Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

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Keith Richards is an English musician born on December 18, 1943, known for being one of the founding members of The Rolling Stones. He plays guitar, sings, and helps write songs for the band. Alongside Mick Jagger, he’s penned some of the most famous songs in music history.

Richards grew up in Dartford, Kent, where he went to school and later studied art. He met Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart, and Brian Jones, forming the Rolling Stones. Apart from playing guitar, Richards sometimes takes the lead vocals in their songs, like “Happy,” “Before They Make Me Run,” and “Connection.”

Outside of the Rolling Stones, Richards has his band called The X-Pensive Winos. He’s also appeared in movies, notably playing Captain Teague in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, a character inspired by his persona.

For his contributions to music, Richards has received numerous accolades. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame with the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine has recognized him as one of the greatest guitarists, ranking him 4th in 2011 and 15th in 2023. Several songs he co-wrote with Jagger are considered among the greatest ever, appearing on the magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

Full NameKeith Richards
Date of BirthDecember 18, 1943
Place of BirthDartford, Kent, England
OccupationMusician, Songwriter
Height5 ft 8 in (1.74 m)
SpousePatti Hansen (m. 1983)
ChildrenMarlon Richards, Theodora Richards, 
Angela Richards, Alexandra Richards, 
Tara Richards
Net Worth$500 Million

Early life

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards was born on December 18, 1943, at Livingston Hospital in Dartford, Kent, England. His parents were Doris Maud Lydia and Herbert William Richards. His dad worked in a factory and got hurt during World War II. Richards’s grandparents on his dad’s side were big on socialism and local politics. They were mayors in Essex. His mom’s dad, Augustus Theodore “Gus” Dupree, played in a jazz band, which got Richards into the guitar.

Richards and Mick Jagger went to the same primary school and lived near each other until they moved in 1954. Richards went to Dartford Technical High School but got kicked out for not showing up. He then went to Sidcup Art College, where he spent more time jamming with other students than studying. By this time, he was good at playing Chuck Berry’s guitar parts.

He bumped into Jagger again at a train station, and they bonded over their love for blues music. They started hanging out, along with their friend Dick Taylor and joined a band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. That band didn’t last long, though, because they met Brian Jones and Ian Stewart, who were starting a new band called the Rolling Stones.

By 1962, Richards had left art school to focus on music. He moved in with Jagger and Jones in London. His parents split up around the same time, and he stayed close to his mom, not talking to his dad until 1982.

When the Rolling Stones signed with Decca Records in 1963, their manager Andrew Loog Oldham decided to drop the “s” from Richards’s last name, thinking “Keith Richard” sounded more like a pop star. But in the late ’70s, Richards went back to using “Richards” with an “s” again.

Musicianship

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards is like the Swiss Army knife of the Rolling Stones, especially when it comes to guitars. He doesn’t just strum along; he switches between lead and rhythm guitar, sometimes doing both in one song. The Stones are famous for their guitar teamwork, where Richards blends his playing with whoever else is on guitar at the time—be it Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, or Ronnie Wood.

In the studio, Richards is a bit of a one-man band. Sometimes, he handles all the guitar parts himself, which is pretty impressive. You can hear his solo guitar skills shining on hits like “Paint It Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “Gimme Shelter.” Plus, he’s not just a guitar guy; Richards also adds his voice to the mix. He sings backup on lots of Rolling Stones tracks and occasionally takes the lead, like on their 1972 single “Happy.” He even has his side project called the X-Pensive Winos, where he takes charge as the lead vocalist.

Bandleader

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Since Brian Jones left the band, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been the main guys behind writing songs and making the music for the Rolling Stones. They’re known as the “Glimmer Twins.” Even though some used to think Richards was like the boss of the band, he says his job is just to keep things running smoothly. In most bands, the drummer keeps everyone on time, but in the Stones, Richards is the one who sets the pace. Both the old bass player, Bill Wyman, and the current guitarist, Ronnie Wood, have said that everyone in the band follows Richards’ lead, not the drummer, Charlie Watts, because, well, there’s just no other way to do it!

Guitarist

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In simple terms, Chris Spedding thinks Keith Richards is a great guitarist. Richards himself says he’s not into showing off how fast he can play but rather focuses on making good rhythms and chords. He likes playing guitar with other people, and he’s hardly ever gone on tour without another guitarist.

