Aside from his musical ability and nine lives, Keith Richards is also known for being one of the most critical figures in all of rock. Whether it be David Bowie or Led Zeppelin, Richards has never been the easiest man to win over. This gives Richards an edge, and he’s been prone to espousing vitriol about his peers which, of course, has provoked a rebuttal.
One of those that Richards has had in his crosshairs before is The Rocketman himself, Elton John. Elton John needs no introduction, he is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, and his pedigree as a songwriter is of the highest order. However, this doesn’t mean that Richards is a fan. A feud kicked off by the Rolling Stones guitarist, and since, the pair have traded blows in the media at many points over the years.
It all started when Richards described Elton John as a “lovely bloke, but posing” back in 1988. Then, sometime later, Richards went one step further after John re-wrote ‘Candle in the Wind’ for the late Princess Diana following her tragic death. Richards said: “An old bitch… his writing is limited to songs about dead blondes”.
Then, in 2018, during an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Richards declared that he won’t miss Elton John when his farewell tour concluded. If you thought by this point Richards was flogging a dead horse, he wasn’t done yet. He claimed that once John retires, there will be more room for The Rolling Stones.
It was after the criticism of the ‘Candle in the Wind’ rework that Elton John blew his top. During an interview with the New York Daily News, John let rip. He tore into the persona of Keith Richards and went as far as to say that The Rolling Stones should have fired him a long time ago.
He said: “I’m glad I’ve given up drugs and alcohol. It would be awful to be like Keith Richards. He’s pathetic, poor thing. It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go on stage and look young. I have great respect for the Stones but they would have been better if they had thrown Keith out 15 years ago… I just think he’s an a-hole and I have for a long time.”