There's a general acceptance that the Rolling Stones members have specific personalities and tastes; and Mick Jagger is the business mind, who steers the band into poppier mainstream territory while Keith Richards is the blues hound, keeping things mystical and artistically pure. And the two are so different that they fight – constantly. Not quite accurate, as it turns out.
"Yeah, it never works like that," Jagger told Mojo of the musical sides to the two songwriters who have helped drive the Stones's music for decades. "Like, originally, Keith was the pop person, really. I mean, I used to just write the lyrics to his pop tunes. And he wrote all these pop tunes, because he listened to The Beatles all the time, drove me crazy listening to The Beatles when we shared a flat together.
"Keith sort of left that behind in a way, but he wrote Ruby Tuesday, Let's Spend The Night Together – these were all Keith's songs. But yeah, people will say, 'Keith was the one that I liked the blues.'
Anyone who has heard Jagger and his blues harp on 2016's covers collection Blue And Lonesome will know the singer is still very much a bluesman when he wants to be. But he does note that he has an appreciation for dance and pop music now, whereas the guitarist doesn't care for it. But the idea their differences find them at regular loggerheads is also a media invention Richards is keen to set straight.
"I know how it looks," Keef told Mojo for its cover story, 'Oh Mick and Keith have had a fight'. But there's 15 years since the last fight. Say you and your brother decide to disagree about something? I mean, how many times in your lifetime? But of course when Mick and I have a disagreement, it's all over the place, ya know? And really it's just two normal brothers having spats and making up. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't have that capability and that respect for each other. I love the silly sod."
It's the duo that close their forthcoming album Hackney Diamonds alone, gathered around a single mic playing the Muddy Waters song that they took their name from; I'm a Rolling Stone. While Jagger sings and plays harmonica, Richards – on the suggestion of producer Andrew Watt – plays a 1940 Gibson L-4 acoustic guitar similar to the one Robert Johnson reportedly used. Mojo details how after struggling with the L-4's neck tension, Richards took the lead from Jonnson and placed a capo on the second fret, allowing him to tune down a full step for easier playability.
"It was almost like Keith was having a conversation with Robert Johnson," says Watt.
Find out more about the new issue of Mojo here. Hackney Diamonds is released on 20 October.