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Keith Richards says first solo classic was written for and about Mick Jagger

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Keith Richards says that his first solo classic, 1988’s “Take It So Hard” was both written for Mick Jagger — and also about the Rolling Stones frontman. Richards spoke with Rolling Stone about the new six-disc 30th anniversary super deluxe edition of his solo debut, Talk Is Cheap, and was asked about who “Take It So Hard” was written about, to which Richards responded, “Um, interesting question, really. I’ve wondered ever since. I think probably, you see the thing is, I actually had it going before the (X-Pensive) Winos became a possibility. I had been playing around with it. When I wrote it, I was thinking of Mick singing it. And that’s the true convolution — it sort of ends up with me singing about him.”

When it was mentioned that the Stones’ 1989 comeback single “Mixed Emotions” bore a distinct musical resemblance to “Take It So Hard,” Richards revealed: “Yeah, sure. One thing rubs off on the other. Y’know, you get used to working one way and it’s quite possible that the idea for ‘Mixed Emotions’ I’d already written for the Winos, and some things get left over.”

Keith Richards admitted a solo album was simply never on his radar until things went south between him and Jagger: “I never wanted to make a solo album until I started making it, until I found the right guys to play with. To make a solo album, it meant the Rolling Stones weren’t working for a while. There’s no way that I would’ve dreamed, or dreamt of a solo album while I was working with the Stones, because that would be counter productive. I did this record because there was no possibility when I started to make this record that the Stones were gonna to come back together.”

Side Notes:

Keith Richards’ co-producer, drummer, and songwriter collaborator Steve Jordan remastered the Talk Is Cheap reissue, which includes six unreleased bonus tracks featuring Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, bassist Bootsy Collins, and legendary Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson.

The super deluxe edition runs about $175 and features the unreleased songs on CD and vinyl, also with vinyl singles of “Take It So Hard”/”I Could Have Stood You Up” and “No Mistake”/”It Means A Lot.” posted: “In addition to that audio, 80-page hardcover book with an Anthony DeCurtis essay featuring a new Keith interview, as well as the usual ‘rare and unseen’ photos from personal archives. This set also throws in ‘stuff’ like tour laminates, lyric sheets, a reproduction Talk Is Cheap playback invite, guitar pick and two posters. A two-CD deluxe is also available with album and bonus tracks, and a standard remastered vinyl edition is also available. An ‘indies-only’ red vinyl exclusive edition is also being marketed.”