Keith Richards

In his own roguish way, legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards transformed music with his raw, punchy riffs, flamboyant look and swaggering attitude, and became one of the enduring rock & roll icons of the 1960s. Growing up amid grey, post-war austerity in Dartford, suburban South London, Richards first heard his mother's jazz and classical music as a child and idolised his grandfather Gus, who was a touring musician with big bands. When he was finally tall enough to reach an old family guitar which hung tantalisingly on the wall, Gus taught him to play the flamenco tune 'Malaguena' and Richards was soon obsessively learning from records by Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed and Elvis Presley's guitarist Scotty Moore. He was also a choir boy and once performed at Westminster Abbey in front the Queen, but it was a chance meeting on a train with old school friend Mick Jagger that helped him further discover the masters of the Chicago blues scene and a wealth of great American music. Decades of classic hits, revolutionary albums, giant tours and infamous hell-raising adventures followed, and the duo's songwriting partnership led The Rolling Stones from local teenage R&B sensations to become the biggest rock band in the world. Along the way Richards created a loose, distinctive sound by taking off the low E-string and open-tuning his guitar and was once playfully described as "the man with five strings, and nine lives". During a difficult period for the band in the 1980s, he ended up writing songs with drummer Steve Jordan and working with a cast of musicians that he dubbed The X-pensive Winos. The sessions produced his debut solo album 'Talk Is Cheap' which reached number 24 in the US in 1988, and tracks such as 'You Don't Move Me' and 'Take It So Hard' publicly confronted his rift with Jagger and were well-received by critics. Though relationships were patched up and the Stones continued on as rock & roll juggernauts, Richards worked with Jordan again on 'Main Offender' in 1992 and 'Crosseyed Heart' in 2015, both albums which captured his love of soulful blues and featured his hard-worn, disheveled, husky, singing voice.

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