Keith Richards: ‘I’ll celebrate the Stones’ 60th anniversary in a wheelchair’

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionKeith Richards co-founded the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger in 1962

During the Rolling Stones' 1976 tour of Europe, at a show in Germany, Keith Richards fell asleep on stage.

He'd never been a particular fan of Fool To Cry – a single from their recent Black and Blue album – and, after playing his solo, the guitarist simply nodded off.

A couple of minutes later, he awoke to a huge scream of feedback. Richards has drifted away with his foot jammed onto an effects pedal, causing an almighty squeal that reverberated painfully around the arena.

For all of the tales of Richards' hedonism and debauchery, this onstage blackout was completely out of character.

"Keith will always flog himself to death on stage. Always," the Stones' road manager Ian Stewart told Richards' biographer, Barbara Charone.

"Some night he'll move and other nights he'll stand and play, Some nights he might be a bit out of it and drop the odd clanger but he never coasts."

Even at the age of 76, the guitarist still lives for the road. The stage is where he feels most at home, and the thrill of an audience has never faded.

"I don't know if you can get immune to it, but it's still a kick, man," he says.

Thanks to the pandemic, however, the star's "usual yearly shot" of adrenalin has vanished. "We was ready, primed to go on the road when this virus hit, so it was kind of, 'On your marks, get set, no'. It's been very weird for everybody this year, hasn't it?"

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