“You have the sun, the moon, the air you breathe, and the Rolling Stones,” Keith Richards once remarked. And everyone else could go into the water, in his opinion. Richards has never been one to wax poetic about his contemporaries, except for a handful of his blues idols, opting instead to maintain the rock ‘n’ roll persona of a renegade among a band of friends.
He has attacked Prince, David Bowie, The Band, and Elton John, calling him “an old bitch” whose “writing is limited to songs about dead blondes,” in the process. Even if he has occasionally responded with a “monkey with arthritis,” it’s unlikely that he gives a damn about what others think of him.
On certain recordings, though, Richards has been largely silent. The roots and blues music that initially inspired him to pick up a guitar have continued to be his major sources of inspiration. In the new Under the Influence documentary, Richards says, “What I love about reggae is that it’s all so natural; there’s none of this forced stuff that I was getting tired of in rock music.”
Then he continues to elaborate: “Rock ‘n’ roll I never get tired of, but ‘rock’ is a white man’s version, and they turn it into a march, that’s [the modern] version of rock. Excuse me, I prefer the roll.”
This has prevented Richards from giving many great records any deserved attention. In light of this, we’ve included a few timeless tracks below that Richards has tried to condense.
Five rock albums hated by Keith Richards:
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Richards has had many opinions about The Beatles over the years, most of which have to do with the belief that they quickly declined in quality. He said, “I think The Beatles has passed their performing peak even before they were famous. Musically, The Beatles had a lovely sound and great songs.”
He told the Radio Times, “But the live thing? They were never quite there.” But once, he also believed the music had never existed.
Additionally, he criticized Sgt. Peppers in the same way. “I think they got carried away. Why not? If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away—you forget what it is you wanted to do. You’re starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish.”
Their Satanic Majesties Request – The Rolling Stones
Even though Richards disliked Sgt. Peppers, the album established a psychedelic precedent that he regrettably adopted. “Oh, if you can make a load of sh*t, so can we” he said, alluding to the impersonation of Satanic Majesties. “None of us wanted to make [Satanic Majesties], but it was time for another Stones album, and Sgt. Pepper’s was coming out, so we thought basically we were doing a put-on“, the guitarist stated later in his biography.
He and his bandmates have stated that they were just so “strung out” during that time from nonstop touring and recording that they thought it would be simplest to ride the back of a bandwagon.
The tracks “2000 Light Years from Home,” “Citadel,” and “She’s a Rainbow” don’t bother Richards, but in the end, he says the album “was a load of crap.” Actually, the band has only performed live versions of two of the album’s tracks: “She’s a Rainbow” and “2000 Light Years from Home.”
She’s the Boss – Mick Jagger
A breach developed between the Stones following the letdown of the awful Dirty Work, and Jagger and Richards made the decision to put everything on hold. Thus, Jagger made his solo debut in 1985.
Richards said, “Mick’s album was called She’s the Boss, which said it all. I’ve never listened to the entire thing all the way through. Who has? It’s like Mein Kampf. Everybody had a copy, but nobody listened to it.”
In a rather strange parallel, he ended by disclosing the company he maintains.
The Rolling Stones had reconciled by 2002, but Richards remained unimpressed with Jagger’s fourth solo album, Goddess in the Doorway. To Guitar World, he said “What, Dog Shit in the Doorway? I listened to three tracks and gave up on it. Sometimes, you wonder. With the Stones, he’s great. It’s best to keep him on a short leash.”
Aside from the CDs, he has even made fun of his frontman’s seemingly little spam javelin, mentioning, “Marianne Faithfull had no fun with his tiny todger. I know he’s got an enormous pair of balls- but it doesn’t quite fill the gap.”
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols
Regarding the Sex Pistols, Richards once commented, “They look great. That’s all that matters.” Seemingly a compliment, there’s also a suggestion that he’s suggesting they’re just rock ‘n’ roll in rags when you dig into their rivalry. Because he made a scathing remark about their music. “There’s more to it than saying ‘shit’ on TV or learning to spit by practising in the mirror.”
Mick Jagger fought with him. Jagger was prepared to fight the Sex Pistols for the sake of punk, even though the movement wasn’t only about hate and violence. About their encounters, the swaying frontman chastised “They’ve stopped short at violence. I think even Sid Vicious is basically a nice guy, but Johnny Rotten keeps talking bad about me. He’ll get his rotten teeth kicked in one day.”
Willy and the Poor Boys – Credence Clearwater Revival
Richards was in the Rolling Stone headquarters in November 1969 when the new record Credence Clearwater Revival came on loudspeakers. He was asked for his thoughts, and he should never have to ask again. He said, “Yeah, I’m into a very weird thing with that band. When I first heard them, I was really knocked out, but I became bored with them very quickly. After a few times, it started to annoy me.”
He added, “They’re so basic and simple that maybe it’s a little too much.” This contributed, in some ways, to the horrible “Boy Scouts of Rock” moniker that the band was starting to suffer with at the time. Ultimately, during the identical Rolling Stone interview, Richards established the explosive principles of his own group, declaring: “It’s always been the Stones’ thing to get up on stage and kick the crap out of everything. We had three years of that before we made it, and we were only just getting it together when we became famous. We still had plenty to do on stage, and I think we still have. That’s why the tour should be such a groove for us.”