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Guitarist Keith Richards is one of the driving forces behind the Rolling Stones, the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band."
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Keith Richards joined the group, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which by 1963 became the Rolling Stones. The band made the British charts in 1964. By the late 1970s, he had developed a serious heroin habit and went to rehab. The Rolling Stones' next album, Some Girls (1978), was a huge success, selling 8 million copies. The band went on hiatus, but reunited for Steel Wheels in 1989.
Musician, singer and songwriter Keith Richards was born on December 18, 1943, in Dartford, England. Keith Richards is one of the driving forces behind the Rolling Stones, the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band." One early influence on the future rhythm guitarist was his grandfather, a musician and bandleader. Richards' mother, Doris, was also musical. Richards developed a passion for singing as a child, performing in choirs at school. Around the age of 10, he sang at the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 as part of a choir.
Richards' voice changed in his teens, and so did his interests. Around the age of 15, he got his first guitar as a present from his mother. Richards devoted much of his time to learning to play his instrument, teaching himself such songs as Elvis Presley's "That's All Right, Mama."
A poor student, Richards was expelled from Dartford Technical School for skipping school. The school's headmaster suggested Richards attend Sidcup Art School instead. But Richards continued his rebellious ways at Sidcup, spending more time working on his music than studying commercial art. While at art school, Richards met up with guitarist Dick Taylor, who was in a band with Mick Jagger. Richards knew Jagger when the boys were growing up in Dartford. Before long, Richards joined their group, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.
All three members shared a love of American blues, and Richards especially found a lot of inspiration in the work of American rock 'n' roll great Chuck Berry. He bought himself an electric guitar and learned how to play some of Berry's hits, including "Maybelline."
The band focused mostly on creating a blues sound, and landed a few gigs. Jagger and Richards went to check out Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, an emerging blues group that often played at the Ealing Club. That night, the band was joined by an amazing guest guitarist, Brian Jones, who was using the stage name "Elmo Lewis" at the time.
Richards and Jagger were impressed by Jones, and the trio became roommates and bandmates as Jones tried to put together his own group. Their friend Dick Taylor and pianist Ian Stewart were also part of the early line-up of the Rollin' Stones in 1962.
By the middle of the next year, the band had become the Rolling Stones and its line-up had changed, with Charlie Watts joining as its drummer. Taylor left the group, and was replaced by musician Bill Wyman. Stewart stayed on to serve as the Stones' road manager as well as a guest musician. Under the direction of their manager Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones were marketed as a group of rough-and-tumble types.
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