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Keith Richards: The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' Was "Rubbish"

In a new interview with Esquire, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards sounds off on the Beatles, essentially calling their landmark 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a "mishmash of rubbish."

“There's not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away. You're starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it's a genius album, but I think it's a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like their Satanic Majesties [the Rolling Stones' stab at psychedelia]—'Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.'

"The Beatles, chicks wore those guys out. They stopped touring in 1966—they were done already. They were ready to go to India and shit.”

Here are some other choice Keef quotes from the Esquire story:

Esquire: It’s strange that after all these years, your legend almost has an entirely separate existence from your music.

Keith: I know. It’s the bizarre thing about this—I’m probably more well-known because of my image rather than the music. I got used to it—he’s like a ball and chain you drag around and it’s some guy you maybe were 25 years ago. But he’s always there.

Esquire: You’ve played with everyone from George Jones to Tom Waits. Is there anyone you haven’t played with that you’d like to?

Keith: There’s probably a few guys out there…actually, I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I mean, all of the cats I’ve always wanted to play with I’ve met and eventually worked with. I love Tom dearly—he’s a true American eccentric, and we need more of them, you know. Brilliant guy, brilliant musician.

I always had that hankering to do “Irene”—I think maybe Tom doing “Shenandoah” a few years ago, the great American folk song, and being involved in that—suddenly I’ve got a 12-string in my hand and it’s time for “Irene.” I’ve had the opportunity with Merle Haggard. All of these guys that I used to listen to—the amazing thing is that even at my age, I’m living in a place where I know all of my heroes, warts and all, and still love ’em. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis—man, if that is not Mr. Rock ’n’ Roll, I don’t know who is. Little Richard. I love those cats.

In the interview, Richards also discusses his new solo album, Crosseyed Heart.

You can read the full interview here and check out the music video for Richards' new single, "Trouble," below.

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Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.