1. He Fell Out Of A Tree And Wound Up With A Blood Clot
In 2006, after swimming with bandmate Ronnie Wood off a private island in Fiji, Keith climbed a tree and perched himself in it, seven feet off the ground. When he jumped off, he knocked his head on the trunk. Days later, he had a blinding headache and suffered two seizures. The rocker had to be flown four hours to New Zealand where a neurosurgeon operated on him to fix a blood clot in his brain. Keith was back on stage six weeks later.
2. He Refused To Take The Stage Until He Had Shepherd’s Pie
During the Stones’ 1989 Steel Wheels Tour, Keith heard there was a shepherd’s pie at the venue and he was very excited to eat it. However, he arrived late and others took some of the food. Upset, he refused to go on stage until another pie was made for him. Keith wrote how people learned from the incident saying, “It’s now famous, my rule on the road. Nobody touches the shepherd’s pie til I’ve been in there. Don’t bust my crust, baby.”
3. He Was Kicked Out Of The Boy Scouts
During his teenage years, Keith was actually a Boy Scout, but he was kicked out for his bad behavior. He smuggled whiskey into events, fought with other scouts and punched out a recruit. He broke a bone in his hand during one fight when he tried to hit a guy but instead hit a tent pole.
4. He Was Poisoned
In the 70s, Keith smoked some dope that, unbeknownst to him, was laced with the poison strychnine. He told New Music Express, “I was totally comatose but I was totally awake. I could listen to everyone, and they were like, ‘He’s dead, he’s dead!’ waving their fingers and pushing me about, and I was thinking, ‘I’m not dead!’”
5. He Almost Set The Playboy Mansion On Fire
Before the Playboy Mansion was in LA, it was in Chicago, and when the Stones played in the city in 1972, Keith was invited to Hugh Hefner’s fabled home. While there, Richards did some drugs in a bathroom and somehow started a fire. It got smoky and soon after, there were men bringing buckets of water to douse whatever Keith set ablaze. Thankfully, they were able to save the house.
6. He Went Nine Days Without Sleeping
While working on 1978’s Some Girls, Keith spent five days straight in the studio without sleeping. It’s an impressive feat but not even close to his longest period of no sleep. That was nine days long and it ended poorly. Richards eventually fell asleep standing up and woke up in a pool of blood, having hit his head as his body collapsed in exhaustion.
7. Books Almost Killed Him
In the late 90s, Keith was at his home library, standing on a chair to reach for a book about Leonardo da Vinci’s study of anatomy when he slipped. As he fell, he brought down large books that dropped on top of him, breaking three of his ribs. The injury caused the band to postpone a tour. Keith said of the incident, “It was one of those moments where you have to make a decision: take it in the ribs or take a shot in the temple on the desk. All part of life’s rich pageant.”
8. He Was Punched In The Face By Chuck Berry
Keith learned the hard way never to touch Chuck Berry’s guitar. Richards was hanging out in the legendary rocker’s dressing room and Chuck left. Keith saw Berry’s guitar and decided to pick it up and strum a chord. Chuck returned screaming that nobody touches his guitar, then he punched Keith in the face.
9. He Jumped Out Of A Window From A Burning House
While renting a house in LA in the late 70s, Richards fell asleep after accidentally setting fire to a room in the home. It spread and his girlfriend at the time woke him and told him the house was on fire. They jumped out of a window with Keith wearing just a t-shirt and his girlfriend with nothing on. A friend picked them up and brought them to safety. The next day, they returned to the house, or what was left of it, and found a sign in the blackened front yard grass that read, “Thanks a lot, Keith.”
10. He Snorted His Dad’s Ashes
Keith lost his father in 2002 and found an interesting way to deal with his passing – by snorting him. In 2007, Richards confessed that after his dad was cremated, he took some of the ashes, mixed them with cocaine and snorted the concoction. He told New Music Express, “My dad wouldn’t have cared, he didn’t give a s**t.”
Happy birthday Keith, here’s to many more years and many more stories.