Street Fighting Man turns 70

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013

“In late 1966, Keith Richards was hearing things. The Rolling Stones guitarist and songwriter had in mind a series of strong, bluesy chords and a melody line based on French police-car sirens. But he couldn’t quite reproduce the way he envisioned it sounding—dry and crisp, with a ‘garage’ feel. Then he purchased an early Philips cassette tape recorder and, using an acoustic guitar, created the basis for what would become ‘Street Fighting Man.'”

So begins a splendid article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday in which Keith Richards spoke about the origins of Street Fighting Man. In honour of Keef’s 70th birthday today, then, here’s a memorable 1976 recording of the classic song in which his direct, incisive Fender Telecaster playing is at its best.

“You’re sitting with some guys, and you’re playing and you go, ‘Ooh, yeah!’ That feeling is worth more than anything. There’s a certain moment when you realize that you’ve actually just left the planet for a bit and that nobody can touch you. You’re elevated because you’re with a bunch of guys that want to do the same thing as you. And when it works, baby, you’ve got wings. You know you’ve been somewhere most people will never get; you’ve been to a special place.” Keith Richards, Life

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