He (Gram Parsons) was my mate and I wish he’d remained my mate for a lot longer. It’s not often you can lie around on a bed with a guy having cold turkey in tandem, and still get along.” > Keith Richards, from the book According to the Rolling Stone
Keith Richards developed a full-on drug habit by the early 1970s and one of his main shoot-up partners was country singer-songwriter Gram Parsons.
He died aged 26 from an overdose of morphine and alcohol in September 1973 in Joshua Tree, California.
Friends stole Gram Parson’s body on transit at LA international airport to burn it in the desert, as had been Parson’s wish.
SWEET BLACK ANGEL > STONES TRIBUTE TO BLACK ACTIVIST
ANGELA DAVIS ON FBI MOST WANTED LIST
The Rolling Stones song Sweet Black Angel from 1972 album Exile On Main Street is about American activist and university professor Angela Davis, who was openly communist and aligned with the notorious Black Panthers of the 1970s.
California governor Ronald Reagan > a bad Hollywood actor who later became a bad US President > wanted Angela Davis removed as a teacher at the University of California (UCLA).
She went into hiding in 1970 and was put on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list > after being accused of helping an attempted courtroom escape in Marin County that ended with four people dead.
Angela Davis was facing trial charged with murder when Exile on Main Street was released. She was eventually acquitted.
Keith Richards and partner Anita Pallenberg were busted during a raid on his home in London’s Cheyne Walk in mid-1973. Found were drugs, a Smith and Wesson revolver and a shortened shotgun. A friend by the name of Stash was also there and charged.
In October that year, with the Rollong Stones on a European tour, the couple and saxophonist Bobby Keyes faced a French court on cannabis charges.
In their absence, all were convicted and copped fines and suspended sentences.
The London court case was heard soon after. Richards was fined on the drugs and arms charges and the charges against Pallenberg, except for the possession of 25 Mandrax tables, were dropped.
KEITH RICHARDS > HEROIN HITS
The Rolling Stones guitarist had by now formed a full-on heroin habit.
Richards and family were renting a place in the Swiss mountains near Montereaux. When a friend cleaned out the retreat home after they vacated, he allegedly found 5000 used syringes stashed around the place.
> sourced from an article by Mark Blake in Mojo magazine
GUITARIST Mick Taylor’s press statement upon leaving the Rolling Stones in December 1974 read: “The last five-and-a-half years with the Stones have been very exciting and proved to be a most inspiring period. And as far as my attitude to the other four members is concerned, it is one of respect for them, both as musicians and as people. I have nothing but admiration for the group, but I feel now is the time to move on and do something new”.
Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine “I’m sorry to see him go, but I think people should be free to do what they want”.
Mick Taylor (pictured) briefly joined a group formed by bass player Jack Bruce, who used to play with Eric Clapton in Cream > but this and other musical adventures he became involved with never really took off.
Taylor joined the Rolling Stones for guest appearances at many gigs during the band’s 50th anniversary tour of America in 2013.
He was replaced by Ron Wood, previously with Rod Stewart and The Faces.
STONES guitarist Keith Richards crashed his Bentley through a hedge and fence > into a field off England’s M1 motorway about 4am on May 19, 1976. There were several adults in the car and his seven-year-old son Marlon.
Richards was taken to a police interview room and searched. In a jacket pocket they found a piece of folded paper which they suspected contained LSD.
Found in the car was a silver chain holding several objects, including a silver tube later found to have traces of cocaine.
Judgement day was January 15, 1977 > the charges possession of LSD and cocaine.
The defence’s argument centred around Richards denying the cocaine chain was his as the car was also used by other members of the group – and the same went for the jacket holding the LSD.
“We all wear each other’s stage clothes,” he had told officers at the time of his arrest.
After a three-day trial, the jury finds him not guilty on the LDS charge but guilty of possessing cocaine. He’s fined 750 pounds and warned that next time he will go to jail.
OF COURSE THERE WAS A NEXT TIME > but not in England.
CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING > FACING PROSPECT OF YEARS IN JAIL
“The actual busts have always been farces … to wake up with 15 Mounties standing around your bed after they’ve spent an hour trying to wake you up”.
That was Keith Richards’s interpretation of his drug career > as told to UK rock magazine New Musical Express > after being busted in Toronto, Canada, in February, 1977.
He and wife Anita Pallenberg’s hotel suite was raided by drug officers. She was awake, he fast asleep > and the Mounties found an ounce of heroin on the bedside table.
This is a big enough amount for Keith Richards to be charged with “possessing heroin for the purpose of trafficking” > which can carry a maximum life sentence.
The Rolling Stones were assembling in Toronto to play two nights at a small club > the El Mocambo > for additional material for live album Love You Live (1977).
The Mounties’ hotel room raid came after Pallenberg being charged > when the couple flew into Toronto airport > with possessing 10 grams of hashish and a small amount of heroin.
SEX SCANDAL > CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER’S WIFE
Seen in a dressing gown at the same hotel as the Rolling Stones and at the band’s El Mocambo gig was the wife of charismatic Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau > the modern and sexy Margaret Trudeau. [Maybe the Stones had sent her down the hallway to fill the ice bucket when she was spotted!!])
The tabloids had a field day with reports of a sexual liaison with Mick Jagger.
The scandal even resulted in the Canadian dollar dropping in value.
Later it was revealed it was guitarist Ron Wood to whom she became friendly with.
KEITH RICHARDS IN (ANOTHER) MOMENT OF TRUTH
Keith Richard’s wife Anita Pallenberg appears in court March 4 and pleads guilty to possession of heroin and hashish > fined $400.
He fronts up a few days later at Toronto’s Old City Hall Court for a brief appearance and is grabbed by the hair by a magazine photographer who calls him a “junkie bastard”.
Police add a charge of cocaine possession. Richards is on bail and with the heat on from the cops, all band members soon leave the country.
Richards and family flea to New York where he undergoes drug rehabilitation.
His court case is eventually heard in October 1978 and > with much plea bargaining going on beforehand > the trafficking charge is withdrawn and he pleads guilty to possession of heroin.
The judge says incarceration would be inappropriate because of Richard’s continuing drug treatment. The Rolling Stones guitarist is put on one year’s probation and ordered to play a special concert for the blind in Toronto.
This unusual court order came about through a blind Rolling Stones fan writing to the judge begging for leniency for her idol.
The story goes that Keith Richards had seen her after a concert and > fearing she would get run over > gave her a lift in his limo. The rest of the band joined Richards in playing the concert for the blind.