He’s rough, old, wrinkled, and one of the best damn guitarists to ever live.
Keith Richards is one of the best guitarists alive today and is a founding member of the world’s greatest rock and roll band, the Rolling Stones. They came onto the scene in the 1960s and are still touring to this day. To put that into perspective, they’ve been a band longer than my parents have been alive.
Richards was born on December 18, 1943 in Kent, England. His grandfather was a touring musician in a big jazz band and this led Richards to love the guitar at an early age. He and his grandpa would sit together on weekends and play folk tunes.
He attended an all-boys elementary school, the same school as Mick Jagger who was Keith’s neighbour for his early childhood.Richards was expelled in 1959 for truancy and transferred to another school where he spent more time in the boys’ room playing guitar than he did in class.
On a train one afternoon, Richards saw Mick Jagger on his way to his classes. Jagger was holding some records and it reunited the friendship between the two. Richards soon dropped out of school and moved to London in 1962 to focus on music. In 1963 the band was signed by a local record company.
The Rolling Stones have a sound that every band tries to copy and fails horribly while doing so. They’re known for their layering guitar rhythm between Richards, Brian Jones and Ronnie Wood.
Richards plays many guitars including the Fender Statocaster and the Gibson ES-355. His most notable guitar is the 1953 Fender Telecaster “Micawber.”
Keith calls himself the rhythm guitarist, but is known as the band leader although many would guess it to Mick or drummer Charlie Watts. Even the drummer follows the rhythm guitar, which is unheard of to most musicians.
The Rolling Stones have had a hook in my brain since the first time I heard Brown Sugar. My first band hired me as the rhythm guitarist and Keith is one of my biggest influences.
Check out Sympathy for the Devil and Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards is the only guitarist on those tracks and you can really see what he can do with the instrument.