The Rolling Stones have been a band for nearly 60 years, but Keith Richards and Mick Jagger have been friends for 70. They met at school when they were only kids. For a while, they lost touch until they bumped into one another on a train station platform in 1961. After that, they became the rivaling songwriting duo to Lennon-McCartney and took The Rolling Stones to the top internationally.
Richards and Jagger might have one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s biggest bromances, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had their ups and downs. They’ve fought a lot, but they’ll always be friends, no matter what.
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger have been through a lot together
It’s impossible to go through all the things that Richards and Jagger have been through in their relationship. The pair probably haven’t even completely divulged all the details of their friendship to the public. But we do know of a couple of times where things looked sour for them.
“I think the relationship is actually still in flux, or still growing — it isn’t fixed. Sometimes he can get up my end, and I have no doubt that I can certainly piss him off sometimes,” Richards told NPR in 2015. “At the same time, there’s a chemistry between us that we both recognize and that we know works. In a way, we’re both trying to come to terms with each other. Most guys, you know where you stand with. Mick and I don’t quite know how we stand with each other, and we never have.”
Richards and Jagger were actually pretty horrible to one another most of the time. Richards wrote in his autobiography Life that he and the band often referred to Jagger as “that b–ch Brenda” or “Her Majesty” when they were around the frontman. In fact, the entirety of Life caused a big fight between the pair.
But these stories aren’t hard to believe. The duo is notoriously judgmental about everything, not just about each other. Even if they aren’t warranted, they give their opinions, and those opinions tend to contradict past statements. However, despite often butting heads back in the day, Richards’ views of Jagger seem to have changed. Sometimes Richards and Jagger just need to remember that they share one massive thing in common; they love the blues.
Keith Richards says there’s not a lot that he dislikes about Mick Jagger
In a 2019 interview with The Sun, Richards talked about his feelings about Jagger and The Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts, who died on Aug. 24. He says not everything you read about him, and Jagger is true. He loves his friend most of the time.
“We’re working on the album,” Richards said. “We’ve got the first bits done and I’m looking forward to getting back in after this tour. Charlie Watts is playing his arse off! He’s absolutely amazing. It’s indescribable to find a drummer like Charlie Watts, exceptionally brilliant.”
“I can never praise Charlie enough and I can praise Mick Jagger 99% of the time,” Richards continued. “Mick knows what I mean and he’ll say the same about me. Things happen between Mick and me because it’s just two guys working together. You only hear about the odd bust-up. I love the man 99% of the time.” It doesn’t sound like he refers to Jagger as “that b–tch Brenda” anymore.
Keith Richards found out what it’s like being Mick Jagger when he released his first solo album
Richards realized what fronting a band like The Rolling Stones was like once he released his debut solo album Talk Is Cheap more than 30 years ago. He gives props to Jagger for being able to do it for all these years.
“It was my first time fronting the whole thing,” he recalled to The Sun. “Usually, this is Mick’s job and suddenly I understood a lot more about the dynamics of being a frontman. I understood the pressure. My feelings towards Mick became, ‘Yeah, I get it, man.'”
Richards explained that it was initially hard for him to embark on his solo career, as Jagger did that same because they were “joined at the hip.” After their break from The Rolling Stones, the friends knew they had to come back together to give the fans what they wanted: more music and live tours. They’ve been providing those things ever since. Their friendship has never been stronger, especially in the wake of Watts’ death. Let’s hope they stay like that.