Elton John’s Reason For Hating Keith Richards Revealed
via Elton John / Youtube
Keith Richards and Elton John have been engaged in a verbal battle for over three decades. Their ongoing public exchange of words showcases the creative and personal differences between these two iconic British musicians, with no sign of a peaceful resolution.
It’s widely known that Richards has a sharp tongue, and few artists in the music industry have been spared from his biting remarks. While most have chosen to ignore him, John decided to engage in the same game and upped the ante.
1988 Interview Sparks Feud: Richards vs. John
The feud started in 1988 when Richards was interviewed by Rolling Stone and shared his thoughts on various contemporary pop songs, including John’s “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That.” He commented:
“Reg, give me a Rubens, and I’ll say something nice. Reg Dwight. Lovely bloke, but posing.”
Richards’ comment wasn’t intended as a personal attack on John, and truthfully, it was relatively mild compared to his usual style. These remarks didn’t provoke a response from John initially. However, a few years later, when the guitarist made another unfavorable statement, John couldn’t contain his anger any longer, and the feud turned bitter.
John Hits Back at Richards’ Insults
After Princess Diana’s death, John reworked “Candle In The Wind” as a tribute to the late royal, and Richards, with his anti-monarchist sentiments, didn’t hold back his true feelings. He told EW in 1997:
“Yeah, it did jar a bit, songs for dead blondes.
“But he was a personal friend, after all. I’d find it difficult to ride on the back of something like that myself, but Reg is showbiz.”
John didn’t take Richards’ comments lightly, even though he referred to him as a “personal friend.” In retaliation, he cruelly remarked to the New York Daily News:
“I’m glad I’ve given up drugs and alcohol. It would be awful to be like Keith Richards. He’s pathetic, poor thing. It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go on stage and look young”.
He continued saying:
“I have great respect for the Stones, but they would have been better if they had thrown Keith out 15 years ago… I just think he’s an a-hole, and I have for a long time.”
During the same interview, John highlighted the hypocrisy of being labeled “showbiz” by Richards, pointing out:
“Please, if the Rolling Stones aren’t showbiz, then what is? You know, with their inflatable naked women.”
In his autobiography, John didn’t hold back from criticizing The Rolling Stones whenever Richards was mentioned, indicating that there is no love lost between them. Interestingly, at the GQ Awards in 2015, the pair were photographed smiling and engaged in what appeared to be a friendly conversation.
It’s difficult to determine whether the animosity between them is purely for public display or if a genuine, deep-seated hatred is brewing beneath the surface.