It amazing when you think about it -- but it's been a full quarter century since Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' legendary bust up. The cracks between the legendary partnership, which drove the Rolling Stones, ground to a halt after Mick Jagger's 1985 solo album She's The Boss, and his decision to promote the set and record a followup -- 1987's Primitive Cool -- rather than commit to what would've been the first Stones tour in four years.
Although still a bit of a sore spot, Richards appeared on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show and looked back at the Stones' heaviest days. Jagger's ill-fated solo albums and tour was seen as the ultimate betrayal by Richards, who eventually fought back with a critically acclaimed solo debut in 1988, called Talk Is Cheap. Even today, the memories of Jagger's attitude in the mid-'80s still rankle Richards: "It was his assumption that he was bigger than the Stones. It started, at first, to annoy me -- and then it slowly enraged me. World War III, we called it within the band."
Richards revealed how he and Jagger keep on an even keel with each other 50 years into their partnership: "I rely incredibly on Charlie Watts -- who’s pragmatic, incredibly calm. If Mick and I have a problem with each other, it’s like: 'Where’s Charlie?’"
Out now is Under Their Thumb -- How A Nice Boy From Brooklyn Got Mixed Up With The Rolling Stones And Lived To Tell About It, by rock writer Bill German. German, who's best known in music circles as being the editor of the legendary Stones fanzine Beggars Banquet, recalled the darkest days in the Jagger-Richards relationship following the release of the Stones' 1986 album Dirty Work: "There was a push to tour behind Dirty Work -- and that was Keith doing the pushing. Mick was the one that said, 'We are not touring behind this.' In effect, he sent them a telegram (laughs) saying, 'I'm not working with you guys this year.' That was in 1986. Keith didn't get his solo (recording) deal until, like, the end of '86, after Dirty Work came out and he realized that, y'know, Mick wasn't gonna tour with Dirty Work, and that's when Keith finally realized, like 'Wow, the Rolling Stones are not happening.”
The Rolling Stones kick off their 14 On Fire Tour on February 21st in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates