Remembering Bobby Keys: Performing Live With The Rolling Stones

By Andy Kahn Dec 2, 2018 7:55 am PST

“Bobby Keys is not the best saxophone player in the world, he’s the best rock ‘n’ roll saxophone player in the world.”

The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts

The above quote comes from a new documentary about the late great sideman Bobby Keys who died on this date in 2014 just days before his 71st birthday. Keys’ resume stands as one of the most impressive in rock ‘n’ roll history, having played alongside such accomplished musicians as Joe Cocker, B.B. King, John Lennon, Delaney & Bonnie, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Harry Nilsson, Dr. John, Graham Nash, Warren Zevon, Marvin Gaye, Van Dyke Parks, Martha Reeves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Faces and many others.

Perhaps Keys’ best-known affiliation was with The Rolling Stones with whom he recorded and performed with from 1969 through his death in 2014. The legendary rockers relied on Keys’ sax for many of their most successful hits. This edition of Sunday Cinema presents video of Keys onstage with The Stones at various points during his tenure as a touring member of the group.

First is footage of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” featuring Keys’ signature soloing at Madison Square Garden in New York City in January 2003. Keys first appeared with The Stones on their 1969 album Let It Bleed, contributing to the track “Live With Me,” which can be seen and heard in footage from August 2005 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. Another of Keys’ signature solos drives “Brown Sugar,” which can be seen in footage from Fort Worth, Texas in June 1972. “Rip This Joint” follows from a performance in July 1975 at the L.A. Forum. Finally, Bobby shines on the fellow Exile On Main Street cut “Sweet Virginia” in acoustic footage from Brixton Academy in London in July 1995.

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

Live With Me

Brown Sugar

Rip This Joint

Sweet Virginia

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