Bobby Keys was a trailblazing saxophonist known for his guitar-like solos and for playing with The Rolling Stones. His most memorable saxophone solo is on the Rolling Stones’ song “Brown Sugar,” but he played the saxophone solos on hits like Leo Sayers’s “When I Need Love” and John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” He met the Rolling Stones at the San Antonio Teen Fair in 1964 while touring with Bobby Vee and became best friends with Keith Richards, with whom he shared a birthday; the two were infamous for their rock and roll endeavors.
Keys discovered King Curtis growing up, who inspired him to explore rock and roll. His first interaction with Buddy Holly was pivotal in his musical journey because Keys had never heard anyone play the electric guitar. As a teenager, he first toured with Buddy Knox. During his career, he played and toured with numerous groups, including Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Eric Clapton, and Joe Cocker, and was part of John Lennon’s “Lost Weekend.” Keys, along with Jim Price and Jim Horn, was one of the most sought-after horn sections of the 1970s. Keys released two solo albums, a self-titled instrumental album featuring Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Gimme the Key. Like several legendary musicians, Bobby Keys never learned how to read music. He said he played “strictly from feeling, and that feeling comes from rock-and-roll.”
Bobby Key was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame in 1984.