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Bobby Keys

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Robert Henry “Bobby” Keys (December 18, 1943 – December 2, 2014) was an American saxophone player who performed with other musicians as a member of several horn sections of the 1970s. He appears on albums by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Harry Nilsson, Delaney Bramlett, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker, amongst other notable musicians. Keys was a touring musician from 1956 until his death in 2014.

Keys was born in Slaton, Texas on December 18, 1943.

Keys started touring at age fifteen with Bobby Vee and fellow Texan Buddy Holly. Keys is best known as being the main saxophone player for The Rolling Stones. He played on every album from 1969 until 1974 and from 1980 to present, and has performed on all Stones tours since 1970. Keys has played on hundreds of recordings, many uncredited, including Dion’s “The Wanderer.”

Keys met the Rolling Stones at the San Antonio Teen Fair in 1964. He is known for his relationship both as a musician (for example, the saxophone solo on the 1971 hit “Brown Sugar”) and his friendship with Keith Richards — the two were born on the same day — (there is a film of him and Richards throwing a television set from the 10th floor of a hotel during the 1972 American Tour, as seen in the Stones’ unreleased 1972 concert movie Cocksucker Blues). Keys recorded with them around 1969 on their track “Live with Me”. Keys, along with the addition of Mick Taylor, made their debut on Let It Bleed. Mick Jagger and Keys became close in the early 1970s, with Keys serving as an attendant at Jagger’s wedding.

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