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The year Rock music was born according to Keith Richards

Keith Richards


The year Rock music was born according to Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones guitarist and songwriter Keith Richards is certainly one of the most important Rock and Roll artists of all time. Alongside Mick Jagger, he wrote most of the classic Stones tracks that made the band one of the best-selling of all time and influenced countless generations of musicians worldwide. He was a crucial part not only of the musical revolution that happened in the 60s, since the music inspired the evolution of many other things in several countries around the world.


For people who weren’t born before the 50s, it’s impossible to imagine how the world were before Rock and Roll existed. There was a lot of many different music genres but obviously, none of them had the energy, the speed and the power of Rock. In an interesting conversation with Rolling Stone magazine in 1987, Keith Richards explained how the world was before Rock and how everything changed after the music genre appeared.

The year Rock music was born according to Keith Richards

According to the Stones member, Rock and Roll started in 1956, since he chose that date as “the year 1”. That was the year when Elvis Presley appeared on national television and released songs like Hound Dog. It was also the year Little Richard released “Long Tall Sally” and Chuck Berry gave the world “Roll Over Beethoven”. The list of incredible artists who released incredible songs in 1956 is really long, so we can see why Richards picked 1956 as the year Rock and Roll was born.

Those songs were really something brand new and there was nothing like them before. So it was really a shock for the listeners at the time. It is something that Richards believes no one who was born after Rock music already exists can measure.

“I mean, when I was fifteen, rock & roll was a brand-new thing. We were very conscious that we were in, like, a new era. Totally. It was almost like A.D. and B.C., and 1956 was year 1, you know? The world was black-and-white, and then suddenly it went into living color. Suddenly there was a reason to be around, besides just knowing you were gonna have to work and draggin’ your ass to school every day.”

He continued:

“Suddenly everything went zoom – glorious Technicolor. Kids now at that age, they’ve never known a world without rock & roll. And I did, you know? That’s the difference. I mean, it was an international explosion, man. Just a few little goddamn records by some guys in Memphis and Macon and places like that. But they really did have an effect. It’s absolutely amazing.”

“It changed the world. It’s reshaped the way people think. I mean, goddamnit, now you’ve got rock & roll concerts in Moscow, you know what I mean? ‘Cause you can’t stop that shit. You can stop anything else. You can build a wall to stop people, but eventually, the music, it’ll cross that wall. That’s the beautiful thing about music – there’s no defense against it,” Keith Richards said.

The Rolling Stones guitarist was born in 1943, so he was only 13 when Rock and Roll music was born, in his opinion. It took 8 years for his band to appear and it’s been going for more than six decades.

During his career he always praised the artists who inspired him in the early days, especially the Blues and Rock and Roll artists from the 50s. He even produced the documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, which shows two concerts that celebrated the 60th anniversary of Chuck Berry in 1986.

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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