |year=1980 |pages=pg. 518] Richards was originally charged with "possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking" - an offence that under the Criminal Code of Canada can result in prison sentences of seven years to life.Flippo 1985. pg. 67-68.] His passport was confiscated and Richards and his family remained in Toronto until 1 April, when Richards was allowed to enter the US on a medical visa for treatment for heroin addiction.Bockris 1993. pg. 261-263.] The charge against him was later reduced to "simple possession of heroin".Flippo 1985. pg. 134.]

For the next two years, Richards lived under threat of criminal sanction. Throughout this period he remained active with The Rolling Stones, recording their biggest-selling studio album, "Some Girls", and touring North America. Richards was tried in October 1978, pleading guilty to possession of heroin.Flippo 1985. pg. 134-136.] Wyman 2002. pg. 453.] He was given a suspended sentence and put on probation for one year, with orders to continue treatment for heroin addiction and to perform a benefit concert on behalf of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.Flippo 1985. pg. 178.] Although the prosecution had filed an appeal of the sentence, Richards performed two CNIB benefit concerts at Oshawa Civic Auditorium on 22 April 1979; both shows featured The Rolling Stones and The New Barbarians.citation |title= Back Pages: Will Canada Get Its Pound of Flesh from Keith Richards? |last=O'Neill Jr |first=Lou |magazine=Circus |date=29 May 1979 |] In September 1979 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the original sentence.Greenspan 1990. pg. 518.]

Later in 1979, Richards met future wife, model Patti Hansen. They married on 18 December 1983, Richards' 40th birthday, and have two daughters, Theodora and Alexandra, born in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

Richards maintains cordial relations with Italian born actress Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his first three children; although they were never married, Richards and Pallenberg were a couple from 1967 to 1979. Together they have a son, Marlon (named after the actor Marlon Brando), born in 1969,Wyman 2002. pg. 343.] and a daughter, Angela (nee Dandelion), born in 1972.Wyman 2002. pg. 392.] Their third child, a boy named Tara (after Richards' close friend Tara Browne), died on 6 June 1976, less than three months after his birth.Bockris 1993. pg. 242, pg. 246]

Richards still owns Redlands, the Sussex estate he purchased in 1966, as well as a home in Weston, Connecticut and another in Turks & Caicos.citation |title=Mick's a Maniac: Interview with Keith Richards |last=Mueller |first=Andrew |magazine=Uncut |publisher=IPC Media |date=April 2008 |pages=pg. 38] He is an avid reader with a strong interest in history and an extensive library.cite web |last=Braun |first=Liz |title=Richards Turns a New Page |publisher=Edmonton Sun |date=8 March 2008 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-08 |] cite book |last=Ellis |first=Estelle |coauthors= Seebohm, Carol and Sykes, Christopher Simon |title= At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries |publisher= Clarkson Potter |year=1995 |id=ISBN 0-517-59500-1 |pages=pg. 209-212]

Recent news

On 27 April 2006, Richards, while in Fiji, suffered a head injury after falling out of a tree; he subsequently underwent cranial surgery at a New Zealand hospital.cite web |title=Kiwi Doctor Rolls with the Stones |publisher=Sunday Star Times |date=10 February 2008 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-05] The incident caused a six-week delay in launching The Rolling Stones' 2006 European tour and the rescheduling of several shows; the revised tour schedule included a brief statement from Richards apologising for "falling off his perch".cite web |title=Keith Richards Is Given the All Clear to Get Back to Work As Stones Announce New Itinerary for European Shows| |date=2 June 2006 |url= |accessdate = 2008-03-05] The band made up most of the postponed dates in 2006, and toured Europe in the summer of 2007 to make up the remainder.

In August 2006 Richards was granted a pardon by Arkansas governor (and former Republican Presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee for a 1975 reckless driving citation. [cite news|url=|title=Huckabee prepares pardon papers for rocker Keith Richards|publisher=Arkansas News Bureau|date=2006-07-20]

On 12 March 2007 Richards attended the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony to induct The Ronettes; he also played guitar during the ceremony's all-star jam.

