Nearly 20 Years After Keith Richards Allegedly Snorted His Dad’s Ashes, We’re Still Not Sure He Did It

Keith Richards is well known for being an eccentric and strange figure in the world of celebrities, and plenty of newspapers and magazines have reported on bizarre events involving Richards. Most of these stories are accompanied by plenty of evidence to prove that these wild stories are true, but one particular story is still surrounded by mystery- that Richards combined his dad’s ashes with cocaine and snorted the mixture. 

Read on to learn more about who Keith Richards is, how this story hit the mainstream, and whether he actually did snort his dad’s ashes. 

Keith Richards sitting on a couch, holding a cigarette, in black and white
Keith Richards | George Rose/Getty Images

Who is Keith Richards?

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Keith Richards an English musician and songwriter best known for his role of co-founding and playing guitar for the Rolling Stones. He and the other Rolling Stones founder Mick Jagger attended primary school together before eventually moving schools. They coincidentally ran into each other on a train years later and decided to form a band. Both Jagger and Richards have written hundreds of songs, many of which topped the charts. 

The Rolling Stones were one of the biggest rock bands of all time, launching Keith Richards into superstardom. Perhaps some of his celebrity status came from his seemingly-erratic rock star behavior over the years, which many have attributed to his known history of ingesting a wide variety of illicit substances.

How did this story come about?

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In 2007, Richards participated in a now-infamous interview with New Musical Express. In this interview, Richards is quoted as saying, “The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father.” He continues on to say, “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.”

Evidently, people were ready to believe this story was true, perhaps due to past occurrences of odd behavior or his history of drug use. After this interview was released, other news sources such as the Drudge Report, Google, Breitbart, Forbes, and Reuters reported the story, causing a media frenzy. Richards later attributed this widespread rumor to “The usual slanting” of the media.

Did Keith Richards actually snort his dad’s ashes?

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There is still no definitive evidence of whether this story is completely true or false, though many now believe Richards was joking about snorting his father’s ashes. According to an MTV article from 2007, Richards’ manager claimed the story was in jest, and that she was surprised anyone took it seriously. 

After the story got plenty of press and headlines, Richards clarified that he was just trying to illustrate his close relationship to his father, saying, “I was trying to say how tight Bert and I were — that tight!” He then went on to say that he actually scattered his father’s ashes beneath an oak tree, stating “I took the … ashes [and sprinkled them beneath the tree], and he is now growing oak trees, and he would love me for it!”

Richards has fathered five children throughout his life, though one tragically died at two months old from sudden infant death syndrome. According to The Guardian, Richards alluded to the ash-snorting story from 2007 by telling the press that he grants his children permission to snort his ashes after he passes away. Richards, now 77 years old and a grandfather, appears to be living a much calmer and quieter life now.