UPDATED 12/2/14: A sad day for rock ‘n’ roll: “Bobby Keys, longtime saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, has died at the age of 70. Michael Webb, keyboardist for Keys’ band The Suffering Bastards, told the Nashville Scene that the saxophonist ‘had been battling cirrhosis and passed away at his home early this morning.’”
Posted on legendary saxman Bobby Keys‘ Facebook page on 4/4/13:
I am very happy to announce that I will be leaving for rehearsals with The Rolling Stones soon!! I am very excited to be a part of the upcoming tour. The shows at the end of last year were such a great time. I am looking forward to everything to come! I hope this message finds you all well. Stay safe and see you out on the road!Bobby’s longtime brother-in-horns Jim Price puts it as well as anybody: “The Stones sounded like the Stones were supposed to sound when Bobby Keys played with them – Bobby plays with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll to the bone.” True enough: next to that opening guitar riff that ushers in “Brown Sugar”, it’s Bobby Keys’ wildass sax solo that makes that tune the classic it is. Dig into the Stones’ back catalog and you’ll find Bobby Keys’ name in the credits of some of their greatest moments (including the Exile On Main Street sessions in the cellar of Keith Richards’ Nellcote hideout in southern France). And he’s still playing with a ton of rock ‘n’ roll heart and soul today.
In 2012 I had the opportunity to talk with Bobby for Relix magazine. We discussed his autobiography Every Night’s A Saturday Night, his ol’ buddy Keith, and Bobby’s fave recording sessions of all time (including the spontaneous jam that made Stones’ history).