In an April 2007 interview for "NME" magazine, music journalist Mark Beaumont asked Richards what the strangest thing he ever snorted was,citation |title=Snortergate: The True Story (Interview with Mark Beaumont) |magazine=Uncut |publisher=IPC Media |date=September 2007 |pages=pg. 55] and quoted him as replying: "My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared ... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."cite web |title=Exclusive: Keith Richards: 'I Snorted My Dad's Ashes' |publisher=New Musical Express |date=3 April 2007 |url=|accessdate=2007-04-04 |] cite web |title=Keith Richards: Read the Interview the World Is Talking About |publisher=New Musical Express |date=4 April 2007 |url=|accessdate=2007-04-04 |] In the media uproar that followed, Richards' manager said that the anecdote had been meant as a joke; [cite news |url=|title=Did Keith Richards Really Snort His Dad's Ashes? No — It Was A Joke!|publisher=MTV|date=2007-04-03] Beaumont told "Uncut" magazine that the interview had been conducted by telephone and that he had misquoted Richards at one point (reporting that Richards had said he listens to Motörhead, when what he had said was Mozart), but that he believed the ash-snorting anecdote was true. Richards later confirmed in an interview with "Mojo" magazine that he had, in fact, snorted his father's ashes - with no cocaine mixed in - before burying them under an oak tree: "I said I'd chopped him up "like" cocaine, not "with". I opened his box up and ... out comes a bit of dad on the dining room table. I'm going, 'I can't use a brush and dustpan for this.'"citation |title= Keith Richards: The Mojo Interview |last=Doyle |first=Tom |magazine=Mojo |publisher=EMAP Performance Ltd. |date=September 2007 |pages=pg. 60 ]

Doris Richards, the guitarist's 91-year-old mother, died of cancer in England on 21 April 2007. An official statement released by a Richards representative stated that Richards, her only child, kept a vigil by her bedside during her last days. [cite web |title=Rolling Stone Keith Richards' mother dies |date=24 April 2007 |publisher=ABC News Online|url= |accessdate=2007-04-24 |] [cite web |title=Keith Richards’s Mum Dies |publisher=MTV Music Television |url= |date=24 April 2007 |accessdate=2007-04-24|]

Richards made a cameo appearance as Captain Teague, the father of Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp), in ', released in May 2007,cite web |last=Wild |first=Davido |title=Johnny Depp & Keith Richards: "Pirates of the Caribbeans Blood Brothers |publisher=Rolling Stone |date=31 May 2007 |url=|accessdate=2008-03-06 |] and won the Best Celebrity Cameo award at the 2007 Spike Horror Awards for the role.cite web |title=Keith Wins Spike Award | |date=24 October 2007 |url= |accessdate = 2008-03-05] Depp has stated that he based many of Sparrow's mannerisms on Richards.

In August 2007 Richards signed a publishing deal for his autobiography, scheduled to come out in 2010.cite web |last=Rich |first=Motoko |title=A Rolling Stone Prepares to Gather His Memories |publisher=New York Times |date=1 August 2007|url= |accessdate=2008-03-06 |]

In March 2008 fashion house Louis Vuitton unveiled an advertising campaign featuring a photo of Richards with his ebony Gibson ES-355, taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz. Richards donated the fee for his involvement to The Climate Project, an organization for raising environmental awareness.cite web |title= Keith Richards the New Face of Louis Vuitton |publisher=Sydney Morning Herald |date=5 March 2008 |url=,26278,23322613-5007192,00.html
accessdate=2008-03-05 |

olo discography


* "Talk is Cheap" (3 October 1988) UK #37 3 wks; US #24 23 wks; Japan #5 7 wks
* "Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988" (10 December 1991) Japan #54 4 wks
* "Main Offender" (19 October 1992) UK #45 1 wk; US #99 10 wks; Japan #18 5 wks


* "Run Rudolph Run" b/w "The Harder They Come" (December 1978)
* "Take It So Hard" (October 1988) #3 US Mainstream Rock
* "You Don't Move Me" (November 1988) #18 US Mainstream Rock
* "Struggle" (February 1989) #47 US Mainstream Rock
* "Wicked As It Seems" (October 1992) #3 US Mainstream Rock
* "Eileen" (January 1993) #17 US Mainstream Rock

