How Keith Richards Solo Album Saved The Stones!!

Keith Richards never wanted to go solo. He'd intimated over and over that the Rolling Stones would basically have to break up to get him to consider such a thing. And that's just about where his band was as the late '80s wore on. So, Richards finally relented, releasing his debut album Talk Is Cheap on Oct. 3, 1988. Fittingly, he approached it with mixed feelings. "It's kind of strange, because it was never in the cards for me," Richards told Rolling Stone on the eve of the album's arrival. "It was not something I wanted to do. Also, in the back of my mind, doing a solo record meant a slight sense of failure. The only reason I would do a solo album was because I couldn’t keep the Stones together."  He couldn't. Already at a low creative ebb, the Rolling Stones' endured a shower of bad reviews for 1986's Dirty Work. Mick Jagger seemed more interested in his nascent solo career, electing not to tour with the Stones. At the same time, the band was trying to deal with the loss of longtime pianist Ian Stewart, a glue-guy sideman who often smoothed things over within their warring factions. At loose ends, Richards finally decided to strike out on his own. Simply making the decision seemed to open the creative floodgates, even though Richards had never been a frontman, and only rarely even took over the mic. Richards said, in a way, he felt he had been left no choice. "It was necessary to work. Talk Is Cheap came out of necessity," Richards told the Tulsa World in 1992. "I had never made an album by myself, and I had to be the focus of the whole thing. I felt I had had a very cushy life in a way. I could direct things, but I wasn't the No. 1 man. I let Mick take that."

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