As a guitarist, Richards is mostly known for his innovative rhythm playing, with his ability to develop and play catchy chord sequences earning him the nickname "The Human Riff".
In 2003 he ranked 10th on Rolling Stone magazine's "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time"
With songwriting partner and Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, Richards has written and recorded hundreds of songs, fourteen of which are listed by Rolling Stone magazine among the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time"
Richards also starred in the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, where he portrayed Captain Teague, a feared and dangerous pirate who is also the father of Jack Sparrow.
Actor Johnny Depp stated that he based the character Sparrow on Richards. "I thought of Keith because I was trying to figure out what pirates might have been like, their lifestyle back in the 18th century, and I thought, oh man, they were the rock and roll stars of the era. On the road to some degree, freedom, adventure, women, outlaw behavior, all of that stuff. And you see the greatest rock and roll star of all time, there are so many options, but to me it's Keith Richards hands down. So I went in that direction"
"Like Jack, underneath the swagger, Keith Richards is also a very intelligent man. Part of it was that Keith was the sage, the wise, unbelievably smart guy."
"He's one of the most well read, brilliant people I've ever come into contact with. He knows everything about everything - a history buff, history to the letter. It wasn't an imitation of Keith or anything like that. It was just like a salute to him, and beyond the fact that I think that he's the greatest rock and roll star of all times, I also think that he's an incredibly interesting man beyond the rock and roll, beyond The Stones. He's unbelievably wise. He's really a wise man, a sage, a Buddha or something."
Richards is set to join the cast in the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean films "On Stranger Tides", which is to be released in 2011.