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Keith Richards exhibition

Back in the sixties and seventies, Keith Richards was such a menace to society that society tried to lock him up. Nowadays, he's a national institution. Which just goes to show that everyone loves a survivor.

Cannily timed to coincide with the publication of his eye-opening autobiography, Life, Proud Chelsea has opened its doors to its fantastic Richards exhibition, Before They Make Me Run. Here is a taster of what you can expect. Gawp in wonder and then decide that the guy who coined the phrase, 'they don't make them like they used to', was probably right.

Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition

    Keith Richards

    Johnny Depp has cited Keef as the inspiration behind Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This picture, taken by long-time Stones snapper Gered Mankowitz, of Richards brandishing a cutlass in his infamous Redlands mansion (the scene of 1967’s drug bust), was probably where Richards’ outlaw career began.

    © Gered Mankowitz

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 1

    Keith Richards

    Compared to the dissolute Bacchus-like figure Richards eventually became, this picture of him in Chelsea in the early sixties is rather sweet. Around this time, Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham forced Mick Jagger and Richards into writing their own material. It was an inspired move, which saw the childhood friends – later to be christened the Glimmer Twins – assume control of the band from the doomed Brian Jones.

    © Philip Townsend

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 2

    Keith Richards

    1969 was a momentous year in the colourful history of the Stones. They sacked Brian Jones, only for him to die mysteriously a couple of weeks later. They released the fantastic Let It Bleed and then their free gig at the Altamont speedway track in northern California descended into mayhem when gig goer Meredith Hunter was murdered by Hells Angel Alan Passaro. This picture is of Keith, aka the human riff, backstage at Jones’ memorial concert at Hyde Park the same year.

    © Michael Cooper/Raj Prem Fine Art Photography

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 3

    Keith Richards

    Although born Keith Richards, in the early sixties the guitarist dropped the s from his surname, at the behest of the Stones’ manager because Loog Oldham felt Keith Richard sounded more pop. It wasn’t until over 10 years later that Richard became Richards once more. Maybe this is what he was pondering over his fry up.

    © Philip Townsend

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 4

    Keith Richards

    In 1968, Keith met country rock star Gram Parsons, who was then a member of The Byrds. They soon became fast friends and the following year, while in America, Keith and his lady squeeze Anita Pallenberg took a trip (probably quite literally) with Parsons to the iconic Joshua Tree National Park. Looks cold. Good job someone bought the rug.

    © Michael Cooper/Raj Prem Fine Art Photography

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 5

    Keith Richards

    On the run from the taxman, the Stones decamped to the south of France in 1971. Richards’ abode, the luxurious Villa Nellcote, became the centre of operations for recording sessions that eventually evolved into arguably their greatest album, Exile On Main St. This shot by Dominique Tarlé demonstrates the louche living at the villa.

    © Dominique Tarlé

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 6

    Keith Richards

    The photo sessions for the cover of the Stones’ 1968 classic Beggars Banquet began as something of a medieval shindig – all massive slabs of meat, jesters and mandolins. They turned into a cake-splattered farce. This shot by Keith Joseph was thankfully shot before the high jinks got messy.

    © Michael Joseph

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 7

    Keith Richards

    It’s a little known fact that tinfoil was massive in the seventies. And although Keef used it for other dubious pleasures than just pure adornment, here he’s seen modelling a massive tinfoil phallus and boots combo.

    © Michael Cooper/Raj Prem Fine Art Photography

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 8

    Keith Richards

    Another formative shot from early Stones confidant Philip Townsend. That signature is probably worth a pretty penny now. Not so sure about the waistcoat, mind.

    © Philip Townsend

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk

  • Keith Richards exhibition 9

    Keith Richards

    Back to the Joshua Tree and morning must have broken. That or back in the sixties the drugs really did work.

    © Michael Cooper/Raj Prem Fine Art Photography

    Before They Make Me Run: Photographs of Keith Richards, Proud Chelsea, 27th October – 21st November, www.proud.co.uk