Richards was inspired by Chuck Berry and Mick Jagger to play Berry’s songs with The Rolling Stones. When another guitarist, Brian Jones, started slacking off, Richards took over all the guitar parts for many songs. Mick Taylor then joined the band and played lead guitar well, which made a clear distinction between lead and rhythm guitar roles, especially during concerts.

After Taylor left, Ronnie Wood joined, and Richards went back to playing with another guitarist, like he used to with Jones. During a break from touring, Richards tried out different ways of tuning his guitar, eventually settling on one called open G tuning. He often plays without the lowest string because he feels it gets in the way.

Richards thinks playing acoustic guitar is important, and he believes it’s the foundation of his style. He plays acoustic guitar on a lot of Rolling Stones songs, including some big hits like “Brown Sugar” and “Angie”. Sometimes, they even recorded acoustic guitars by putting them through a loudspeaker to get a unique sound.

Vocals

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards used to sing in his school choir, even performing for Queen Elizabeth II. But as he grew older, his voice changed, and he had to leave the choir. Despite this, he’s been a key part of the Rolling Stones, singing backup on every album they’ve made. Starting with their album “Between the Buttons” in 1967, he’s either led or co-led a song on every album except a few.

He’s taken the lead on over ten Rolling Stones songs, like “Happy,” “You Got the Silver,” and “Connection.” During their 1972 tour, “Happy” became a regular part of their concerts, with Richards leading vocals to give Mick Jagger a chance to switch outfits. Richards often kicks off concerts with jokes or lines to give the audience a moment to relax. In recent tours, he even sang “You Got the Silver” without playing any instrument.

Songwriting

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Richards and Jagger started writing songs together back in 1963 because their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, thought it was a good idea. He didn’t want the band to rely on other people’s songs. At first, they wrote songs for other artists like Gene Pitney and Marianne Faithfull.

Their first big hit as songwriters was “The Last Time” in 1965, followed by “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which became a huge hit worldwide. Keith Richards says he came up with the famous riff for “Satisfaction” while half asleep and recorded it on a cassette player by his bed. Since their album “Aftermath” in 1966, most of the songs on Rolling Stones albums have been written by Jagger and Richards.

Their music is influenced by lots of different styles like blues, rock and roll, pop, soul, and country. Over the years, they’ve also tried out funk, disco, reggae, and punk. Keith Richards has written some slower, more emotional songs too, like “You Got the Silver” and “Slipping Away.”

Richards often works with drummer and co-producer Steve Jordan when he’s doing solo stuff. He believes that songs written by two people are usually better because you get different perspectives.

When talking about songwriting, Richards says he feels more like a channel than a creator. He sees himself as an antenna picking up on something bigger than himself. He believes there’s only one true song, and everything else is just a variation of it. In 1993, Richards was honored by being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Record production

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards has been making music since the 1960s. He helped create an album called Today’s Pop Symphony in 1966. Some say he didn’t do much on it, though.

On the Rolling Stones’ album Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967, everyone in the band was called a producer. But since 1974, Richards and Mick Jagger have often worked together to produce Rolling Stones records and other artists’ music. They call themselves “the Glimmer Twins” when they do this, sometimes with other producers.

In early 1973, Jagger and Richards got interested in a band called Kracker. They made a deal for the band’s second album to be sold by Rolling Stones Records outside of America. This made Kracker the first band on that label.

Since the 1980s, Richards has worked on many projects with other artists, like Aretha Franklin, Johnnie Johnson, and Ronnie Spector. He’s also produced his albums with the X-Pensive Winos.

In the 1990s, Richards helped produce and played guitar and sang on a recording of Rastafarian chanting and drumming called “Wingless Angels.” It was released on Richards’s record label, Mindless Records, in 1997.

Solo recordings

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards hasn’t released many solo songs on his own. His first one came out in 1978, where he covered Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” and Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come”. Later in 1987, when Mick Jagger, his bandmate, was busy with his solo projects, Richards teamed up with Steve Jordan to form a group called the “X-Pensive Winos”. They got together while working on a Chuck Berry documentary called Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Besides Richards and Jordan, the X-Pensive Winos included other talented musicians like Waddy Wachtel, Bobby Keys, Ivan Neville, and Charley Drayton. Their first album, Talk Is Cheap, was a hit, featuring guest appearances from Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, and Maceo Parker. It went gold and kept selling well. They went on tour in the US, and a live album, Live at the Hollywood Palladium, 15 December 1988, captured one of their shows. In 1992, they released their second album, Main Offender, and toured again.

