Bobby Keys, the famed longtime saxophonist for The Rolling Stones, has passed away. The musician, famed for his hard-hitting sax solos that became trademark Stones riffs, had been battling cirrhosis. He was 70 years old. “Early this morning our beloved husband, father, family member, and friend passed away peacefully at home in Franklin,TN.,” read a statement on his fan page. “Bobby was surrounded by his family and loved ones.”
Less than a month ago, Rolling Stone Magazine had announced that Keys would not be joining them on tour. A Texas native, Keys got his start touring with Buddy Holly, a nearby neighbor. He was best known for his work with The Rolling Stones though, also appearing on dozens of albums including Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, George Harrison, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton. Heplayed on every album The Stones released between 1969 and 1974 as well as from 1980 to the present with his work on “Brown Sugar” among his most well-known solos. The saxophonist was a regular in The Rolling Stones’ touring bands since 1970.
Keys had recently released a book, Every Night’s a Saturday Night. At ten, Keys heard Buddy Holly playing for the opening of a local gas station. “I was just drawn to that sound,” he wrote. “It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone play an electric guitar live.”
American Blues Scene called Every Night’s a Saturday Night “legendary”. In the world of rock ‘n roll, from his longtime Stones tenure to falling into a recording session with the great Elvis Presley and the rock legend of the Dom Perignon bathtub, Keys life was innovative and raucous, while the music he created came to help define an entire generation.