Story By: G.H. Harding
James Edstrom And Jerry Springer

KEYS LOST-- Bobby Keys, the saxophonist who played with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Buddy Holly, has died Monday at the age of 70 at his home in Tennessee.

According to his spokesperson, Keys had been suffering with long-term liver problems following his well-documented problems with alcohol and heroin.

While he played with many rock 'n roll legends during the 60’s and 70’s, Keys was best known for his work with the Stones - including tracks “Brown Sugar,” “Live With Me,” and “Emotional Rescue.”

His horn-break on their “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is positively captivating and chilling.

In a statement, the band said: “The Rolling Stones are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys."

"Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960s. He will be greatly missed.”

“He was a good friend and an inspiration to play with,” said long-time friend and Nashville rock veteran Michael Webb, who performed with Keys in a band of Southern rock all-stars called Bobby Keys and the Suffering Bastards.

He added: “About two months ago, he started wrestling with his health. He had been in and out of (the hospital) several times.”

Keys initially made a name for himself playing sax for Buddy Holly at the tender age of 15 in Texas, before playing on Elvis Presley's “Return to Sender.”

From there he was picked up by Eric Clapton for the Derek and the Dominos project and made his way to London, where he fell in with George Harrison, John Lennon, and Keith Moon. He also played with Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and Delaney & Bonnie.

He met the Stones in the mid-60’s while they were on the same bill in San Antonio, Texas, and was distraught that the British rockers had recorded a cover of Buddy Holly's “Not Fade Away.”

''I said, 'Hey, that was Buddy's song'," Keys recalled in Richards' memoir Life, published in 2010.

“Who are these pasty-faced, funny-talking, skinny-legged guys to come over here and cash in on Buddy's song?”

But once Keys listened more closely, he decided the Stones were playing 'actual rock and roll', an opinion the Stones more than shared about Keys.

He first recorded with the Stones in the late 1960’s, and toured and recorded with them off and on over the following decades.

While it was Keys' sax playing that had made him famous, he would soon become infamous for his nights of boozing and drug-taking.

Despite being a close friend of the Stones, he was allegedly banned from touring with the group for 10 years in 1973 after filling a bathtub full of Dom Perignon champagne, going for a dip, and then failing to make a show.

Around the same time he also sought help for his heroin addiction, which, according to his autobiography, he picked up after touring with Jagger.

Keys was not a full-time member of the Stones but frequently led the horn section when the band went into the studio or on the road.

He also helped the band work on seminal albums such as Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St. and Goats Head Soup.

During the making of Exile, Keys was also open about his drug and alcohol use, once saying: “Hell, yeah, there was some pot around, there was some whiskey bottles around, there was scantily clad women. Hell, it was rock'n'roll!”

Keith Richards also paid tribute (written no less), saying: “I have lost the largest pal in the world and I can't express the sense of sadness I feel, although Bobby would tell me to cheer up.”

No doubt about it, a true legend. RIP Bobby.

SNYDERMAN’S MEA CULPA --- It was Nancy Snyderman's first on-air appearance in a month and a half and she followed her talk with Matt Lauer by reporting a story on women and depression.

NBC had kept her off the air following an angry public reaction to her broken promise: After saying she'd stay in her New Jersey home until the danger for symptoms of the disease had passed, she was spotted in a car getting takeout food.

"I'm very sorry for not only scaring my community and the country, but adding to the confusion of terms that came as fast and furious as the news about Ebola," said Synderman, a surgeon who has worked for NBC News since 2006 after a long stint for ABC.

Snyderman had been reporting on the outbreak in Liberia in October and worked briefly with cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted the deadly virus. Mukpo came back to the United States for treatment and has since recovered, and no one else from NBC was infected.

Snyderman said she and fellow crew members were taking their temperatures several times a day to check to see if they were developing symptoms. But within 72 hours of agreeing to a 21-day quarantine, Snyderman left her home, compelling New Jersey authorities to then make her quarantine mandatory.

"We knew the risks in our heads," Snyderman, "but we didn't really appreciate and frankly were not sensitive to how absolutely frightened Americans were."

She said "Good people make mistakes and I stepped outside the boundaries of what I promised to do and what the public expected of me, and for that I'm sorry."

Snyderman said she would be willing to go back to Africa tomorrow to cover Ebola. Left unsaid was whether NBC would take her off the story given the furor over her violation. There was genuine doubt among NBC executives about whether Snyderman would be allowed to return at all.

NBC said Wednesday it was not commenting beyond Snyderman's interview.

More than 100 public comments about her apology were posted on the Today show website by early Wednesday afternoon. They were overwhelmingly negative, although there was some suggestion that she deserved some sympathy.

I know Nancy and I believe she deserves a second chance; everyone deserves a second chance.

STING’S SHIP --- I like Sting a lot, but I didn't love those early commercials for his Last Ship on Broadway. I called them at the time the equivalent of the Aqua Velva commercials with a rousing crowd singing an anthem.

Well, with Ship’s sales headed south, Sting himself is joining the cast on December 9. Their re-worked version of his “Show Some Respect” debuted at the Thanksgiving Day parade and I rather liked it.

Star Jimmy Nail’s part has been severely downsized, but it worked well. Will be interesting to see the Sting-effect … I think it’s a good idea.

There’s no one with more pure passion and charisma than Sting.

SPRINGING INTO ACTION-- I was watching the Jerry Springer show at the gym the other day and it occurred to me that the hardest job on that show … is being a security guard. One segment, with several different women and one guy, had the security team pummeled to and fro. Yikes … Our Editor James Edstrom was his studio photographer for years and says it was one of his best gigs. Said Edstrom, " I had more fun running around the set with Jerry Springer's PR Linda Shafran. Jerry adores her and all our ideas drew worldwide attention. Jerry and NBC  thought we were crazy half the time, but things worked with the old Chicago crew. Every idea was pure magic, because Shafran thinks out of the box. This is what makes a great Public Relations person."

CLOSING NOTES: Director Sam Mendes has just revealed the title for Bond 24 which will be entitled Spectre. Mendes made the announcement this morning from the legendary 007 stage at Pinewood where the film will shoot along with London, Rome, Mexico City, Tangier and the Austrian Alps. The newest cast members are confirmed as Christoph Waltz, Andrew Scott, David Bautista, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux. Daniel Craig returns as Bond along with Rory Kinnear as Tanner, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny and Ralph Fiennes as the new M …

SIGHTINGS --- Beth Stern and a gaggle of girl friends at Narcissa in The Standard Hotel; PR-pasha David Salidor at Bukhara.


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