Keith Richards’ sleepless records
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“Adrenaline is the most amazing thing we have,” Richards told an interviewer in 1992. Indeed, his ability to go without sleep is almost beyond belief. He recorded ‘Before They Make Me Run’ from 1978’s Some Girls, in a five-day studio binge (“One engineer would flop under the desk and have a kip, and I’d put the other one in and keep going,” he wrote in ‘Life’). But his actual record is almost twice that long: “Nine days without a wink,” he bragged. “I fell asleep standing up, eventually … I was just putting another cassette back on the shelf, and I was feeling great, and I turned ’round and fell asleep. I fell against the edge of the speaker. Woke up in a pool of blood, wondering, ‘Is that claret?'”
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards once stayed awake for nine days – but claims he was simply too busy to sleep.
The wild-living HONKY TONK WOMAN performer was not trying to break any records, but found that life got more interesting the longer he stayed awake.
Richards explains, “It wasn’t an attempt of anything. It just happened. It was all just so interesting. I had some good s***. People would come by after two or three days, good friends, and go, ‘You’re still up, aren’t you?’
“But after three days, you see – and this is what’s interesting – after three days you really go into, you’re kind of looking from the ceiling at yourself and everything.
“You can get in the car and drive and be perfectly functional but, at the same time, you know that you’re not quite there. But it’s so fascinating.”
The life-long rocker, who as a child was in a choir that performed for British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, continues, “I had so much to do, man. I wanted to make these tapes and I was writing a letter to somebody that never made it. Y’know, ‘Dear Sir, duh duh duh duh.’ All nuts stuff. Making tapes. Friends coming by.
“It was only afterwards that I realised how long I’d been going. I kind of gave up counting.
“How it ended was, I was making a copy of a cassette and writing down every track and I was perfectly OK, I pushed down the record and play, turned round and bang! I caught my head on the edge of a speaker.
“Must have been asleep for a third of a second. JBL speakers, man, beware that brand! There was claret (blood) everywhere.
“It was then that my friends said, ‘Keith, I think you’d better go to bed.'”
Keith Richards used to stay awake for days before a Rolling Stones concert in the 80s.
According to Denis O’Regan, who photographed the band on their European tour in 1982, Richards would sleep just before the show and before that, he would be holding court in his room.
He told Bang Showbiz, “Keith would usually stay up until the night before the show, so if we arrived on a Monday and the show was a Wednesday night, he would stay up until Tuesday and sleep until just before the show.
“A full court of people would come and go, he would always drape scarves over the lamps to create an atmosphere.
“That was the first thing he did when he went into his room, put the scarves over the lamps and just subdue the lighting and that’s how it was for the next couple of days, with people coming and going, at all hours.”He went on to talk about his favourite photo that he’d taken of the guitarist, adding, “I love the one of Keith posing with his head on his hands with a cigarette which is one of the early shots like that.
“It was a bit more rock ‘n’ roll, that was the shot, Keith owned it really.”
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