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That Time Chuck Berry Punched Keith Richards in the Face

It's no secret that the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards is one of the late Chuck Berry's biggest—or at least most famous—fans.

Richards, who based his initial guitar style on Berry's, has been recording his own versions of Berry's tunes since the Stones covered "Carol," "Around and Around" and "You Can't Catch Me" in 1964. Richards also inducted Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

But a lot of people might not know that Chuck once punched Keith in the face. Hey, at least it was over something a lot of Guitar World readers can appreciate: a guitar.

As Keith explained it to Jimmy Fallon in 2014: "I was in his dressing room, he was doing a gig, he went off to collect the money, I think. He was a tightwad—bless you, Chuck! His guitar was laid out in his case. [I thought], 'Ah, come on, Keith, just a touch. Just let me give it a little E chord.'

"[Chuck] walked in and goes, 'Nobody touches my guitar! BONG!' It was one of Chuck's biggest hits."

You can watch Keith tell more of the story in the top clip below (skip ahead to 2:00)—and then watch the scene from 1987's Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll where Chuck and Keithplay "Nadine."

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.