Keith Richards: The Origin of the Species

Director Julien Temple
United Kingdom / 75 min. / 2016 / English

This is early Richards, almost still in nappies and without his guitar. Temple gives another master class in archaeological English culture with the Keef of 1945-1962. His childhood choir. Walks with his grandmother through post-blitz ruins. Rationing and shortage. The salvation of the first blues and the first rock ‘n’ roll. The story of an apprenticeship, of an illumination.


This ain’t about the recording of “Brown Sugar”, nor how the “Satisfaction” riff came about. Not about snorting his father’s ashes. Nor falling out of coconut trees. Come and see Richards in the earliest days, in nappies and without his guitar. Julien Temple gives us another cultural archaeology master class to trace Keef’s footsteps from 1945-1962. Where did this Martian come from? The answer lies in this film woven from interviews with the man himself, British Pathé archive, fragments of films on Ealing and the Archers, and songs like “16 tons” and “Life begins at Oxford Circus”. The story of a young chap born amid the helmets and sirens, child of rationing, breastfed on Labourism. They details are all here: His childhood choir. His teenage gang. Strolls with his grandma through post-blitz ruins. Radio and TV and pirate films. British humour and supermarkets. The music halls and the pubs. The first band he ever saw play (at a wedding: “I thought they were all really tall and till I discovered what a stage was”). Shortage and family ties (“lots of affection but not many things”). The salvation of skiffle, the first blues, the first rock ‘n’ roll. The birth of the teenagers. The story of an apprenticeship. Flawless.


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Keith Richards

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