Keith Richards’ Incredible Career In Pictures


A piercing portrait of Keith Richards during the ‘Sticky Fingers’ sessions, 1971. According to Keef: “‘Sticky Fingers’ was never meant to be the title. It’s just what we called it while we were working on it. Usually though, the working titles stick.”

Andrew Oldham: 1966-131A-002-019
Manhattan, New York, USA 1966


Keith lights a fag during the recording of ‘Exile On Main Street’ at Villa Nellcote in the south of France, 1971. Progress on the album was slow, thanks to frequent visits from druggy buddies like William Burroughs and Gram Parsons. In the end, Richards asked Parsons to leave the villa, so they could actually get some work done.



Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards circa 1967 in Morocco. This shot was taken just before Pallenberg left Jones for Richards. Pallenberg later had an affair with Mick Jagger. To get his own back, Richards had sex with Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithfull.


Keith with sword, Redlands, California, 1965. In his book, the guitarist says being a sex symbol could sometimes be frightening. “The power of the teenage females of 13, 14, 15, when they’re in a gang, has never left me… You’d rather be in a trench fighting the enemy than to be faced with this unstoppable wave of lust and desire.”


An early portrait of Keith Richards playing guitar backstage, circa 1965. It’s no secret that Richards and Mick Jagger dislike each other. Of Jagger’s solo work, Richards says, “I’ve never listened to the entire thing [‘She’s The Boss’] all the way through. Who has? It’s like Mein Kampf. Everybody had a copy, but nobody listened to it.”


Keith Richards, Anita Pallenberg and their son, Marlon, arrive at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. When he and Pallenberg first checked into a hotel together they used the aliases Count and Countess Zigenpuss, from the German Ziegenfuss, meaning goat’s foot. They later used the names Count and Countess Castiglione.



In his memoir, Richards reveals that women had ignored him for years until his sudden fame attracted swarms of groupies. “These chicks were coming out there and you took that for granted every night. What are you going to do at that age when most of the teenage population of everywhere has decided you’re it?”


Richards claims he’s not the drug-fiend everyone makes him out to be. He writes: “People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope!”


Richards insists he feels no guilt over nabbing Brian Jones’ girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. “It’s said that I stole her. But my take on it is that I rescued her,” he writes, describing her as Jones’s “full-time geisha, flatterer, punchbag – whatever he imagined, including partaking in orgies, which Anita always resolutely refused to do.”


Richards claims to be shy with women, and always waits for them to make the first move. “I just don’t know how to do it,” he writes. “I’m tongue-tied.”



Since Johnny Depp channelled Keef for the Pirates Of The Caribbean film, the two have been friends – though at first Richards didn’t have a clue who he was. Eventually, the penny dropped. “Then one day he was at dinner… And I’m like, ‘Whoa! Scissorhands.’ ”


Richards and Pallenberg relaxing at his home in London on December 8, 1969, after he returned from touring in the US. One of Richards’ roles over the years has been consoling the heartbroken girlfriends of Mick Jagger: “The tears that have been on this shoulder from Jerry Hall, from Marianne… They’ve ruined so many shirts. And they ask me what to do! How the hell do I know? I don’t fuck him!”


Richards says he used to mock Mick Jagger with nicknames like “Your Majesty” and “Brenda”, and called him “that bitch Brenda” in front of other bandmates.


Richards reveals that he doesn’t just attribute his survival to the high quality of drugs he has consumed, but says he was “very meticulous about how much I took. I’d never put more in to get a little higher. That’s where most people fuck up on drugs. It’s the greed involved that never really affected me.”


Richards also clears up the story about singer/actress Marianne Faithfull, when she was found naked except for a fur rug, in a compromising position with a Mars bar during a drugs raid on his country mansion. There were a couple of chocolate bars there, “because on acid (LSD) you suddenly get sugar lack and you’re munching away.”


Richards on stage with his side project the New Barbarians and bass player Stanley Clark in 1980. The guitarist’s memory is hazy, but he’s pretty sure he once went on an epic acid-fueled road trip with John Lennon. He thinks it lasted two or three days, but his recollections are “almost a total blank.”


While acting in the movie Performance, Pallenberg cheated on Richards with Jagger. To get revenge, he reveals that he slept with Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. “I was knocking Marianne, man,” he writes to his bandmate in his book. “While you’re missing it, I’m kissing it.”


“It was like Peyton Place back then,” writes Richards. “A lot of wife-swapping or girlfriend swapping and ‘oh, you had to have him, OK’.”


More bitching about Mick: “There is a weird possessiveness about him. Mick doesn’t want me to have any friends except him. I have a feeling that Mick thought I belonged to him. And I didn’t like that at all.”


And the final insult: describing Pallenberg’s fling with Jagger, he says: “She had no fun with the tiny todger.”


“But once [Jagger and I] were split up, I started going my way, which was the downhill road to dopesville, and Mick ascended to jet land…We’ve had our beefs but, hey, who doesn’t? You try and keep something together for 50 years.”


“Fame has killed more very talented guys than drugs,” writes Richards in his book. “Jimi Hendrix didn’t die of an overdose, he died of fame.”


Chuck Berry and Richards onstage during a celebration for Berry’s 60th birthday at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, October 17, 1986. Little-known Keef fact: he wrote a letter to Tony Blair in support of the Iraq war. It said: “Keep on rocking.” It’s said to be one of the former PM’s most treasured possessions.


During the band’s 1972 tour, they stayed at the Playboy Mansion. “Some of my most outrageous nights I can only believe actually happened because of corroborating evidence,” he reveals. “No wonder I’m famous for partying. You get these brief vignettes of what you did. ‘Oh, you don’t remember shooting the gun? Pull up the carpet, look at those holes, man’.”


During their stay at the Playboy Mansion, the band had a personal physician, who they called “Dr. Bill”, who kept them supplied with prescription drugs.


“Dr. Bill was there, however, primarily for the pussy,” writes Richards. “And being quite a young, good-looking doctor, he got plenty.”