Even though the X-Pensive Winos were featured on both albums, they were credited to Richards as a solo artist. Later in 2015, Richards released another solo album called Crosseyed Heart.

Recordings with other artists

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In the 1960s, apart from his work with the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards did some recordings with other artists, mostly for Immediate Records. He sang with Mick Jagger and others on a Beatles TV show in 1967. Also, he played bass with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and others for a TV special in 1968.

During the 1970s, Richards teamed up with Ronnie Wood for some projects, playing guitar, and piano, and singing on Wood’s solo albums. He even joined Wood on stage for a couple of concerts. He also made guest appearances at concerts, like with Faces in 1974.

In the late ’70s, he toured with a band called New Barbarians and worked on various projects with Ronnie Wood, including contributing to Ian McLagan’s album.

From the 1980s onward, Richards became more involved in guest appearances. He played on Max Romeo’s album in 1981 and collaborated with Tom Waits on multiple occasions. He produced music for Aretha Franklin and worked on the Chuck Berry film.

Throughout the ’90s and 2000s, Richards continued his guest appearances, contributing his guitar and vocals to various projects. He worked with artists like Johnnie Johnson, George Jones, Levon Helm, and Hubert Sumlin, among others. He also won a Grammy for his collaboration with Toots & the Maytals on their album “True Love”. Additionally, he released a Christmas single in 2007.

Rare and unreleased recordings

Back in 2005, the Rolling Stones dropped an album called Rarities 1971–2003. It’s got some special recordings that weren’t widely released before. But according to Richards, that’s just a small part of what they’ve recorded. There’s a ton of unreleased stuff and jam sessions from the studio that fans have managed to get their hands on through bootleg copies. Plus, there are solo recordings from Richards himself, like from his time in Toronto in 1977, some studio sessions in 1981, and even tapes from his wedding trip to Mexico in 1983.

Personal life

Relationships and family

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards had a long relationship with actress Anita Pallenberg from 1967 to 1979. They had two children together, a son named Marlon Leon Sundeep and a daughter named Angela. Sadly, their third child, Tara Jo Jo Gunne, passed away when he was just over two months old from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Richards was on tour at the time, which has haunted him since. He received criticism for performing that night after learning of the death, but he later explained it was his way of coping.

Before being with Richards, Pallenberg was involved with his Rolling Stones bandmate Brian Jones, which caused tension within the group.

Keith Richards met his wife, model Patti Hansen, in 1979, and they got married on his 40th birthday in 1983. They have two daughters, Theodora Dupree and Alexandra Nicole. In 2014, Richards published a children’s book called “Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar” with Theodora, inspired by his grandfather Theodore Augustus Dupree. He also has five grandchildren, three from his son Marlon and two from his daughter Angela.

Friendship with Mick Jagger

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

The media often describes Keith Richards and his bandmate Mick Jagger’s relationship as a mix of love and hate. Richards himself once said in an interview that their differences are like a family argument. He feels like he’s the one who has to speak up when things need to be said, even if it means yelling at Jagger. Richards even tried to convince Jagger to join him and Johnny Depp in a movie, but it didn’t work out.

Richards wrote an autobiography called “Life,” which came out in 2010. Before it was released, there was talk about how Richards called Jagger “unbearable” in the book and said their relationship had been strained for years. By 2015, Richards had softened his stance, saying that while Jagger might sometimes act like a snob, he still cares about him a lot. He believes that friends don’t have to be perfect.

Drug use and arrests

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Music journalist Nick Kent once described Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” echoing a famous phrase about the poet Lord Byron. Mick Jagger, Richards’ bandmate, believed that this wild image contributed to Richards’ struggles with addiction. Despite Richards’ efforts to shed this image over the years, some people still perceive him as a drug-addled rebel.

Richards gained notoriety for his drug use during the late 1960s and 1970s, partly due to several run-ins with the law and his openness about his heroin and drug habits. He faced drug-related charges five times, with the first trial occurring in 1967 after a police raid on his estate in Sussex, England. Both Richards and Jagger were arrested, with Jagger receiving a three-month prison sentence for possession of amphetamines and Richards getting a one-year sentence for allowing cannabis use on his property. However, Richards’ conviction was later overturned due to lack of evidence.

