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Keith Richard 101

20 things you need to know about this rock n roll legend, from his newly released autobiography.

entertainment Updated: Oct 25, 2010 14:57 IST
Hindustan Times

20 things you need to know about this rock n roll legend, from his newly released autobiography

1 On the night of the infamous 1967 Redlands drug bust, Keef was so far gone on LSD that when the police arrived at his Sussex country mansion, he mistook them for uniformed dwarves, welcoming them in with open arms.

2 He has tight veins. So tight, in fact, that he and his doctors struggle to find them; when he took heroin, he had to inject it into his muscles, and sometimes the flesh of his bum. He describes this practice in the book as “interesting” but “not politically correct”.

3 He once nearly burned down the Playboy Mansion. At a party in the 1970s, he and sax player Bobby Keys accidentally set fire to a bathroom while playing “smorgasbord” with their doctor's drugs.

4 He’s a fan of the corny James Bond pun. Take this corker, for example, describing the night Brian Jones was taken to hospital after throwing a punch at then-girlfriend Anita Pallenberg and smashing his fist into a metal window frame: “He was never good at connecting with Anita.” Genius.

5 He used to live in a Nazi mansion. In 1971, Keith moved with Pallenberg and their first son Marlon to a French villa named Nellcote. During the German occupation of France in the second world war, Nellcote was the local Gestapo headquarters, and there were still swastikas on the radiators when Keef arrived. It was there that the Stones recorded their 10th studio album, Exile on Main Street.

6 Jumping Jack Flash was actually Keef's gardener at Redlands, Jack Dyer. The inspiration for the song came when the stomping of Jack’s rubber boots woke Jagger from a hazy drug-induced sleep. The front man then appended the word “Flash” to the nickname Jumping Jack, the two riffed on the gardener’s rural childhood, and a hit was born.

7 In 1967, after the Redlands drugs bust, Keef was convinced his phone calls were being monitored. When he left for Morocco he sent a postcard to his mum saying: “Sorry I didn’t phone before I left, my telephones aren’t safe to talk on.”

8 His Belgian chauffeur developed a severe perambulatory impediment after ratting the band out to the News
of the World tabloid newspaper in the build-up to the Redlands raid. In Keef's words: “As I heard it, he never walked the same again.”

9 The dark blue Bentley he drove to Morocco in after the bust was named Blue Lena, after US singer, actor and civil rights activist Lena Horne. Richards even sent her a picture of it. The question of whether or not she replied goes sadly unanswered.

10 The car, an S3 Continental Flying Spur, was one of just 86 ever made. It had to be specially fitted with a secret compartment for Richards to stash his drugs in.

11 When he and Pallenberg first checked into a hotel together they used the aliases Count and Countess Zigenpuss, from the German Ziegenfuss, meaning goat’s foot. They later used the names Count and Countess Castiglione.

12 He told Tony Blair to “keep on rockin” in a letter in support of the Iraq war, at least according to a claim in Prospect, which neither Blair nor Keef's people have denied.

13 He likes to hug. He writes that, often, he would go to bed with women just for a little hug and kiss, and nothing else, just to have someone to keep him warm for the night.

14 He was a pirate king long before Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. He calls the plane the band hired for their 1972 tour “a pirate nation”, moving under its own flag: the lapping tongue.

15 He told Scottish film director Donald Cammell to take “the gentleman’s way out” three years before Cammell killed himself in 1996.

16 An affair that, by the way, he is, like, totally over. The book contains one particularly magnanimous section in which he directly addresses his estranged band mate, explaining: “But, you know, while you were doing that, I was knocking Marianne [Faithfull], man. While you were missing it, I was kissing it.”

17 He continues in a similarly forgiving fashion, describing Pallenberg’s encounter with Jagger in detached and forgiving terms: “She had no fun with the tiny todger.” He follows this up with a sentence containing, among others, the words “balls”, “massive”, “fill” and “hole”, in a combination that no one ever needed to read.

18 He is a green-eyed monster. At least according to Jagger’s ex-wife Jerry Hall. She told chatshow host Graham Norton: “Mick is very well endowed. I should know — I was with him for 23 years. Keith is just jealous.”

19 He never makes the first move with a woman. “I just don’t know how to do it,” he writes. “I’m tongue-tied.” Instead, he claims, his seductive technique was to create an aura of “insufferable tension” and wait for the woman to give in.

20 In fact, on the inside he’s a knight in shining armour. He claims he couldn’t make a move on Pallenberg when she was still with Jones because of “the Sir Galahad inside”. His gallant, knightly nature comes out clearly in such romantic lines as “If I were Brian, I would have been a little bit sweeter and kept the bitch.”

Guardian News Service

First Published: Oct 22, 2010 18:57 IST