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Keith Richards Turns 70

Keoth Richards
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Happy Birthday to Rolling Stones co-founder Keith Richards, who turns 70-years-old today (December 18th) Richards, a man who due to his previous penchant for hard street drugs wasn’t expected to see 30 — let alone 70 — has often infamously topped numerous “Most Likely To Die Lists” over the years. He and the rest of the Stones will kick of their 14 On Fire tour dates on February 21st in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Richards recently spoke to Australia’s Triple M radio’s Lee Simon and touched upon his favorite Stones tunes to play live, saying, “I always love to play ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ I still haven’t nailed him and every time I say, ‘tonight I’m gonna kill that mutha.’ He is always the beautiful challenge to play. ‘Tumbling Dice’ is another one that I just love to play. It is just a sweet thing to play and you are never short of just finding different ways of doing it. As long as the song lives for me I love them all. ‘Street Fighting Man’ is an incredible thing to play. ‘Beast Of Burden,’ when it comes down to it I love them all.”

He went on to admit that he often has felt as a conduit for the song — rather than being its composer: “I never really felt like I wrote them or created them. They come to you and you order it up a bit and then you put it on. I feel like a medium when it comes to songwriting as if I’m receiving, I sort it out and then I transmit.”

In October 2010, Richards released his critically acclaimed autobiography, called Life — which has now sold over one million copies.

Richards, along with Mick Jagger, has written some of the most enduring and important songs of the rock era, including “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Gimme Shelter,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Under My Thumb,” “Brown Sugar,” “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” “As Tears Go By,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Angie,” “Paint It, Black,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Waiting On A Friend,” “Wild Horses” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Start Me Up,” and literally hundreds of others.

Although many songs that were primarily written by Richards were sung by Jagger, over the years several of Richards vocal turns have become classics of their own, including “You’ve Got The Silver,” “Happy,” “Before They Make Me Run,” “All About You,” “Little T&A,” and “Thru And Thru,” which was featured on The Sopranos.

Apart from the Stones, Richards released two critically acclaimed studio sets with his side band the X-Pensive Winos, 1988′s Talk Is Cheap and 1992′s Main Offender, and is currently working on his third solo album.

In 2006 the Stones had to delay a portion of their European tour after Richards fell out of a tree while vacationing in Fiji, which resulted in two operations to relieve and drain the swelling from his brain.

In 2007, Richards, whose drug use is legendary in the rock world, again shocked readers when he told the New Musical Express that, following his father Burt’s 2002 death, he had snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine. After the story became front-page headlines, Richards recanted the story and said that he was joking. In his autobiography, Richards recanted again — admitting that he snorted a bit of his dad, but failed to mention any cocaine.

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