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life

The long-awaited autobiography of the guitarist, songwriter, singer, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Ladies and gentlemen: Keith Richards.With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the songs that roused the world, and he lived the original rock and roll life.Now, at last, the man himself tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane. Listening obsessivThe long-awaited autobiography of the guitarist, songwriter, singer, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Ladies and gentlemen: Keith Richards.With The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the songs that roused the world, and he lived the original rock and roll life.Now, at last, the man himself tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones's first fame and the notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as an outlaw folk hero. Creating immortal riffs like the ones in "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women." His relationship with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the U.S., isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Marriage, family, solo albums and Xpensive Winos, and the road that goes on forever.With his trademark disarming honesty, Keith Richard brings us the story of a life we have all longed to know more of, unfettered, fearless, and true....

Title : Life
Author :
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ISBN : 8887029
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 536 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Life Reviews

  • Petra X
    2018-08-22 16:42

    Edit A GR friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) has sent me a really good story about Keith's son Marlon, whom my friend knew well. I've posted it in the comments, msg. 67. ***7 star book!One of the best books I've read this year. Keith Richards was a clever kid, a talented artist, a choirboy who sang for the Queen and became an outstanding musician in one of the world's best bands. What is most on display in this book is his tremendous interest in music and musicians, not in rock, bands, money and fame - a lot of which he finds a bit of a pain but to be endured because that goes with the job. If you aren't fairly knowledgeable about music, blues in particular, there is going to be a lot of this book you are going to want to skip.What is also interesting is his drug use. We never hear the ins and outs of being a tremendously successful heroin junkie. No, the spin is always on those poor street people who will steal their own mother's wedding ring for the next fix as they are quite beyond work. Richards enjoys his drugs a lot and tells us exactly what it feels like to be high on them and how it helped his work. His main supplier is his best friend and partner in crime, the very flamboyant Freddie Sessler, a holocaust survivor and (handily) owner of pharmacies so he could supply medical grade cocaine and heroin, who travelled along with the Stones. There were other dealers to ensure that when the band arrived at their tour date, the drugs would be ready and waiting, always a difficult time for a junkie. The antics of the UK and especially US law enforcement officers to catch, entrap, imprison and get the Stones banned are hilarious as are the stories of Richards escaping them (most of the time). This is where money and being a big name helps! The story about Richards and Bobby Keys being got off a rap they had no defence against by the owner of Dole Pineapples is classic. (view spoiler)[He had first met Keith when he went into his daughter's bedroom one morning. He was very civilized about it and said to him, as one does, "If there's anything I can ever do for you..." And there was! (hide spoiler)]Richards also went cold turkey fairly often, not because he wanted to give up drugs but because he had to be clean and without the desperate need for drugs so he could enter various countries and tour with the band. These parts of the story are fairly harrowing to read, I really had no idea what cold turkey was really like but how it is very limited in time and can be endured. (Dr. Phil's Celebrity Rehab is more about Dr. Phil and the Celebrities than the rehab). When he actually decided to give up drugs, he made two attempts and that was it, gave them up thirty years ago.His sex life was a great deal less interesting than, say, Mick Jagger's,as he was the sort of man who fell passionately in love, and then did whatever he could to keep the relationship alive. Not that groupies were totally unknown to him but that sort of sex wasn't anything he ever sought out. His first marriage to the actress Anita Pallenberg fell apart due to his wife's uncontrolled (as opposed to his controlled) use of drugs, and he has been married for decades to his second wife, the model Patty Hansen, who has never used them. Essentially Keith is a man who questioned the system at every turn, but take away the surface and what you have left is a family man. His mother, a tremendously musical person herself, is in the story pretty constantly. For some years he raised his son, Marlon, alone (rather unconventionally taking him on tour), although he quite obviously cherishes all his children and has never, ever got over the loss of his baby son Tara, who died of cot death.But this man, this clever, sensitive, man, this lover of books, this chronicler of arguably the best rock band ever, this musician's musician had that other side too,the drug-taking, alcohol-sodden, irreverant, authority-bucking wild side, the man who took a lot of drugs and lived exactly as he pleased because he had the money to do so and continues to entertain us with his really great guitar licks. Rock on Keith, rock on.Although the book is ghost-written, it retains more of the voice of the author than it does of the ghost-writer which isn't always the case. But I don't recommend the audiobook. Johnny Depp, Keith's friend, reads well, but he can't sustain the right accent for long and it sounds somewhat fake with an American undertone. This might not annoy you, but it did me and I preferred the written word.

