The Rolling Stones kingpin, Keith Richards, is a connoisseur of the blues and took inspiration from the legendary figures from the American scene. However, Richards was also inspired by peers from the United Kingdom and, reflecting on those than came before him, the guitarist once named his three favourites.
London was a hotbed of talent throughout the early 1960s, and Richards thrust himself into the middle of the scene. While he’s discussed on plentiful occasions how records by the likes of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry shaped him as a guitarist, it’s fascinating to hear Richards discuss those from closer to home.
During a 2015 interview with The Quietus, Richards discussed his fellow disciples of the Chicago blues scene and their positive impact on British culture. He commented: “I hope that we widened people’s scope of what kind of music you could play and what music you listened to. Y’know, there have been some great English blues bands in the 60s and 70s and some great singers.”
Richards then began listing the artists he admired most, which included Steve Marriott, who most notably played in The Small Faces. “I loved Stevie Marriott; he was one I hoped would stick around for a while. What a great voice and guitar player,” he commented.
After the demise of The Small Faces, Marriott went on to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, and from a technical standpoint, he was one of the best. He had the capacity to outshine anyone in the room but, sadly, suffered a fall from grace.
His fortunes could have turned out significantly different following his audition to join The Rolling Stones after the departure of Mick Taylor. Marriott idolised Richards, and it would have been a dream to have played along with him while simultaneously resurrecting his career. Instead, they chose his former bandmate Ronnie Wood for the role.
In the same interview, Richards also paid tribute to the original line-up of Fleetwood Mac and said: “Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green, you’d wonder where they’d come from. These guys are playing the blues and they really are doing it.”
Once both men departed Fleetwood Mac, they chose to head down a different route which proved to be wildly more successful, but, evidently, it’s their earlier material which Richards favours.
Every artist listed by Richards was arguably as talented as him, in their own way, but, for various reasons, they never carved out such a long and fruitful career as him. Still, The Rolling Stones guitarist’s praise is proof of their undeniable brilliance.