The Feud Between Keith Richards And Mick Jagger That Almost Ended The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones is no doubt one of the best-selling music artists of all the time with having sold nearly 240 million records and being listed as the Greatest Artists Of All The Time by numerous sources. Making famous classics which were recognized around the world such as ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’ ‘Angie,’ ‘Paint It, Black,’ and ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ the band still has a wide audience as of today and hasn’t stopped making music since their formation.

Being childhood friends and classmates back in the 1950s, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger have noticed their shared interests in terms of their music likes and started a musical partnership. After playing together on several occasions, the band played their first show under the name of ‘the Rollin’ Stones’ on 12 July 1962 in London and rise to fame shortly after their appearances on the stage.

Despite their long-term friendship, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger had also serious problems during their relationship. As stated in a New York Post article by Kyle Smith dated 2016, they started to hate each other back in the 1980s. In the article, it is seen that Richards thought Jagger started to become unbearable back in those days and revealed the nickname for Jagger in the band was ‘Her Majesty’ or ‘Bitchy Brenda.’ Moreover, their problems heightened when Mick Jagger received a knighthood from the Queen in 2003, as Richards recalled how cops arrested both of them for using drugs at a party at Richard’s country house in 1967. Richards is also known to have described Jagger’s solo album ‘Goddess In The Doorway’ as ‘Dogs**t In The Doorway’ in his 2011 memoir ‘Life.’

What Did The Pair Say About Each Other?

According to an article in Daily Mail, the ice between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger seem to be broken allowing them to work together, although there are heartbreaks left. While talking about Richards’ memoir ‘Life,’ Jagger said he found the memoir accurate, adding he does not really want to talk about the book. Considering an apology from Richards as a prerequisite, Jagger was then asked if Keith was like a brother to him as they were together since childhood. Jagger responded to this question by saying his relationship with his brother is nothing like his relationship with Keith, saying they have a more professional relationship. He then talked about the bonds formed within the band, saying the time they have spent together made a lot of bonds and memories, but it is not a family.

Mick Jagger has commented on his relationship with Richards, saying:

“My relationship with my brother is nothing at all like my relationship with Keith, which is someone you work with, completely different. With a brother, you have parents in common, families in common. We don’t have that, Keith and I. We work together. If you didn’t have a brother you might say that it was like being a brother. But being in a band is another kind of relationship.

If you work with someone that long, it makes a lot of bonds, a lot of memories, and things you relate to from your past. You have reference points that you can evoke. You have relationships with everyone in the band, and you have relationships with people in the periphery of the band, so it’s a large group. But it isn’t a family.

Keith Richards on the other hand was seen commenting on his relationship with Mick Jagger in the same article. He said that everybody is still together in the band for such a long time which makes it nearly impossible for them to like each other all the time. He then said he would consider it a miracle if in 50 years two guys could get on perfectly. Keith then said his main means of communication with Jagger is through music, calling it a gentleman’s agreement, saying when they start to work together, the barriers between them tend to disappear. Keith was then asked if any time he considered the band as broken, and he responded saying that he did but thought it was fixable as they have worked on the band to get it back into shape.

Keith Richards’ comments on his relationship with Mick Jagger were:

“Everybody’s still here, which is obviously an important ingredient. With any band that has been around, even for a few years, not everybody likes everybody all the time. But maybe you have a need for that conversation to continue, and music is the one way you can do that. It’s stronger than the other things that get in the way. It would be a miracle, wouldn’t it, in 50 years for two guys to get on, let alone three or four?

I don’t want to over-emphasize the differences between Mick and me. You never hear about the 98 percent of the time we’re in sync and know each other and know what we want to do. But my main means of communication is through music. Call it a gentlemen’s agreement or something like that. It’s unspoken, but I notice that once we start working, a lot of the barriers or whatever you want to call them do tend to disappear.”

Keith then added, talking about the band:

“Sometimes I’d look at it and say: ‘This damn band is broken – but not unfixable.’ But none of us ever discarded it in the junkyard. It was like, yeah, it’s a bit broken, and it’ll take a bit of work to, you know, to get it into shape again. That’s what we’ve done the last year, we’ve knocked the thing back into shape and into far better shape than I’d hoped for.”

Today, Rolling Stones is known to be making music and going on tours still despite their old age and the feud between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. For instance, they have released a reissue of their 1973 album ‘Goats Head Soup’ on September 4, 2020, and the album topped the UK Albums Chart on September 11, 2020, making the band the first to top the chart through six different decades. They were also on a tour called ‘No Filter Tour’ which they have started in May 2017, but it was postponed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.