Keith Richards is the only child of Bertrand Richards and Doris Richards (née Dupree). He was born at Livingston Hospital in Dartford, Kent. His father was a factory worker who was injured in World War II during the Normandy invasion.
Richards' paternal grandparents were Socialists and civic leaders whose family originated from Wales. His maternal grandfather, Augustus Theodore Dupree, who toured Britain with a jazz big band, Gus Dupree and his Boys, fostered Richards' interest in guitar.
Richards' mother bought him his first guitar and he played at home, listening to recordings by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and others. His father, on the other hand, disparaged his son's musical enthusiasm. One of Richards's first guitar heroes was Scotty Moore.