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The day the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards crashed his car and nearly killed himself

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The day Keith Richards crashed his car and nearly killed himself


May 19, 1976: Keith crashes his Bentley (nicknamed ‘Blue Lena‘) near Newport Pagnell, Bucks, after falling asleep at the wheel. Both marijuana and cocaine were found by the police, which resulted in another fine for him.

“I’m a good driver. I mean, nobody’s perfect, right? Somewhere I lost it, fell asleep. I just passed out. We skidded off the road,” Keith remembered in his book Life. “All I hear is Freddie Sessler in the back going, ‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ But I managed to get it off the road and into a field, which is after all the sensible thing to do. At least we didn’t hit anybody. We didn’t kill anybody; we didn’t even hurt ourselves.

Richards was returning to London from a Stones concert in Knebworth, he fell asleep at the wheel, veered off the road, and collided with a tree. Everyone in Richards’ 1965 Bentley, which had seven passengers total, including his son Marlon, managed to avoid serious injury, a stroke of luck credited to the car’s sturdy construction.

While Richards escaped serious injury in the actual collision, he wouldn’t be as fortunate in court. Richards was arrested and fined after police found what was initially thought to be a “drug substance” in the car. This discovery sparked an investigation that led to claims that the Stones were being used as unwitting mules for a drug cartel. (Ref. the day keith richards)

The Stones had a turbulent spring and summer despite the fact that the effects of Richards’ car accident could have been much worse; as a result, they ultimately decided to cancel a number of planned U.S. tour dates for a later-year tour. Richards ultimately received what he gratefully described as “a slap on the wrist” following the investigation. “.

keith richards blue lena car crash 1976
Blue Lena, Keith’s Bentley

He later acknowledged that the car had actually been modified to include a secret compartment for drug delivery. Richards’ Bentley garnered attention when it was put up for auction in 2015 because it had been involved in a number of colorful Stones-related tales over the years, including being the scene of the beginning of his relationship with Anita Pallenberg.

“I did make some speech along the lines of, this is my life, this is the way we live and shit happens. You don’t live like me. I do what I have to do,” Keith wrote in Life. “If I fuck up, I’m very sorry. I’m just living a peaceful life. Let me get to the next gig. In other words, ‘Hey, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll.'”

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