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The 6 bands that Keith Richards said he is not a fan

Keith Richards


The 6 bands that Keith Richards said he is not a fan

Besides being one of the most successful and influential guitarists of all time, Keith Richards is also known for always giving his real opinion on other artists, even if he doesn’t like them. Over the decades he talked about many other bands in interviews and Rock and Roll Garage selected the 6 groups that Richards already said he is not a big fan of. Those groups are loved by millions of fans of all ages and are some of the best-selling bands of all time.


The 6 bands that Keith Richards said he is not a fan

Led Zeppelin

When Led Zeppelin released their first studio album in 1969, The Rolling Stones already were on the road for 7 years. The Hard Rock band formed by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Robert Plant caused a real revolution in Rock and Roll music, adding more speed and heaviness to the sound.

Even though they are heavily inspired by the Blues, a music genre that Keith Richards also loves, he was never a big fan of the group.

In 2004, Keith Richards had a session of questions and answers with fans in his official website (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) and once he gave his opinion on Zeppelin. He praised the guitarist Jimmy Page but said that musically, the band never really took off.

“As a band I thought they never took off musically. At the same time Jimmy Page is one of the best guitar players ever known. And a hell of a powerhouse drummer (John Bonham), I think is kind of heavy-handed, myself. But that’s where the ‘Led’ comes in. But at the same time Plant is exuberant. Robert is exuberant.”

Keith Richards continued:

“Absolutely an LZ (Led Zeppelin), although I think he is very much in that English mood of Elvis, Roger Daltrey. There was the fringes and blah, blah, blah, and the microphone. (He also recalls) Rod Stewart and even Mick Jagger. (There were) there were scenes copy each other in a bit. But to me Led Zeppelin is Jimmy Page. You know, you wanna cut the story short: Jimmy Page, shy boy,” Keith Richards said.

In 2015, the Rolling Stones guitarist and lyricist said the same thing to Rolling Stone, praising Jimmy Page but saying that there was something a “little hollow” about the band. He also said that John Bonham sounded liked “thundering down the highway in an uncontrolled 18-wheeler.

Curiously, Page recorded with the Rolling Stones twice. In 2020 the song “Scarlet”, which was recorded by the band with Page in 1973 was released as part of their expanded reissue of the album “Goats Head Soup”. He had also played guitar with the band in the track “One Hit (To The Body” from their 1986 album “Dirty Work”.

The Who

The Who was formed in 1964, two years after The Rolling Stones and both bands were an important part of the so called British Invasion movement, that happened in the 60s when bands from the United Kingdom became famous worldwide. Even though they were contemporaries and The Who was the Stones’ opening acts many times, Keith Richards is not a big fan of the group.

Talking with Rolling Stone in 2015, he said that he always thought they were a crazy band and that the vocalist Roger Daltrey was “all flash”. “I always thought (Roger) Daltrey was all flash. And I love Pete Townshend, but I always thought the Who were a crazy band, anyway. You would say to (Keith) Moon, if you were in a session with him, ‘Just give me a swing,” and he (couldn’t).  He was an incredible drummer, but only with Pete Townshend. He could play to Pete like nobody else in the world. But if somebody threw him into a session with somebody else, it was a disaster. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you’ve got that one paintbrush, and you rock it.”

Keith Richards continued:

“I just was never really interested in that many English rock & roll bands actually, at all. I mean, I usually like guys like Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, and that was before I was even recording. But there was something (about) the Yeses and the Journeys and all them that just left me a bit cold,” Keith Richards said.

The singer Roger Daltrey didn’t had many good things to say about The Rolling Stones either. In a conversation with Coda Collection in 2021, he called them a ‘Mediocre Pub Band’, only praising Mick Jagger.

“You can not take away the fact that Mick Jagger is still the number one rock ‘n’ roll showman up front. But as a band, if you were outside a pub and you heard that music coming out of a pub some night, you’d think, ‘Well, that’s a mediocre pub band! No disrespect.”

He made the comment when talking about Paul McCartney’s statement at the time where he said that the Stones were a Blues cover band. McCartney apologized to Keith Richards later, saying that it was a phrase taken out of context.

