Keith Richards Explains Why His Children Inspired “Wild Horses” and “Angie”

Keith Richards Explains Why His Children Inspired “Wild Horses” and “Angie” | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via The Howard Stern Show /Youtube

The first time a young blues band called the “Rollin’ Stones” performed live was on July 12, 1962, at London, England’s Marquee Jazz Club, a chance they got after the club’s mainstays got booked somewhere else.

Guitarist Keith Richards recalled getting money from Mick Jagger’s father to rent equipment for their debut performance in his memoir Life, published in 2010. Motivated by a desire to establish themselves, the youthful musicians performed blues standards at this first performance. 

Many fans may consider the legendary stories surrounding The Rolling Stones and believe that each member had an extravagant lifestyle.

Nevertheless, this is not always the case. Richards recently discussed the importance of his family in an interview, even revealing how his kids inspired two classic Stones songs.

The parenting style of Keith Richards

In order to promote their latest album Hackney Diamonds, Keith appeared on The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM in October 2023, some days before its release. They discussed the well-known rock star’s family and how much of an impact they have had on his life during their talk.

Stern asked Richards about his parenting style, which turned the conversation to the tensions within his family.

The host said, “When I think of Keith Richards, I think, ‘Oh wow, how fun to grow up in a house with Keith Richards ‘cause anything goes.’ Maybe you were a disciplinarian. Maybe you were like, ‘Fuck this, I’m not letting these kids get away with anything.’”

“Me, not so much. But, my old lady is,” Richards laughed in reply, referring to his wife of 40 years Patti Hansen. “I get the feeling that she has given you a life where you feel really at home,” Stern said.

“Wild Horses” was written out of guilt

Keef agreed to Howard’s comment, adding “Patti is the whole deal. By now, I wouldn’t know how to get out of bed without her,” he thought. He continued in a lighthearted manner, “Or how to get in,” which made Stern and co-host Robin Quivers giggle.

Richards went on to say that he had been in love with Hansen since their 1979 birthday meeting and that their 1983 marriage was the result of that love.

The topic of Richards’ children’s significant impact on his creative process came up next. Stern speculated that the emotional burden of leaving his kids behind while traveling may have served as inspiration for “Wild Horses”. (

Stern surmised, You felt a sense of guilt that you had to leave.” Richards simply nodded in agreement, confirming Stern’s perception of his thoughts on the subject. In the moving lyrics of “Wild Horses”, the rock icon alluded to the range of complicated feelings he felt when he was away from his kids.

Keith wrote “Angie” while he was in rehab

Stern carried on the topic, delving further into the fascinating history of the Rolling Stones’ iconic song “Angie”. Richards added further context by affirming that his daughter Angela was the source of inspiration for the song.

The conversation then shifted to a recurring story about the song’s significance, with Stern wondering why so many people thought it was connected to Angie Bowie, the wife of the late David Bowie from the 1970s. Known for his candor, Richards scornfully rejected the idea, saying, “Because they’re star-struck motherfuckers, you know what I mean?”

Setting the record straight, Richards underlined the timing, stating, “This was 1972 when Angela was born. Actually, I was in rehab when I wrote it,” he revealed, adding a startling detail and a hint of irony to the confession.

This surprising discovery brought a new level of complexity to the story of “Angie”, highlighting the complicated and multidimensional nature of Richards’ creative process at that time in his life.