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Keith Richards Said John Lennon Always Ended Up Violently Ill When They Were Together 



John Lennon and Keith Richards met in the early 1960s, and they grew to be good friends. They spent a great deal of time together, and Richards typically liked to fuel their interactions with drugs and alcohol. Lennon did as well, but they had a different effect on him than on Richards. The Rolling Stones guitarist explained that Lennon usually ended a night together incredibly ill. 

Keith Richards said John Lennon typically got sick when they were together 

Richards said that when he used drugs with Lennon, the former Beatle tried to keep up with him. Richards explained that this was a difficult task for anyone.

“I got to know John Lennon longer and better further down the line,” Richards wrote in his book Life. “We’d hang for quite a while; he and Yoko [Ono] would pop by. But the thing was with John — for all his vaunted bravado — he couldn’t really keep up. He’d try and take anything I took but without my good training. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, couple of downers, a couple of uppers, coke and smack, and then I’m going to work. I was freewheeling. And John would inevitably end up in my john, hugging the porcelain.”

Keith Richards plays guitar and holds a cigarette in his mouth.

Richards recalled a time at the Plaza Hotel when Lennon had to lie on the bathroom floor in the middle of a party.

“I remember one night in the Plaza Hotel, he came by my room — and then he disappeared from the room,” he wrote. “I’m talking to the chicks, and their mates are all saying, I wonder where John went? And I go to the john, and there he is, hugging the parquet, on the tiles. Too much red wine and some smack. Technicolor yawn. ‘Don’t move me; these tiles are beautiful’— his face a ghastly green.”

He noted that Lennon was rarely able to leave his house on his two feet.

“Sometimes I thought, are these guys just coming to see me or is there some sort of race on that I don’t know about?” he wrote. “I don’t think John ever left my house except horizontally. Or definitely propped up.”


Keith Richards said he struggled to realize when he was going too far

Though Richards remembered Lennon getting sick when they saw each other, he admitted that this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. 

“I realized, I’m running on fuel and everybody else isn’t,” he wrote. “They’re trying to keep up with me and I’m just burning. I can keep going because I’m on pure cocaine, none of that s*** crap, I’m running on high octane, and if I feel I’m pushing it a little bit, need to relax it, have a little bump of smack. It sounds ridiculous now in a way, but the truth is that was my fuel, that speedball.”

He noted that when he used drugs, it kept him moving. It didn’t have the same effect on others.

“In order to deal with one’s morbidity, or in order to deal with one’s levity, it was like a balancing act,” he said. “And it could keep me going for days and days without realizing that in fact I was wearing guys ragged.”

Keith Richards considered John Lennon a good friend

Richards got to know each of the Beatles over the years, but he said he was particularly close to Lennon and George Harrison. 

A black and white picture of John Lennon sitting in front of floral wallpaper.

“John and I particularly spent quite a lot of time together,” Richards told USA Today. “He was a very funny guy. I miss him very much, actually. And George (Harrison), a lovely guy. I used to spend quite a lot of time around his house in London with Ronnie (Wood of the Rolling Stones). There was a whole guitar-playing bunch: George, Eric Clapton, Ronnie. We’d play guitar and get stoned. The usual.”

Source: Cheat Sheet


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