Guest appearances on other artists' releases

* The Beatles: backing vocals on "All You Need Is Love" broadcast (1967)
* The Dirty Mac: "The Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus" (recorded 1968, released 2004): bass on "Yer Blues" and "Her Blues"
* Billy Preston: "That's the Way God Planned It" (1969): guitar
* Alexis Korner: "Musically Rich...and Famous: Anthology 1967-1982" (2003): guitar on "Get Off of My Cloud" (recorded 1974 or 1975)
* Ronnie Wood: "I've Got My Own Album to Do" (1974): co-composer, guitar and vocals on "Sure the One You Need"; co-composer, guitar, piano and backing vocals on "Act Together"; guitar and backing vocals on several other tracks; "The First Barbarians Live From Kilburn" (recorded 1974, released 2007): guitar, vocals, keyboards; "Now Look" (1975): guitar and backing vocals on "Breathe on Me", "I Can't Stand the Rain" and "I Can Say She's Alright"; "Gimme Some Neck" (1979): guitar and backing vocals on "Buried Alive", backing vocals on "Seven Days"
* Faces: "The Faces' Final Concert" (recorded 1974, released 2000): guitar on "Sweet Little Rock & Roller", "I’d Rather Go Blind" and "Twistin’ The Night Away"
* John Phillips: "Pay, Pack & Follow" (recorded 1976–1977, released 2001): co-producer, guitar, backing vocals
* Peter Tosh: "Bush Doctor" (1978): guitar
* The New Barbarians: "Buried Alive" (recorded 1979, released 2006): guitar, piano, lead and backing vocals
* Ian McLagan: "Troublemaker" (1979, re-released in 2005 as "Here Comes Trouble"): guitar and backing vocals on "Truly"
* Max Romeo: "Holding Out My Love For You" (1981): guitar, mixing
* Tom Waits: "Rain Dogs" (1985): guitar and backing vocals on "Big Black Mariah", "Union Square" and "Blind Love"; "Bone Machine" (1992): co-composer, guitar and vocals on "That Feel"
* "Sun City: Artists United Against Apartheid" (1985): co-composer and guitar on "Silver and Gold"
* Aretha Franklin: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" film soundtrack (1986): producer and guitar on title track
* Chuck Berry concert film "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" (1987): musical producer, guitar and backing vocals
* Nona Hendryx: "Female Trouble" (1987): guitar on "Rock This House"
* Ziggy Marley: "Conscious Party" (1988): guitar on "Lee & Molly"
* Feargal Sharkey: "Wish" (1988): guitar on "More Love"
* The Dirty Strangers: "Dirty Strangers" (1988): guitar
* Johnnie Johnson: "Johnnie B. Bad" (1991): co-producer, guitar and vocals on "Key to the Highway", co-composer and guitar on "Tanqueray"
* John Lee Hooker: "Mr. Lucky" (1991): guitar on "Crawling King Snake", guitar and backing vocals on "Whiskey and Wimmen"
* The Neville Brothers: "Uptown" (1991): guitar
* "Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus" (1992): guitar and vocals on "Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me"
* George Jones: "Bradley Barn Sessions" (1994): guitar and vocals on "Say It's Not You"; "Burn Your Playhouse Down - The Unreleased Duets" (2008): vocals on "Burn Your Playhouse Down" (recorded in 1994)
* Bernie Worrell: "Funk of Ages" (1994): guitar
* Bobby Womack: "Resurrection" (1994): guitar
* Marianne Faithfull: "A Collection" (1994): co-producer and guitar on "Ghost Dance"
* The Chieftains: "Long Black Veil" (1995): guitar on "The Rocky Road to Dublin"
* Ivan Neville: "Thanks" (1995): guitar; "Scrape" (2004): guitar
* Bo Diddley: "A Man Amongst Men" (1996): guitar on "Bo Diddley Is Crazy"
* B.B. King: "Deuces Wild" (1997): guitar on "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss"
* "Wingless Angels" (1997): co-producer, guitar, backing vocals
* Scotty Moore: "All the King's Men" (1997): guitar and vocals on "Deuce and a Quarter"
* Jimmy Rogers All-Stars: "Blues Blues Blues" (1999): guitar on "Trouble No More", "Don't Start Me Talkin'" and "Goin' Away"
* Sheryl Crow: "Sheryl Crow & Friends: Live From Central Park" (1999): guitar and vocals on "Happy"
* Charlie Watts: "Charlie Watts - Jim Keltner Project" (2000): guitar on "The Elvin Suite"
* "Timeless: Tribute to Hank Williams" (2001): guitar and vocals on "You Win Again"
* Peter Wolf: "Sleepless" (2002): guitar and vocals on "Too Close Together"
* Willie Nelson & Friends: "Stars & Guitars" (2002): guitar and vocals on "Dead Flowers"; "Outlaws & Angels" (2004): guitar and vocals on "We Had It All", guitar on "Trouble in Mind" and "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On"
* Hubert Sumlin: "About Them Shoes" (2004) – guitar and vocals on "Still a Fool", guitar on "I Love the Life I Lead" and "Little Girl"
* Toots & the Maytals: "True Love" (2004): guitar and vocals on "Careless Ethiopians"; guitar and backing vocals on "Pressure Drop" (released 2007)
* "Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons" (2004): guitar and vocals on "Love Hurts", "Hickory Wind" and "Wild Horses"
* "Make It Funky" (2005): guitar and vocals on "I'm Ready"
* Les Paul & Friends: "American Made World Played" (2005): guitar on "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"
* Buddy Guy: "Bring 'Em In" (2005): guitar on "The Price You Gotta Pay"
* Jerry Lee Lewis: "Last Man Standing: The Duets" (2006): guitar and vocals on "That Kind of Fool"
* Ronnie Spector: "Last of the Rock Stars" (2006): guitar and vocals on "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", guitar on "All I Want"
* Lee "Scratch" Perry: "Scratch Came Scratch Saw Scratch Conquered" (2008): guitar on "Heavy Voodoo" and "Once There's a Will There's a Way"

