Awesome Totally Awesome Keith Richards 1972

Five of Keith Richards’ Greatest Riffs

When it comes to rhythm and guitar riffs, Keith Richards is the backbone of the Rolling Stones and one of the all-time great rhythm players. The hard-living, easy-going death dodger has crafted hundreds of mind-blowing riffs over the decades, so picking five is a huge challenge. But when you look at the body of work from the Stones, these riffs have special qualities, are instantly recognizable and timeless.

Start Me Up

One of the Stones most popular songs, “Start Me Up” was released in 1981, but the riff was crafted back in 1978 while writing for the Some Girls sessions. And it was originally written with a reggae vibe and called “Never Stop”, but the Stones couldn’t get it right, so they shelved it until engineer Chris Kimsey discovered it, and the band re-worked it for the Tattoo You record. That intro riff is instantly recognizable and the song is played at just about every live sports venue, every single day of the year.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Although played to death on classic rock radio, the three-note “Satisfaction” riff is where it all started for Richards and the Stones. It’s the song that put them into the rock and roll stratosphere back in 1965. A maestro fuzzbox gives the riff that distinctive sound. Interestingly, Richards and Mick Jagger had to be talked into releasing it as a single. It became the first Stones No. 1 hit in the United States, turning them into mega rock stars.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

For the epic Jumpin’ Jack Flash riff, Richards showcased his open D tuning using a capo to E on an acoustic. The recording has a second acoustic guitar playing the opening chord and lick in Nashville tuning, but an octave higher. And both were recorded on a Phillips cassette recorder. As Richards said of the track in Rolling Stone: “When you get a riff like ‘Flash,’ you get a great feeling of elation, a wicked glee. I can hear the whole band take off behind me every time I play ‘Flash’ – there’s this extra sort of turbo overdrive. You jump on the riff and it plays you. Levitation is probably the closest analogy to what I feel.” Bill Wyman has stated he actually came up with the riff on the piano.

One Hit to the Body

The opening track on 1986’s Dirty Work is one of the finest examples of the Stones’ post-glory-days tracks. The opening riff is like a sledgehammer hitting you right between the ears, augmented by Ronnie Wood’s acoustic playing (he got writing credit!!). This song is figuratively about Richards and Jagger’s feud, which was at its peak in 1986. The riff certainly has an angry feel and that’s certainly not by accident on Richards’ part.

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

One of the shining examples of Keith Richards’ open G tuning is on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”, off the amazing Sticky Fingers album. Richards said he “loves the chopping, staccato bursts of chords”. According to Richards, this was one of the quicker songs to put together: “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” came out flying – I just found the tuning and the riff and started to swing it and Charlie picked up on it just like that, and we’re thinking, hey, this is some groove.” Indeed. It’s one of the best Stones tracks, bar none.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

Awesome Totally Awesome - Freaks & Weirdos Boutique
ATA - DTK

Awesome Dropping

Awesome Totally Awesome

I’ll Always Have Paris: Falling in and out of obsession with all things Paris Hilton

“I hope you don’t look up to her,” my mother scoffed from our kitchen. I don’t remember what my hero had done now to solicit that comment, but I responded with a halfhearted “I don’t.
Awesome Totally Awesome Eminem

Kamikaze Fallout: Who Took the Biggest L from Eminem

The hip-hop community has been torn to shreds by its great white shark, Eminem, these past few weeks with the release of his newest album titled Kamikaze.
Jerry Cantrell

"Degradation Trip": The Window into Jerry Cantrell's Soul

The eyes might be the window into someone's soul, but for Alice in Chains guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, his second solo album Degradation Trip is the window into his soul.

Awesome Features

Awesome Totally Awesome - Agenda

ATA Review of AGENDA, Long Beach

Inclusiveness:  It’s what AGENDA is all about, and what makes it a special kind of tradeshow. No matter who you are, you can stand side by side with companies like the Hundreds, 10 Deep, or Chinatown Market and compete with the same.  That’s the draw. 
Awesome Totally Awesome - Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla: The Pursuit of Greatness Sans a Championship

Despite playing in over 1,500 regular season games, 81 playoff games with three different teams and the fact that he is one of the most prolific scorers in the NHL, Iginla never achieved the Stanley Cup.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Legend of The Seagullmen

Concert Review Legend of The Seagullmen: The Roxy, Hollywood

The Legend of the Seagullmen (Seagullmen) is a furious and heavy supergroup. Their self-titled debut album consists of dark and heavy, psychedelic, and evil pirate metal anthems all revolving around the deep dark sea.

Awesome Trending

Awesome Totally Awesome - The 10 Presents Wrestling Tag Teams

The 10: Wrestling Tag Teams

When you think of wrestling, it's usually thoughts of an individual sport. But. Tag team wrestling has just as much to do with wrestling and history as any one wrestler.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Stacy Kohut FOURLIFE

Stacy Kohut Interview: Four Wheels + For Life = FOURLIFE

I try to get 5 or 6 runs in the morning, then 5 or 6 runs after lunch. Its important to me to feel like I've put in the work, 'punched in' for the shift, when I ride. Makes the day have some more importance and meaning. A purpose if you will.
Awesome Totally Awesome Bono

“There Is A God,” Claim Millions of Atheists After Hearing the News That Bono Lost His Voice

Upon the news that Bono completely lost his voice, partway through U2’s performance in Berlin Saturday, atheists around the world began to seriously question their worldview.