Back in the 60s, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were the leading bands who were admired for their passion for music. Despite their fictionalized rivalry, both bands had respect for the music each of them produced. And, George Harrison and Keith Richards were the guitarists for those big bands and they are the only ones with such a grand experience. The similarities between them are seen in a very clear way, as both of them refrained from saying anything bad about one another in the press and interviews.
Georgie and Keith were both infatuated with each other. Both were vital corks for their bands as, without them, they wouldn’t have existed. It’s no news that they are two of the most influential guitar players of all time. After George passed away in 2001, Keith had a chance to discuss him in a special edition of Rolling Stone titled ‘Remembering George’. He explained that they had a special bond. He said, “George and I kind of formed-without talking too much about it, although we did have a laugh here and there-a bond, in that we felt we were kind of fulfilling the same role within our respective bands,” Richards expressed. “It was a nod and a wink to say, ‘Well, they’d be nowhere without us.’”
“So George and I always used to have that thing of, ‘Well, how’s your end holding up?’ He was a very quiet and enigmatic guy in many ways. He had a very sly sense of humor, very quiet. But there was always this unspoken bond between us.”
The friendship they shared was a very special one. They first crossed paths at an early stage in Rolling Stone’s career, and they were just beginning. They had caught the attention of even The Beatles who were at the show in Richmond.
George Harrison once commented about Rolling Stone and more particularly Keith, He said, “I think he’s a great rhythm guitar player, Keith,”Harrison once said about The Rolling Stone. You know, really, I think he’s probably one of the best rock ‘n’ roll rhythm guitar players. I don’t think he’s very good at lead, but he’s played … this is the thing you see, what I feel about Keith and myself too, it’s not a comparison, but in some ways what we do is we make records, and the records have some good guitar parts on them, or have some good songs, or good lyrics or whatever, but basically you make records.”
They both had different approaches and styles in terms of playing but they shared the same mellow craft. The duo had a massive spark between them and Harrison believed only a few people could compete with Keith in terms of rhythm playing. In terms of Richard’s playing style, he said, ”
“He’s not, to me, like a guitar player who that’s all he does is go out and play guitar. He writes songs, and he makes records and within that — you know, like, you can’t beat a riff to ‘Satisfaction,’ you know what I mean? It’s the simple little things like that, and I think he’s — you know, I like Keith enormously.”
The pair remained friends until George’s death in 2001. It was an unfortunate event for everyone and was a sad time for the rock and roll fandom. Richards talked about his love for George’s guitar-playing style in ‘Remembering George’. George also had a lot to say in regard to Keith. In an interview with MTC in 1988, he commented on how he liked Richards a lot. He said, “I haven’t seen Keith in years, He’s lived, I presume, in Jamaica and New York, I haven’t seen him for a long time. Yeah, I like Keith a lot. We occasionally send T-shirts to each other.”
The deep bond between Keith and Harrison is still cultivated as a great sign of attachment even today. Integrated by their love of craft, both of them had mutual respect for each other and loved to see the performance. George even said that there was no comparison between him and Keith. The fellowship they shared was truly wonderful as it showcased the mutual respect and understanding they had for each other.