It can be said without any hesitation whatsoever that no one individual better epitomizes the image of the outlaw rock star than Keith Richards. No one! Keith turns 68 today, December 18, a remarkable accomplishment, not only for the fact that he's a senior citizen and as irrepressible as ever, but also because he's still alive. Indeed, one of the most astonishing things about him is that for all his many harrowing encounters with mortality --- and morality, for that matter -- he's not only managed to cheat death, but to actually continue to function like most normal human beings. Yet, the fact is -- Keith Richards is not an ordinary human being. Despite drug use, run-ins with authority and even a fall from a tree in 2006, which necessitated life-threatening cranial surgery, somehow our man Keef has not only managed to survive, but to actually thrive.
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Still, for all the great music, it's the antics that make him the stuff of legend. The numerous drug busts and his insurgent stance are of course well known -- Keith's surprisingly articulate autobiography, Life, fills in many of the gaps. But the full story has to also include the exploits captured in the widely circulated bootleg film Cocksuckers Blues, his bewildering admission that he actually snorted his father's ashes, his reckless romantic tryst with longtime girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, his oftentimes adversarial relationship with Jagger and the as yet unfounded rumor that he once underwent through a complete blood transfusion in Switzerland to help clear his system of heroin abuse.