Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones Recalls the First Time He Met Merle Haggard

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for LOVE ROCKS NYC/God's Love We Deliver )

It wouldn’t be unfair or unreasonable to call The Rolling Stones the pinnacle of music. They’re everywhere. Everyone knows at least one Stones song. Rolling Stones merch can be found in what feels like every store. Even those who aren’t Rolling Stones fans can’t deny instantly recognizing that iconic lips and tongue logo. The band formed in the early sixties and are still going strong.

But even those unquestionably on the Mount Rushmore of music are still fans at heart. It was their deep love for music, after all, that carried them to such great heights in their career. And in a recent story posted to his Instagram account, legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards recounted the first time he met one of his greatest idols, Merle Haggard.

“I turn around to my right and there’s this other cat sitting next to me,” Richards begins. “He’s wearing one of those straw Stetson (hats) and a grizzled beard, and he looks at me and he gives me a grin and I give him a grin. And I get two more bars through the song and suddenly, I realize. It’s Merle Haggard. And I almost lost it, man. I mean, I’m sitting next to one of the greats. He turns around and gives me a nod and a wink and I carried on, I managed to get through the song.”

Keith Richards to Appear in Rolling Stones 60th Anniversary Series

Though he would probably say he’s no Merle Haggard, Keith Richards has had a remarkable life and an unforgettable career in music. Because of that success, Keith Richards and his Rolling Stones bandmates will appear in a four-part series celebrating the 60th anniversary of the band.

The series, entitled My Life As a Rolling Stone, will premiere on BBC this summer and include four hour-long films illustrating the story of the Rolling Stones, told by the band members themselves, as well as fellow musicians. Celebrated artists such as PP Arnold, Slash, Sir Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, and Steven Tyler will each provide commentary throughout the films.

Alicia Webb, CEO of Mercury Studios, called the series “extraordinary” while expressing her excitement for the premiere. “Every now and again, as filmmakers we get to work on extraordinary projects,” Webb said. “This is one of those moments. We know their music, their swagger, their unrivalled stage presence. Through these beautiful, intimate films you’ll see the band in all their glory as we explore what makes them truly great.”

“It’s been an honour to work with The Rolling Stones,” Webb continued. “To shine a light on their incredible lives and careers. We can’t wait for audiences around the world to see them.”