Like his future partner Mick Jagger and many other British youth, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Keith Richards grew up an avid fan of blues and American R&B. An early incarnation of their band known as Blues Inc. evolved into the self-proclaimed "world's greatest rock and roll band," The Rolling Stones, named for the Muddy Waters song.
With a sound largely defined by Richards' Chuck Berry-style guitar riffs, the Stones played London's first annual National Jazz and Blues festival followed by a package tour which included Little Richard and Bo Diddley. In 1964, a version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" planted the band on the U.S. pop charts. After their rendition of the blues standard "Little Red Rooster" was banned for objectionable lyrics, Richards and Jagger started writing their own tunes. "Satisfaction" kicked off a string of U.S. hit singles in the mid-sixties that included "Get Off My Cloud," Time is on My Side" and "As Tears Go By."
In 1968, Richards signature guitar lick on "Jumpin' Jack Flash," catapulted the band back to the upper reaches of the charts. A mix of critical failures, pop hits and soul covers carried the band through the seventies. "Miss You," an unlikely disco-crossover hit from 1978's Some Girls sent the band back to the top of the charts. 1981's Tattoo You, yielded the huge pop rock sensation "Start Me Up" as well as a track that featured jazz great Sonny Rollins.
Since 1964, and still going, Keith Richards' trademark guitar and Mick Jagger's more-than-wannabe-black vocals keep the blues alive and the great rock and roll records rolling.
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