.

Keith Richards Has His Day In Court

Guitarist pleads guilty to possession of drugs and firearms

Keith Richards performing in Copenhagen, Denmark circa 1973.
Jorgen Angel/Redferns
November 22, 1973

Keith Richards was fined £205 (about $500) and given conditional discharges on four drug charges and three firearms offenses, following trial October 24th in Marlborough Street Magistrate Court. Actress Anita Pallenberg, arrested with Richards June 26th when police raided their home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, was given a conditional discharge for possession of 25 Mandrax tablets.

Mick Jagger was a spectator at the 90-minute proceedings, during which Richards' defense attorney Richard Du Can maintained that drugs found in the raid were left in the house by persons who had stayed there during the musician's absence.

Police said they found cannabis, Mandrax and Chinese heroin in a strongbox under Richards' four-poster bed. Officers said they also found a revolver, 110 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and a shotgun in the house.

Du Can told the court Richards had no idea how the shotgun came to be in the house. The attorney said the revolver had been purchased in San Francisco for Richards' personal protection on a trip to Jamaica, and later the weapon was mailed to England.

Richards was charged with possession of the drugs and firearms. He pleaded guilty.

A week before the London trial Richard and Pallenberg were given one-year suspended sentences and fined $1100 each by a French court for throwing parties at which drugs were used at their home at Villefranche-sur-mer in 1971.

This story is from the November 22nd, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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