Keith Richards riffs: 'Sgt. Pepper's' was 'a mishmash of rubbish'

Story highlights

  • Keith Richards is dismissive of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's"
  • Richards: Beatles got "carried away"

(CNN)The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" may be regularly ranked among the greatest albums of all time, but it's nowhere near the top of Keith Richards' list.

In an interview with Esquire, the Rolling Stones guitarist dismissed the 1967 classic as "a mishmash of rubbish."
"There's not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away. Why not? If you're the Beatles in the '60s, you just get carried away -- you forget what it is you wanted to do," he told Esquire's Scott Raab. "You're starting to do 'Sgt. Pepper.'
    "Some people think it's a genius album, but I think it's a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like '(Their) Satanic Majesties,' " he said, referring to the Stones' late 1967 album that attempted to out-"Sgt. Pepper" the Beatles, right down to its 3-D Michael Cooper cover.
    At some point, the Beatles may have agreed -- perhaps not with the "rubbish" description, but that they'd gotten carried away.
    The "Let It Be" album started out as "Get Back," an attempt for the Fab Four to "get back" to their rock 'n' roll roots with live playing and minimal overdubbing.
    Richards has never made any secret of his love for the blues, and he praised the form as the source of all that followed.
    "There's something incredibly powerful about the blues -- the raw blues. But then, there isn't a piece of popular music probably that you've heard that hasn't in some weird way been influenced by the blues," he said. "I think it's probably the original musical form in the world, when it comes down to it."
    Richards praised a number of the original rockers he's had a chance to know, including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.
    Not that he had any visions of making it big, he observed.
    "To become a musician, that was the dream -- just to get into a band," Richards said. "You didn't care if you were stuck in the back strumming away. You know, I would have gladly done that. I wouldn't have minded being a sideman, but things turned out another way. Maybe it was the haircut or something."