Who is Linda Keith?
Linda Keith is a former British model who is best known for her romantic involvements with Rolling Stones' guitarist, Keith Richards, and American rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, Jimi Hendrix. She primarily modeled for hats and worked extensively with photographer David Bailey. A 'wild' and beautiful model, she became a part of the youth-driven cultural revolution of the 'Swinging Sixties' that had swept London in the mid-1960s. She was well-connected with the bohemian community in London's West Hampstead, which included influential artists, singer-songwriters and fashion personalities. She later played a pivotal role in kick-starting the career of Hendrix by introducing him to the hotshots of the music industry. The Rolling Stones song 'Ruby Tuesday' and the Jimi Hendrix song 'Send My Love to Linda' were inspired by her. In the 2014 biographical movie 'Jimi: All Is by My Side', which showed the formative years of the guitarist, English actress Imogen Poots portrayed the role of Linda. She has also appeared as herself in a number of documentaries based on the musician's life.
Rise to Stardom
Linda Keith's modeling career began after she was discovered delivering mail at Vogue House in her late teen years. Her first modeling assignment came when she was commissioned to model for hats for a spread in the 'Observer'. She gradually moved up the ranks and began posing for renowned photographer David Bailey. At the time, her best friend, Sheila Klein, was dating Andrew Oldham, who went on to become the manager of English rock band Rolling Stones. Through him, she met the band's guitarist Keith Richards, with whom she bonded over their shared interest in music. The two soon became romantically involved and she began accompanying the band to their US tours.
During one such tour in late May 1966, she visited The Cheetah Club in New York with her model friends and heard, Jimi Hendrix, playing the guitar with Curtis Knight and the Squires. She was immediately blown away by his performance and invited him over to their table after the performance. She was determined to make sure that the new talent got noticed and got a record deal as well. She not only lent him her boyfriend Richards' guitar, but also introduced him to Oldham first and then to Seymour Stein, but neither of the meetings went well. She then invited Animals' guitarist-turned-manager, Chas Chandler, to see Hendrix play and Chandler eventually helped him with his career. While she soon had to return to the UK and they lost connection, she is still credited to this day for making him a rock'n'roll star.
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Linda Keith was born in 1946, in West Hampstead, London to renowned British actor, disc jockey and radio presenter, Alan Keith (born Alexander Kossoff), and his wife, Pearl Rubeck. Both her parents were descendants of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Her father was honored as one of the officers of the 'Order of the British Empire'. She has an older brother named Sir Brian Keith who has been serving as a High Court judge since 2001. BAFTA winning actor, David Kossoff, was her uncle, while blues rock guitarist, Paul Kossoff, of the rock band 'Free' was her cousin. She spent much of her life in her parents' house at 81 Cholmley Gardens till her father passed away, in 2003.
Linda Keith first began dating Keith Richards, in 1963, after they met through Rolling Stones' manager, Andrew Oldham. Interestingly, Linda was not a huge fan of the band and had banned him from playing the group's music on her record player. Instead, the two bonded over their shared passion for blues music. However, a big fan of black music, Linda would eventually start spending more time with American rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, whom she had taken under her wing soon after the two had met in May 1966. Reportedly, it was she who, after their first meeting, had invited him to her apartment where they discussed the prospect of his solo career and where she had introduced him to LSD.
Her determination to make a star out of the unknown guitarist had become the talk of the town and had strained her relationship with Richards. However, she later claimed that after Jimi became established, his management and other people around him had convinced him that she was a bad influence on his music. During this time, she was also heavily on drugs. Concerned about her well-being, Richards informed her father that she was in distress, which had caused Alan Keith to travel to America to bring back his daughter. On her return to London, she was made a ward of court and eventually married British musician and record producer, John Porter, in 1983. She currently lives with her family in New Orleans.