The musician Keith Richards called “one of the best songwriters ever”

News The musician Keith Richards called “one of the best songwriters ever”

Keith Richards unquestionably stands as a titan in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll. As the guitarist for The Rolling Stones, he has earnestly strived to epitomise the essence of what makes the genre captivating. Yet, amid his efforts, his remarkable skill as a songwriter is frequently overshadowed.

In fact, as a songwriter, Richards possesses a keen sense of dynamic instrumentation and precise musicality, honed not through a quest for artistic innovation but rather through honing what he perceives as the enduring magic of music itself.

While Richards is skilled at the art of crafting catchy hooks, he’s also a professional when it comes to rawness, authenticity, and emotional depth. Much like how he appears in interviews, his lyricism often infuses vivid imagery with a wry sense of humour. Songs like ‘Satisfaction’, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, and ‘Gimme Shelter’ are prime examples of his knack for creating sounds that have become synonymous with the Stones’ sound.

Regarding other influential songwriters, Richards doesn’t hold back. While he’d probably be the first advocate for the idea that rock ‘n’ roll is fuelled by physical passion, he’d also readily acknowledge the importance of engaging the mind in the process. An album that compels him to engage in deeper thought is Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, who he deemed “one of the best songwriters ever”.

He added: “[He’s] really intelligent and another one that made me go, ‘Why didn’t I write a song about my typewriter?’ You can hear this is a guy that thinks a lot and was troubled, but doesn’t mind laying it out on the line.”

In the realm of Motown’s greatest songwriters, Richards’ favourites are probably not that difficult to guess. “For me, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles epitomise Motown,” he explained. Discussing Going to a Go-Go, he added, “You could hear Smokey’s influence going on through Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Such a great songwriter. I mean, ‘The Tracks Of My Tears’ … you might as well just go and throw yourself in the toilet [laughs].”

Hence, his admiration for great songwriters speaks volumes about his own prowess as both a musician and lyricist. His influences provide a vivid portrayal of his musical odyssey, underscoring the fact that beneath the veneer of rock stardom, Richards remains a dedicated fan, uncomplicated and, most importantly, sincere.

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