Rolling Stones rocker, Keith Richards, is the embodiment of the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. There’s little he hasn’t done in his lifetime. Today, we celebrate the rocker’s 77th birthday with a few timeless memories.
In his book “Life,” Richards detailed what it’s like to grow up with the Rolling Stones.
A Few Experiences with Fire
In 1972, he and Bobby Keys were staying in the Chicago Playboy Mansion.
While doped up, the two accidentally set the bathroom on fire. Or, as he claims, “Well, we didn’t, the dope did. Not our fault.”
Then, waiters rushed in with buckets of water to put out the bathroom fire. “There was a thumping on the door, waiters and guys in black suits bringing buckets of water. They get the door open and we’re sitting on the floor, our pupils very pinned. I said, ‘We could have done that ourselves. How dare you burst in on our private affair?'”
Besides Playboy fires, the rocker really had a way with fire.
In the ’70s, he was spending the night with Lil Wergilis when fire burst out in the bathroom. Since the two were a bit, preoccupied, the only option was to jump out of the window nearly naked right as the flames burst into the bedroom.
“And we’re exposed—people are gathered, freaking out, trying to put the fire out—and this is a big story as soon as the press gets here.”
While his other experiences with fire were a little tamer, one almost cost him his life.
Richards lived life on the edge. However, when he almost died in front of 5,000 fans in 1965 while playing “The Last Time,” he took his edgy lifestyle to a new level. When a fire shot out of his microphone stand and blasted him backward, leaving him unconscious, fans and bandmates thought he was dead.
“I literally saw Keith fly into the air backward … thought he was dead. I was horrified. We all were,” Mick Martin said.
That didn’t stop him from being onstage the next day.
Keith Richards Snorted His Own Dad’s Ashes
Something that Keith Richards is known for is his decision to snort his own dad’s ashes in 2002, according to NME. After realizing just how controversial his action was, he went back on it over the years saying it wasn’t true.
Eventually, he just admitted the truth.
“I bought this little oak sapling, my idea being that he was gonna fertilize the tree, but when I pulled the top off of the box, wafts of Dad landed on the table. And my dad knows I’d always liked my cocaine, a snort here and there. So I just [mimes snorting cocaine off his finger] and had a line of dad,” Richards told GQ.
A Few Confrontations with the Police
When you’re the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, sometimes people let things go. Sometimes those people may even be the enforcers of the law. I guess when you’re the singer, songwriter, and secondary singer of one of the most popular bands of the ’60s and ’70s, you garner a little extra power.
In 1975, he and Ronnie Wood, as well as other friends, were pulled over in a car that was quite literally filled with drugs.
“Everything was filled with dope. In the car doors themselves, all you had to do was pop the panels, and there were plastic bags of coke and grass, peyote and mescaline. Oh my god, how are we going to get out of this?” They were arrested.”
After calling in favors and doing photo ops with the judge, it was like it never happened. The police didn’t find any of the drugs stashed in the panels, so they only paid for reckless driving. And, of course, the Arkansas governor would later pardon them for that as well.
In 1976, the rocker fell asleep at the wheel with his 7-year-old son, Marlon, who was in the backseat. He was driving back from a gig when he hit a tree.
“I mean, nobody’s perfect. Until five or six years ago, there was still my bloody handprint on the back seat,” Richards wrote in “Life.”
However, the cops did find acid in his jacket. So he proved he really wasn’t perfect and he was arrested.
In 1967, Keith Richards’ Redlands home was raided for drugs. It was one of the most infamous drug raids of the ’60s. The cops found a bit of marijuana and some heroin tabs on Robert and some amphetamine on Mick.
However, even the drugs couldn’t distract from the fact that apparently, the cops interrupted something far more personal. Rumor has it that the police interrupted an orgy involving some chocolate.
“How the Mars bar got into the story, I don’t know. It shows you what’s in people’s minds,” Richard said.
Rockers Don’t Go to Bed
With his ability to rock and be high most of the time, it’s no surprise that Richards probably didn’t always have the best sleep.
However, one story from “Life” suggested that he stayed awake for a week to record “Before They Make Me Run.”
“I fell asleep standing up, eventually.… was just putting another cassette back on the shelf, and I was feeling great, and I turned ’round and fell asleep. I fell against the edge of the speaker. Woke up in a pool of blood, wondering, Is that claret?” Richards told Rolling Stone.
Keith Richards Has a Way with People
Even when Keith Richards was a young boy, he was living that rocker lifestyle. He spent a few years as a Boy Scout, however that quickly came to an end when he flirted his way to a couple of bottles of whiskey. It would all end in a fight with the “Beaver Patrol.”
With an obviously care-free lifestyle, it was clear he had to have ticked off a few people along the way. Unfortunately, one of them was Chuck Berry, according to iHeart Radio. After being in his dressing room and touching his guitar, Keith was quickly told to never touch his guitar. He was then punched in the face.
Despite the craziness along the way, Richards was a part of one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Also, despite defying death a handful of times and doing decades and decade’s worth of drugs, he still gets to celebrate his 77th birthday.
Not to mention Richards is still very much involved in music. From releasing music to covers to even performing live.
He most recently released “Hate It When You Leave” as a solo artist. As a part of the Rolling Stones, the achievement list is long. The group won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. They were also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fam as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.