In June 2007 it was revealed that Keith had secured a $7 million publishing deal to write an autobiography, despite him openly admitting he can't remember much of his heyday, with years of alcohol and drug abuse causing memory loss and blackouts.
To the general public, Keith is known for his drug-related outlaw image and in April 2007, joked that he once mixed his father's ashes into a line of cocaine he snorted.
Since 1979, Keith has worn his trademark silver skull ring, a gift from a friend. He has said that it represents the fact that "beauty is only skin deep". Also to this day, Keith wears a bracelet that resembles a pair of handcuffs, which were fashioned from a key chain Keith found. He said it is a reminder that he never wants to be arrested again.
Keith released his first solo album, Talk Is Cheap, in 1988.
Ever since 1969's Let It Bleed, Keith has sung lead vocals on at least one song from most of The Rolling Stones' albums.
Keith has over 1000 guitars, some of which he has not played, but was simply given.
Keith often uses guitars with open tunings which allow for syncopated and ringing I-IV chording that can be heard on The Rolling Stones' songs Start Me Up and Street Fighting Man.
Keith derived much of his early style from Chuck Berry, whose guitar work remained a touchstone for him throughout his career.
Keith and Mick Jagger have written over 200 songs together, credited as Jagger/Richards compositions.
Johnny Depp has said that the character of Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is mostly based on Keith, including his voice, his mannerisms, his personality, and aspects of his appearance.
According to himself, Keith wrote The Rolling Stones' biggest hit (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction 'while sleeping'. Keith has stated that he went to bed with a tape recorder on the bedside table, and when he woke up, the tape was full with mumbling and half-singing, mixed up with some snoring. True or false, it is widely thought that he did write the music and the legendary chorus by himself.
Keith has three children with his former partner Anita Pallenberg - son Marlon, daughter Angela and son Tara (deceased). He has been married to Patti Hansen since 18 December 1983. They have 2 children together, named Theodora and Alexandra.
Keith met Mick Jagger when he was at primary school, but when they went into secondary schools they lost touch. One day in 1960 they accidentally met on a train and talked about starting up a group. From 1960-1962 The Rolling Stones were formed. It comprised of Mick Jagger on lead vocal and harmonica, Keith on guitar, Bill Wyman on bass, Charlie Watts on drums and Brian Jones on guitar.
Keith was a close friend of country legend Gram Parsons and has referenced to his early death due to drug abuse in one of the songs he's written for the Stones; Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine/Well it's another goodbye to another good friend (Before They Make Me Run, from 1978's Some Girls). Keith also played two tribute gigs to him alongside Norah Jones and others in 2004.
Keith was voted the 10th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
In 1977, Keith was ordered to play a series of benefit concerts for the blind after a widely publicised drug arrest in Toronto. For these shows he assembled a band called The New Barbarians which included himself, fellow Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys, jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and The Meters drummer Ziggy Modeliste.
Keith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, as a member of The Rolling Stones.
In the 1970's, Keith was once awake for nine days straight (with the assistance of various drugs). When he did fall asleep, while standing up, he fell face-down into an amplifier and broke his nose.
Keith is a guitarist for The Rolling Stones and has the nicknames of 'Keef' and 'The Human Riff'. Keith is 5' 9" (1.75 m).
Keith: (on being a rock star compared to a pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean) Both are ways to make a good dishonest living.
Keith: I was number one on the 'Who's Likely To Die' list for 10 years. I was really disappointed when I fell off the list.
Keith: (joking that he once snorted his father's ashes) He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared, he didn't give a shit. It went down pretty well and I'm still alive.
Keith: See you in seven years.
*** to then-girlfriend Anita Pallenberg just before being arrested for possession of heroin and cocaine in Toronto, 1977.
Keith: It's great to be here. It's great to be anywhere!
Keith: If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.
Keith: Cold turkey is not so bad after you've done it ten or twelve times.
Keith: There was a time when Mick and I could have argued forever over the most mundane things. The colour of the album cover could turn into a life-and-death debate. I used to think he was getting too big for his boots, and he probably thought I was a cantankerous sod.
Keith: (on the death of original The Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones) Although it was a shock when it actually happened, nobody was really that surprised, you know. I'm sure everybody's got a feeling about certain people... everybody knows people that-- you just have that feeling about them, they're not going to be 70 years old, ever. Not everybody makes it.
Keith: (after falling out of a tree while on holiday in Fiji in 2006) Hey, everything's cool, my guitar is tuned, I'm read to go. It was a nasty knock, but we got over it and I'm ready to rock.... I broke three ribs, actually. And punctured a lung. And it's a ludicrous story, really.