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Keith Richards' Greatest Riffs

Keith Richards' Greatest Riffs

by Justin Farrar  |  December 7, 2010

Keith Richards' Greatest Riffs

There can be no question about the best rock book of 2010: Keith Richards' tell-all autobiography Life. This thing is beyond juicy. Check out this nugget from the section on The Rolling Stones' 1972 tour:

In Chicago, there was an acute shortage of hotel rooms, so Hugh Hefner thought it would be a laugh to invite some of us to stay in the Playboy Mansion. I think he regretted it. Hugh Hefner, what a nut. Weve worked the lowest pimps to the highest, the highest being Hefner. He threw the place open for the Stones, and we were there for over a week. And its all plunges in the sauna, and the Bunnies, and basically its a whorehouse, which I really dont like. The memory, however, is very, very hazy. I know we did have some fun there. I know we ripped it up.

In celebration of Richards' literary achievements, I put together a massive sampling of the dude's greatest guitar riffs form both his Stones and solo albums. What makes Keef so unique when compared to the rest of the guitar-god pantheon is the fact that he's not a hot-licks shredder like Jimi Hendrix, Slowhand, Jeff Beck et al. Richards is a rhythm guitarist, and a masterful one. The dude has churned out a handful of riffs that are as quoted as the Bible at this point in history.

In addition to all the standards "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and so on my playlist includes a bunch of deep tracks and album cuts that further speak to the man's cut 'n' slash prowess. Some of them are just as good as the hits. "Citadel," from the psychedelic opus Their Satanic Majesties Request, is one of the band's best guitar songs, a rare stab at proto-metal power riffage. Then there's all the wonderful groove work Richards unleashed on early-'80s jams like "Slave" and "Undercover the Night," both of which showed off his love of reggae and disco-funk.


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