In 1977, Keith Richards was arrested again in Toronto for possession of heroin with intent to traffic, a serious offense that could have led to a lengthy prison term. He stayed in Toronto with his family until he was permitted to enter the United States for heroin addiction treatment. The charge was eventually reduced to simple possession.

Despite his legal troubles, Richards continued his music career with the Rolling Stones, recording successful albums and touring extensively. In 1978, he pleaded guilty to heroin possession and was given a suspended sentence, probation, and ordered to undergo further addiction treatment. He also performed benefit concerts for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

In 2016, Richards admitted to still occasionally using alcohol, hashish, and cannabis. However, by 2020, he had quit smoking cigarettes, as he revealed in 2022.

Other details

Keith Richards, a famous musician, has a few houses: one in Sussex, England, which he’s had since 1966, another in Weston, Connecticut, and one on Parrot Cay, a private island in the Caribbean. His main home is in Weston. He once said he might retire to Parrot Cay or Jamaica with his family if he knew he was going to die soon, but later on, he joked about wanting to die dramatically while performing onstage.

Keith Richards likes reading and has a huge collection of books. He even said once that he’d like to be a librarian.

He also enjoys eating shepherd’s pie, a classic British dish. There’s a funny story about how he got mad at someone for taking his shepherd’s pie once. In his autobiography, he suggests adding more onions to make it taste better.

21st century

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In 2006, while in Fiji, Keith Richards had an accident. He fell off a dead tree branch and hurt his head. He had to have surgery in a hospital in New Zealand. Because of this, the Rolling Stones had to postpone some of their shows in Europe. Keith apologized for the delay, jokingly saying he “fell off my perch.” The band made up for the missed shows later.

In 2006, Keith Richards was pardoned for a reckless driving charge from 1975 by the governor of Arkansas.

Johnny Depp said his character in Pirates of the Caribbean was partly inspired by Keith Richards and a cartoon character called Pepe Le Pew. Disney was worried that the character might seem drunk or gay, but Keith ended up playing a role in the third and fourth movies.

In 2012, Keith helped judge a music competition to support independent musicians.

In a 2015 interview, Keith Richards said he doesn’t like rap or hip hop, and he thinks they’re just noise. He also made some comments about other bands and music styles he’s not a fan of.

In 2016, Keith and director Julien Temple put together a TV show called Lost Weekend on BBC Four. It featured some of Keith’s favorite old TV shows, cartoons, and movies, along with interviews and music performances. There was also a documentary about Keith’s life and music.

Tributes to other artists

From the very beginning of his career, Keith Richards has always shown up to honor his friends in the music world and those who inspired him. Even when The Rolling Stones were just starting and playing covers of American blues songs, Richards knew the importance of paying respects. When they gained fame, they made sure to visit the United States to thank their American fans.

Richards has continued to perform at various events to show his gratitude. For instance, he teamed up with Norah Jones in 2006 to honor Gram Parsons, playing guitar and singing a duet called “Love Hurts”. He’s also appeared at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony and paid tribute to Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen.

In 2005, Richards appeared in the documentary “Make It Funky!”, talking about the influence of New Orleans music on various genres like rock and roll, funk, and jazz. He even performed a Fats Domino song in the film.

There was a bit of controversy in 2007 when Richards joked about snorting his father’s ashes, which caused a media frenzy. Despite the uproar, he continued making music and even inspired songs like “Cocaine And Ashes”.

Sadly, Keith Richards lost his mother to cancer in 2007, but he stayed by her side until the end.

He’s also dipped his toes into acting, making a cameo in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and reprising his role in its sequel. Richards even did an ad campaign for Louis Vuitton, donating his fee to an environmental organization.

Over the years, Richards has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to music. He’s been ranked as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and has even collaborated with other musicians like Jack White.

In 2010, Richards released his autobiography called “Life”, sharing stories from his legendary career. He’s also been featured in documentaries like “Toots and the Maytals: Reggae Got Soul”, shedding light on his impact on the music industry.

Keith Richards Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Keith Richards’s Net Worth 

Keith Richards’s Net Worth is estimated to be $500 Million as of 2024, according to Celebrity Net Worth.