Pete Townshend inducted The Rolling Stones into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Curiously, The Who’s guitarist and main songwriter Pete Townshend was the one who inducted The Rolling Stones into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame back in 1989. In his speech (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) he recalled how much he was influenced by the group. Also about the power of their live shows in the early days, comparing them with The Beatles.

“Keith Richards once told me that I think too much. The truth is that I think that generally I talk to much. But I don’t think first. Faced with injecting the Rolling Stones this evening I realized that thinking is not going to help me very much.”

“I can’t analyze what I feel about the Stones because I am a really absolute Stones fan, always have. They early shows were just shocking. Absolutely riveting, stunning, moving and they changed my life completely. The Beatles were fun, no doubt about that. I’m talking about they’re live shows. I’m demeaning them in any way.”

Pete Townshend continued:

“The Stones were really what made me wake up. On the Beatles shows there were a lot of screaming girls and at The Stones were the first to have a screaming boy. The sheer force of the Stones on stage and that perfectly balanced audience: 1000 girls and me (laughs). It kind of singled them out.”

“They are the only group that I’ve ever really been unashamed about idolizing. So much of what I am I got from you, The Stones and I had no idea most of it was already secondhand (Laughs). No more gags, the Stones are the greatest for me. They epitomize British Rock for me. Even though they are now my friends, I’m still a fan.”

Also during the speech, the musician made a lot of jokes. Including saying that The Stones ripped-off many Rhythm and Blues artists.

Black Sabbath and Metallica

Formed in Birmingham, England in 1968, Black Sabbath created a whole new genre of music, writing songs with doomy lyrics and heavy guitar riffs. Heavy Metal became bigger and bigger in the 70s and in 1981, in California, United States, Metallica was formed. They took the music genre to another level, bringing even more heaviness to the sound. That combination made them be the most successful Thrash Metal band of all time.

Even though those groups are an inspiration for millions of fans and artists worldwide, they are not Keith Richards’ cup of tea. Talking with New York Daily News in 2015, he said: “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes. I don’t know where Metallica’s inspiration comes from. But if it’s from me, then I f***** up.”

Metallica already was The Rolling Stones’ opening act

Curiously, Metallica was The Rolling Stones opening act back in 2015 at some shows in San Francisco. The band’s drummer and co-founder Lars Ulrich recalled that moment in a post on his Instagram in 2019.

“Up til that point, we had played with a lot of the bands that I had posters of up on my walls. Including Deep Purple, AC/DC, Iron Maiden. And the chance to put a check mark next to rocking with The Stones at home in SF seemed way fucking fun.”

“The idea of playing a couple shows supporting, going on stage early, nothing to promote, performing a shorter set, going to my own bed at home was definitely a vibe. (Also) was a cool way to ease ourselves into the making of the next record. An inspiring and memorable experience!” Lars Ulrich said.

Bee Gees

Back in 1969, long before The Bee Gees became known for their Disco hits, Keith Richards already didn’t had good things to say about the trio. In an interview with in that year Rolling Stone he was asked to say a few words about some artists and when asked about them. He said: “The Bee Gees? Well, they’re in their own little fantasy world. You only have to read what they talk about in interviews. How many suits they’ve got and that kind of crap. It’s all kid stuff, isn’t it?” Keith Richards said.

By that time, The Bee Gees had released only six studio albums that already had some of their early hits. The records were “The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs” (1965), “Spicks and Specks” (1966), “Bee Gees’ 1st” (1967), “Horizontal” (1968), “Idea” (1968) and “Odessa” (1969).

Grateful Dead

Even though The Grateful Dead were not one of the best selling-bands of all time, with an estimated amount of more than 35 million records sold worldwide, the band formed a massive cult-following especially in the United States due to their live concerts.

They were known for being a jam band when they were playing live and could play for hours and hours. That wasn’t something that Keith Richards didn’t like. Talking with Billboard in 2015, he talked about them. “The Grateful Dead is where everybody got it wrong. Just poodling about for hours and hours. Jerry Garcia, boring s***, man. Sorry, Jerry.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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