The 61-year-old veteran beat competition from young pretenders like Pete Doherty.
Charlotte Church also made the list - ahead of Oasis star Liam Gallagher.
Music channel VH1 asked rock fans to name the top 10 living hellraisers.
Richards came first, thanks to his legendary sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle during more than four decades of debauchery.
The guitarist is famed for his intake of cocaine, heroin, LSD and Jack Daniels.
“The things that would kill other people don’t kill me. I come from very tough stock,” Richards once said.
“Actually, I would take drugs quite responsibly,” he says. “A nice fix at breakfast, one for elevenses, and another one at teatime, it was like breaks at the cricket, or something.”
Second in the poll was Courtney Love, whose outrageous behaviour has landed her in a police cell on more than one occasion.
Ozzy Osbourne, who famously bit the head off a bat on stage, was third.
Crack addict Pete Doherty, boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss, came fourth.
Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and Sex Pistols star Johnny Rotten all made the list, as did Robbie Williams.
At 19 Charlotte Church is the youngest on the list, but her partying has put hardened hellraisers to shame.
Among her admirers is Liam Gallagher, who said: “She could be the next Liam. She knows how to get f**king hammered.”
Liam and his brother Noel complete the list at number 10.
1 Keith Richards
2 Courtney Love
3 Ozzy Osbourne
4 Pete Doherty
5 Shaun Ryder
6 Tommy Lee
7 Johnny Rotten
8 Robbie Williams
9 Charlotte Church
10 Liam and Noel Gallagher.