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Bobby Keys, remembered

Kris Needs pays tribute to sax player Bobby Keys, who died this week aged 70.

For the last 45 years, Bobby Keys was the closest the Rolling Stones got to sporting a sixth member; a larger-than-life force of nature blessed with supernatural talent when he picked up his tenor sax and unleashed the unholy force-ten skronk which elevated countless rock classics. His rip-roaring sense of fun and contagious Texan humour lit up every room he entered and made him Keith Richards’ close buddy for years.

To just sum Keys up as the guy who blew the sax solo on Brown Sugar is something of an injustice when looking at a career which started with touring in Dick Clark’s Caravan Of Stars backing the likes of Little Eva, the Imperials and Major Lance and went on to include putting a rocket under hundreds of recordings, many of them landmarks. 

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