Keith Richards Interview On Fresh Air. N.P.R.

 The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards Looks Back At ‘Life’

Keith Richards
Enlarge Deborah FeingoldKeith Richards is ranked 10th on  Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Deborah FeingoldKeith Richards is ranked 10th on  Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

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October 25, 2010

With his songwriting partner Mick Jagger, Keith Richards created some of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll songs of the 20th century. But the opening line of one of The Rolling Stones’ most famous hits — “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” — wasn’t a collaboration. The riff came to Richards during a dream.

In an interview on Fresh Air, Richards recounts how he woke up just long enough to record the famous opening riff of “Satisfaction” on a cassette player he’d placed next to his bed.

“I go to bed as usual with my guitar, and I wake up the next morning, and I see that the tape is run to the very end,” Richards tells Terry Gross. “And I think, ‘Well, I didn’t do anything. Maybe I hit a button when I was asleep.’ So I put it back to the beginning and pushed play and there, in some sort of ghostly version, is [the opening lines to ‘Satisfaction’]. It was a whole verse of it. And after that, there’s 40 minutes of me snoring. But there’s the song in its embryo, and I actually dreamt the damned thing.”

The 66-year-old lead guitarist has written Life, a memoir about his early musical influences, his time on the road with The Rolling Stones, his run-ins with the law and his occasionally contentious relationship with Jagger, the Stones’ lead vocalist.

Life by Keith Richards
Little, Brown and Company 

“You think, in a 50-year relationship doing this stuff, that there’s not going to be some conflict, some disagreements? Of course there’s going to be,” Richards says. “…[Jagger] got used to holding the reins, and that was a bit of a shock to me at the time. But I got to live with it. And anyway, actually, what happened is we ended up sharing the reins again. But at the time, yeah, that did shock me, or disappointed me. Shock, I’m beyond.”

Recently, Richards has made guest appearances on albums released by Willie Nelson and Lee “Scratch” Perry, among others, and recorded several tracks with Jack White. His albums with The Rolling Stones have sold an estimated 200 million copies worldwide, but he says the band has no plans to slow down.

“Quite honestly, I think the band wants to play. The boys want to play together, and hopefully we can get on the ups here,” he says. “We’re thinking ahead. I know, obviously, because of the book, and there’s a lot of retro going on and stuff. But as far as I’m concerned, get over it. Get on ahead. We want to make some records, and we want to do some good shows, and we believe that we have it in us to do that.”

Richards was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2008, The Rolling Stones was ranked No. 4 in Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. A new collection of Richards’ solo studio records, entitled Vintage Vinos, will be released on Nov. 2.

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