Keith Richards: The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ Was “Rubbish”


It feels like the Sixties all over again.

Keith Richards took a moment in his new interview with Esquire to trash the Beatles’ 1967 psychedelic masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Rolling Stones guitarist criticized the album for its eclectic songwriting and adventurous production and compared it unfavorably to the Stones’ own 1967 psychedelic-rock effort, Their Satanic Majesties Request.

“The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles,” Richards said. “But there’s not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away.”

He added, “Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties—‘Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.’”

It should be noted that Sgt. Pepper’s came first and is considered one of the greatest albums in rock history. The Stones’ album—a critical and commercial failure—was largely seen as an attempt to follow in the Beatles’ footsteps.

Though the Beatles and Stones were often portrayed in the media as rivals, they were friendly with one another. John Lennon and Paul McCartney sang uncredited on the Satanic Majesties track “Sing This All Together” and on the album-related single “We Love You.” Stones singer Mick Jagger sang on “All You Need Is Love” (recorded while the Stones were making Satanic Majesties), and the late Brian Jones sang on the Beatles’ 1966 hit “Yellow Submarine.” He can also be heard playing saxophone on their comedy pastiche “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).”

Lennon and Richards also played in the Dirty Mac, a one-time-only supergroup that included Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. Lennon assembled the musicians for his performance in the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus TV special in December 1968.

Richards is currently getting ready to release Crosseyed Heart, his first solo album since 1992’s Main Offender. The video for the lead single, “Trouble,” can be seen here.