Keith Richards has always been my favorite Rolling Stone. It's not because I think his years of drugged-out dissipation were "cool" or that he is the best guitarist in the world or even that he climbed a tree in his 60s, fell off, and lived to tell about it. There are two things about him that have remained utterly consistent during his time in the spotlight, through all the wild hot mess that has been his life as one of the most famous musicians in RAWK:

1. He is always himself -- no airs, no pretense, no lies, no crap. What you see and hear is what you get, the real deal. This is rare in anyone, much less a rock star. He'll own up to the bad he's done, take pride in the good, and not change his tune depending on what crowd he's in at any given minute. I imagine Keith has one of the finest bullshit detectors in the known universe, and doesn't hesitate to sound off when the meter hits red.

2. He has never, ever, lost his passion for music. He still feels it just as much as he did when he was a young man with a stack of American blues LP's under his arm at a suburban London train station, randomly spotting an old school friend with rather rubbery lips and discovering that he too was an American blues fan.

These two things endear him to me more than anything.

The Rolling Stones have re-released their classic "Exile On Main Street" album very recently and if you don't have it in your collection already, you should. Here's Keith on "Late Night" with a very nervous and giddy Jimmy Fallon. We find out that Keith has a way with plants and that his favorite obscure Rolling Stones song is 1967's "Connection" from what might be my favorite Stones album, "Between the Buttons." Neither revelation, somehow, is a surprise to me.

Love you, Keith.