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Remembering Rolling Stones Saxophonist Bobby Keys

by Photo of Josh Bombart

Rolling Stones band member Bobby Keys passes away in his home

Remembering Rolling Stones Saxophonist Bobby Keys

In this article…

Bobby Keys, The Rolling Stones sideman saxophonist, has passed away at his Tennessee home at the the age of 70. Keys will be remembered for his high energy solos. Prior to his death, he left the band to battle cirrhosis of the liver, which would ultimately take his life. Keys had been with the Stones since the 1960's and can be heard on many classics (Casino Boogie, Miss You, Can You Hear Me Knocking, and Brown Sugar).

Keys was a self taught saxophonist and was inspired by the Coasters hit song "Yakety Yak." He started performing professionally at the age of 15 and officially joined the band in 1969.  Keys has had his struggles with drugs and alcohol and was even kicked out of the the band in 1973 after he was found lounging with a woman in a bathtub filled with champagne.

Keys would rejoin the band in 1980, having to impress the band with a solo that would appear on the song Brown Sugar. Keys has also toured with B.B. King, Barbara Streisand, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and all 4 members of the Beatles.

Stones guitarist Keith Richards released a statement saying "Bobby, I have lost the greatest pal in the world and I can't express the sense of sadness that I feel although Bobby would tell me to cheer up. My condolences to all that knew him and his love of music." Keys is undoubtedly a saxophone legend and will always be linked to The Rolling Stones historic success. Bobby Keys, may you rest in peace, we will certainly 'Miss You'.       

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