Lead vocals on Rolling Stones albums

Below is a list of the officially released Rolling Stones tracks on which Richards sings lead vocals or shares lead-vocal duties:
* "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" (alternates with Jagger), "Connection" (co-lead with Jagger) - "Between the Buttons" (1967)
* "Salt of the Earth" (first verse) - "Beggars Banquet" (1968)
* "You Got the Silver" - "Let It Bleed" (1969)
* "Happy" - "Exile On Main St." (1972)
* "Coming Down Again" - "Goats Head Soup" (1973)
* "Memory Motel" (alternates with Jagger) - "Black and Blue" (1976)
* "Happy" (live) - "Love You Live" (1977)
* "Before They Make Me Run" - "Some Girls" (1978)
* "All About You" - "Emotional Rescue" (1980)
* "Little T&A" - "Tattoo You" (1981)
* "Wanna Hold You" - "Undercover" (1983)
* "Too Rude", "Sleep Tonight" - " Dirty Work" (1986)
* "Can't Be Seen", "Slipping Away" - "Steel Wheels" (1989)
* "Can't Be Seen" (live) - "Flashpoint" (1991)
* "The Worst", "Thru and Thru" - "Voodoo Lounge" (1994)
* "Slipping Away" (acoustic studio rehearsal) - "Stripped" (1995)
* "You Don't Have to Mean It", "Thief in the Night", "How Can I Stop" - "Bridges to Babylon" (1997)
* "Thief in the Night" (live) - "No Security" (1999)
* "Losing My Touch" - "Forty Licks" (2002)
* "Happy" (live), "The Nearness of You" (live), "You Don't Have to Mean It" (live) - "Live Licks" (2004)
* "This Place Is Empty", "Infamy" - "A Bigger Bang" (2005)
* "Thru and Thru" (live) - "Rarities 1971-2003" (2005)
* "You Got the Silver" (live), "Connection" (live), "Little T&A" (live) - "Shine a Light" (2008)


External links

* [ The Official Keith Richards website] (requires Flash)
*AMG name|id=9ne997rjkrjt|name=Keith Richards
*imdb name|id=0724189|name=Keith Richards
*Shof|id=113|name=Keith Richards
*discogs artist|artist=Keith+Richards
*MusicBrainz artist|id=f0ed72a3-ae8f-4cf7-b51d-2696a2330230
*CBC Archives Richards' trial and sentencing in [ Oct. 24, 1978] and [ 16 April 1979]

NAME = Richards, Keith
SHORT DESCRIPTION = English guitarist; songwriter; singer
DATE OF BIRTH = 18 December 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH = Dartford, Kent, England

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