Classic Rock Corner

RIP Bobby Keys: Texan and Stones Saxophonist Dies at 70

Note: According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Bobby Keys passed away earlier Tuesday. The Lubbock-born saxophonist was a longtime side man for the Rolling Stones, first appearing with the band on 1969's Let It Bleed. Keys was especially close to Keith Richards, with whom he shared the birthday of December 18, and was also a longtime member of the Joe Ely Band during some of the Stones' more inactive moments of the 1980s.

We were lucky enough to talk with Keys, who was 70, before the reunited Ely group played Houston's International Festival in May 2011.

Born in Lubbock and raised just east in Slaton, Joe Ely's home town, saxophonist Bobby Keys left Lubbock in 1960 looking for kicks. At 14, he was playing with Bob Dylan influence, Bobby Vee, before moving on to a gig with seminal rocker Buddy Knox. Fifty-one years later, Keys will fly into Houston to play with Joe Ely at Houston iFest on Sunday.

"I was tired of Lubbock and Lubbock was tired of me," says the 67-year-old wild man from his home in Nashville. "Me and trouble were on a first name basis."

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William Michael Smith