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Keith Richards: The Legendary Guitarist of The Rolling Stones

Full Name Keith Richards
Age 79
Birthday December 18, 1943
Birthplace Dartford, England
Net Worth $500 million
Social Media Facebook

Keith Richards, legendary guitarist and co-founder of The Rolling Stones, is an international music icon. With his gritty guitar riffs, raw charisma, and pioneering rock sound, the 79-year-old Richards has captivated audiences for over 50 years.

Early Life and Fateful Meeting with Mick Jagger

Richards was born in Dartford, Kent, England in 1943. He was drawn to music from a young age, influenced by his grandfather‘s jazz records. While attending primary school, Richards fatefully met his future Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Jagger. The two bonded over American blues and R&B artists like Muddy Waters, sparking a friendship that changed rock history.

Though they lost touch when Richards‘ family moved away, a chance encounter brought the aspiring musicians back together in 1961. Reuniting over their shared love of rhythm and blues, Jagger and Richards discovered they had a similar vision to start their own group.

Forming The Rolling Stones

In 1962, Richards and Jagger officially formed The Rolling Stones, bringing in guitarist Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart, drummer Mick Avory, and bassist Dick Taylor.

The band got their name from the Muddy Waters‘ song "Rollin‘ Stone" – a nod to their blues inspiration. Within a year, they began composing their own original songs and rocketed to fame after releasing "(I Can‘t Get No) Satisfaction" in 1965. It became one of the most iconic guitar riffs Richards would ever write.

Developing His Unique Guitar Sound

Richards is renowned for pioneering a gritty, blues-infused guitar style that heavily influenced rock music. After Brian Jones‘ departure in 1969, he took over as The Stones‘ primary guitarist and songwriter.

Richards crafted a signature sound using five-string open tunings, energetic riffs, and creative reinvention of standard chords. His style was less polished and more raw – channeling a rebel attitude. "I thought there was a niche I could make my own," Richards said. "I wanted to expand the guitar vocabulary."

Songwriting Partnership with Mick Jagger

The prolific songwriting partnership between Richards and Jagger produced some of The Rolling Stones‘ biggest hits. Richards often composed the guitar riff first, then passed it to Jagger to write lyrics.

Together they penned iconic tracks like "Sympathy for the Devil," "Gimme Shelter," "Jumpin‘ Jack Flash," and "Angie" – securing The Stones‘ legacy as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Scandals and Substance Abuse

Richards lived the quintessential rock lifestyle filled with excess and adventure. He developed a notorious reputation for drinking and drug use, leading to arrests in 1967 and 1977.

Despite struggles with heroin addiction, Richards continued performing exhilarating concerts and churning out hits with The Stones. His hedonistic escapades only added to his rebel persona and "indestructible" aura. As Richards famously quipped, "I‘m indestructible…I‘ve been there and I‘ve done it all. I nearly died a couple times, but I‘m still here."

Later Collaborations and Recent Work

Beyond The Stones, Richards sought creative collaborations with artists like John Lennon, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson. He contributed to The Beatles‘ "All You Need Is Love" and added the iconic guitar solo on Jackson‘s "Beat It."

Now 79, Richards continues touring and recording new music with The Rolling Stones, proving his passion hasn‘t diminished. He‘s also released two solo albums – showing off his bluesy vocals – and appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as Captain Teague. After over 50 years in rock, Richards remains an influential guitar legend.

The Legacy of Keith Richards

  • Co-founded The Rolling Stones in 1962, pioneering gritty blues rock
  • Developed an iconic guitar style using five-string tunings and distorted chords
  • Formed one of rock‘s greatest songwriting partnerships with Mick Jagger
  • Composed legendary riffs for "(I Can‘t Get No) Satisfaction" and "Jumpin‘ Jack Flash"
  • His hedonistic lifestyle and arrests solidified his rebel rock persona
  • Ranked #4 on Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Guitarists list
  • Collaborated with rock and pop icons from The Beatles to Michael Jackson
  • At 79, continues touring the world and recording new music with The Stones

With his raw charisma and iconic guitar sounds, Keith Richards pioneered rock music alongside his band The Rolling Stones. Though nearing 80, the legendary guitarist continues gracing stages worldwide – solidifying his place as one of the most influential musicians of all time.