Keith Richards’ favorite guitarist is…
Well, it’s not really that simple. The Rolling Stone’s co-founder hasn’t really talked about his favorite guitarist in a linear way like others. While he hasn’t talked about it, Keith did mention his inspiration and the admiration he holds for that person.
Keith Richards, himself is a great guitarist and is on the list of inspiration for so many people all over the globe. This legendary rocker is also on the list of various other rockstars but for Richards, Chuck Berry is the one.
“When I started, all I wanted to do was play like Chuck. I thought if I could do that, I’d be the happiest man in the world,” that’s what Richards said. Chuck Berry is a guitarist who inspired him to take on the instrument.
Also, when he was in an interview with Rolling Stone, he commented on Chuck Berry being his greatest inspiration, he said, “When I saw Chuck Berry in Jazz on a Summer’s Day as a teenager, what struck me was how he was playing against the grain with a bunch of jazz guys.”
“They were brilliant — guys like Jo Jones on drums and Jack Teagarden on trombone — but they had that jazz attitude cats put on sometimes: ‘Ooh… this rock and roll…’ With ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ Chuck took them all by storm and played against their animosity. To me, that’s blues. That’s the attitude and the guts it takes. That’s what I wanted to be.”
He is a person of sheer will. He is also a very hard man to impress but the love he has for Chuck Berry is very admirable. With him revealing how Chuck has changed his life and his style of play, he has made Keith what he is today.
In 1986, the duo also teamed up for the film Hail! Hail! Rock’ n’ Roll and Richards went on to spend a few weeks living in Berry’s home. He called it a “childhood dream come true.”
He also said, “Chuck is the granddaddy of us all. Even if you’re a rock guitarist who wouldn’t name him as your main influence, your main influence is probably still influenced by Chuck Berry,” Keith mentioned,
“He is rock & roll in its pure essence.”
Keith has also talked about other guitarists such as Muddy Waters, B.B King, and Elmore James. In another interview, Richards also showed his admiration for George Harrison. He said, “The thing is, you’ve got your Jimi Hendrix, you’ve got your Eric Clapton, and then you’ve got guys who can play with bands, George was a band and a team player.”
He went on to highlight the importance of playing with a band. It’s something Keith has been saying all this career that being a guitarist is about being an essential part of a band.
Though he has named various guitarists as the best over the course of a very long time, his list is always topped by Chuck Berry. Because without him, The Rolling Stones wouldn’t have been there. He has held Chuck at the very top and has nothing but admiration for him.