Richards is best known by some for his drug habit (made famous by a drug arrest by the Mounties in Toronto in the 1970's). In fact, he was so badly addicted to heroin that many thought he would be the next big rock 'n' roll drug casualty to permanently exit, stage left. Although, after many years, Keith finally succeeded in weaning himself off such hard drugs, he to this day wears a bracelet which resembles a pair of handcuffs, as a reminder he never wishes to be arrested again. Perhaps also appropriate is that he wears a ring sculpted as a human skull (sans jaw).
Richards' guitar style has evolved over the life of the Stones. In the 1960's, greatly influenced by Chuck Berry, he played a traditional - but distinctive - rhythm guitar, in counterpoint to the more flamboyant lead style of Brian Jones. When Jones' drug habit led to his firing from the Stones and his 'death by misadventure', Richards was thrust into the role as sole guitarist for the band on the album 'Let It Bleed'. Keith developed his trademark playing style in the 5-string open G tuning (GDGBD, with the lowest pitched string removed) during this period. He subsequently teamed with Mick Taylor for what many term the high point of the Stones' musical career, and later with Ron Wood, in a style of mixed lead and rhythm playing which has been termed 'the ancient art of weaving'. Songs which typify Keith's open-G style include 'Honky Tonk Women'.
Richards has been married to Patti Hansen since 1983. They have two children, Theodora and Alexandra. Richards also has a son Marlon, and another daughter, Dandelion, from his relationship with Anita Pallenberg.