Keith Richards criticises The Beatles as a live band

Rolling Stones guitarist says Beatles ‘were never quite there’ in concert

The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has criticised The Beatles’ ability as a live band.

The Beatles famously stopped playing live at the height of their career in 1966, partially because they were frustrated at not being able to hear themselves on stage above the audience’s screams.

Richards told Radio Times: “Musically, The Beatles had a lovely sound and great songs. But the live thing? They were never quite there.”

The guitarist told the magazine he enjoyed The Beatles’ friendship, but admitted he “excommunicated” them when they fell under the influence of mystic leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1967.

Richards said: “He was a fucking operator, a sucker job. But you have to think, what had being The Beatles done to The Beatles? They wanted somebody else to take them away. They didn’t want to be God any more, so they plugged it all onto the Maharishi.”

The interview was to promote new BBC2 documentary ‘Keith Richards: The Origin Of The Species’, which is screened at 9pm on Saturday (July 23), which explores Richards’ childhood growing up in post-World War II Kent.

The documentary is directed by Julien Temple who made The Sex Pistols film ‘The Great Rock & Roll Swindle’ and 1950s drama ‘Absolute Beginners’ starring David Bowie.

The Rolling Stones are continuing to work on their first studio album since 2005’s ‘A Bigger Bang’. The band have hinted it may be the first covers album of their 52-year career.