Musician Biographies » The Rolling Stones » From Pebbles to Stones - Surrendering To The Music, The Glimmer Twins, Getting It Together, Rhythm Section Wanted

From Pebbles to Stones - The Glimmer Twins

keith school mick rock

Keith Richards was a suburban youth who knew he belonged somewhere else. Born in Dartford, England, on December 18, 1943, Keith had music in his blood. His mother played piano, and her father, Gus Dupree, had led a dance band in the 1930s. It was his grandfather's guitar that Keith first toyed with. Keith, like Brian Jones, hated school. At technical school, Keith found himself struggling through classes. His lack of motivation led to Keith's expulsion from school in his fourth year.

Around this time, rock and roll started to make its assault on English soil. Keith liked what he heard, and he started to get the idea that there was something he could do with his interest in music. Like so many other teens, he was captivated by Elvis Presley. Keith recalled, “The first record that really turned me on out of the Rock and Roll thing was ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’” In addition to Elvis, Richards grew to deeply love the raw rock sounds of Chuck Berry.

Keith found rock and roll, but he had to find himself a niche in life. The school that kicked him out found him a place in an art school. Art school turned out to be a haven for musicians. Keith met and started playing with a young guitarist named Dick Taylor, and the two of them jammed with whomever they could.

At the beginning of Keith's last year of art school, he had a chance meeting with someone from his past. Before he went on to technical school, Keith had had a schoolmate from Dartford named Michael Jagger, whom everyone called Mick. Mick Jagger was born on July 26, 1943. His father was a physical education teacher from Dartford, so he became interested in athletics. By age twelve, Mick was teaching games to kids on an American army base. It was there that Mick was first exposed to the blues, through one of the cooks at the base. Falling in love with the rhythms of this music was typical of British teens at that time.

Mick went on to a different school than Keith, and they lost touch. Their next meeting did not occur until they were both seventeen. Mick was attending the London School of Economics. When he and Keith ran into each other at the Dartford train station, he was carrying some American R & B records, including Chuck Berry. The boys hit it off instantly.

As it turned out, Mick knew Keith's school friend Dick Taylor. The three of them started practicing together. Mick played the harmonica and sang, and Keith and Dick strummed their guitars. Meeting Mick exposed Keith to many new sounds. Mick had a large collection of records from America, and he was excited to share his world with his new friend.

From Pebbles to Stones - Getting It Together [next] [back] From Pebbles to Stones - Surrendering To The Music

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