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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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The Rolling Stones made the British charts in 1964 with a cover version of Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now." That same year, Richards and the rest of the group toured the United States and had their first U.S. hit with "That Girl Belongs to Yesterday." More hits soon followed, including the chart-topping "Satisfaction" and "Paint It Black." At first, the band mostly recorded cover versions of other people's songs,
but Richards and Jagger soon emerged as a powerful songwriting duo.
Many of the band members seemed to live up to their image as wild rockers, enjoying a hard-partying lifestyle. Richards' home in the English countryside was raided by police on February 12, 1967. In addition to Richards, Mick Jagger, Jagger's girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, and several others were in the home at the time. During their search, police officers found drug paraphernalia and some questionable substances. Both Jagger and Richards were tried and convicted for drug-related offenses, but their sentences were dropped on appeal. Richards would face several more drug-related arrests in the coming years.
After the departure of Brian Jones from the group in 1969, the Rolling Stones took on an even more rock-driven sound. Richards became a father for the first time in December of that that year, when girlfriend Anita Pallenberg gave birth to their son Marlon. The couple later welcomed a second child, a daughter named Dandelion (later known as Angela), in 1972. Their third child, a son named Tara, died several weeks after his birth in 1976.
By the late 1970s, Richards had developed a serious heroin habit. In 1977 he was busted with a large amount of the drug as well as some cocaine in Toronto, Canada. Facing a life sentence, Richards was allowed to travel to the United States to seek treatment for his addiction. The charge against him was reduced.
Despite his struggles, Richards was able to get back to making music. The Rolling Stones' next album, Some Girls (1978), was a huge success, selling 8 million copies. Still, Richards battled with substance abuse and tensions within the band began to bubble over, especially between Richards and Jagger. They bickered while making albums and touring, going for long periods without speaking.
The future of the Rolling Stones seemed unclear, but Richards was definitely headed in a new direction in his personal life. In 1983, on his 40th birthday, Richards married model Patti Hansen. The couple would later have two daughters together, Theodora and Alexandra.
The Rolling Stones were mostly on hiatus for the mid-to-late 1980s as Jagger focused on his solo efforts. Working on his own, Richards released his first solo album, Talk Is Cheap (1988), which earned mostly positive reviews. His 1992 follow-up Main Offender failed to attract much attention.
Reuniting for Steel Wheels (1989), Richards and Jagger wrote most of the album together. Their recording was heralded by some as the bands' comeback. Their next studio recording, Voodoo Lounge (1994), was a solid seller as well.
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