  • Ana
    2018-09-07 14:41

    I used up my nine lives long ago, but here I am. I'm still playing and I'm still rocking and still rolling. And I survived to tell this tale.Probably the best audiobook I've ever listened to. Actually this is the first and only audiobook I've listened to. It's narrated by Johnny Depp. A Keith Richards biography narrated by Johnny Depp. How cool is that!Mr Keef is no mystery to me. Victor Bockris's celebrated Keith Richards biography and The Rolling Stones : In The Beginning photograph collection by Bent Rej have a special place on my parent's bookshelf. So, the age old question... who is better, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The answer is, of course, (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)]To say Keith Richards has lived an interesting life would be an understatement. He puts the R in rock star. I can't think of anyone cooler than Keith Richards. Can you?I had to write this down. It's... oh just read it. There was a rare moment, in late 1984, of Charlie throwing his drummer's punch--a punch I've seen a couple of times and it's lethal; it carries a lot of balance and timing. He has to be badly provoked. He threw this one at Mick. We were in Amsterdam for a meeting. Mick and I weren't on great terms at the time, but I said, c'mon, let's get out. And I lent him the jacket I got married in. We got back to the hotel about five in the morning and Mick called up Charlie. I said, don't call him, not at this hour. But he did, and said, "Where's my drummer?" No answer. He puts the phone down. Mick and I were still sitting there, pretty pissed--give Mick a couple of glasses, he's gone--when, about twenty minutes later, there was a knock at the door. There was Charlie Watts, Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed, tie, shaved, the whole f*cking bit. I could smell the cologne! I opened the door and he didn't even look at me, he walked straight past me, got hold of Mick and said, "Never call me your drummer again." Then he hauled him up by the lapels of my jacket and gave him a right hook. Mick fell back onto a silver platter of smoked salmon on the table and began to slide towards the open window and the canal below it. And I was thinking, this is a good one, and then I realized it was my wedding jacket. And I grabbed hold of it and caught Mick just before he slid into the Amsterdam canal. It took me twenty-four hours after that to talk Charlie down. I thought I'd done it when I took him up to his room, but twelve hours later, he was saying, "F*ck it, I'm gonna go down and do it again." It takes a lot to wind that man up. "Why did you stop him?" My jacket, Charlie, that's why!There's only one more thing I really want to say. Keith Richards will outlive us all. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Steve
    2018-08-22 17:24

    I started listening to the Rolling Stones back in the early 1970s. “Hot Rocks” (an early “greatest hits collection – and still one of the best by any band), “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile on Main Street,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” etc. In terms of the group and its history, I caught them in their second wave, the one where they had morphed into the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” I saw the band once, during their “Tour of the Americas” tour (the one where Ron Wood joined the band). I hung with them up through “Emotional Rescue” – and I might of even had a cassette copy of “Dirty Work” (the agreed upon low point for the band) lying around on the floor of my car. Only recently have I been listening to a number of their late period albums (which are better than I would have thought, but a bit more on that later). In other words, I’m a fan. I have followed the group for quite a while, know (or thought I did) the old war stories, the fights, the music, on a level that was probably beyond that of a casual fan. Which is why I hesitated at first reading Richards’ autobiography. I figured I would be sentencing myself to over 500 pages of stories I had largely read about before. Well, on the long Memorial Day weekend I saw that the book was out in paperback, and thus no longer the size of a phone book. Richards’ kohl rimmed eye (beyond the skull ring and lit cigarette) stared back at me. I had too much time invested with this group. I had to read it. I’m glad I did. I’m not a big fan of rock bios, but Richards (along with his writer pal, James Fox), has crafted the best book of its kind that I have ever read. The only other rock memoir that I would put on the same shelf would be Dylan’s “Chronicles.” But that effort is still uncompleted, and due to Dylan’s own cryptic approach, less revealing. Richards, on the other hand, will tell you everything, from drugs, music, and sex, to how to cook “bargers.” Does he wander a bit? Sure, especially toward the end. But part of what makes this book so interesting is that it does capture Richards’ voice. As a reader, you feel as if you’re listening to a long, fascinating conversation. It can disgust you at times, but also surprise you. Outside of a silly near drug bust beginning in Arkansas (which for me underscored just how lucky Richards has been over the years), the book is told in a chronological way. The early chapters, focusing on Richards’ childhood, hooked me right away. These were very well done, painting a post World War II picture of Britain that seemed more a cultural history than a rocker’s bio. Richards’ exposure to music came early, in large part due to the bohemian lifestyle of one set of grandparents. One surprise was Richards singing in a school choir – and being pretty good at it, at least until his voice broke. Then come the Stones years. Mick (an old childhood friend), Brian, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and others, parade by on a quickly accelerating train to fame. One thing that struck me was how hard these guys worked at their music. Even then, Richards was surprised when fame came. As he tells it, “something happened.” One moment they were the opening act for the Everly Brothers, the next moment the screams were for them. He sensed the musical shift coming, but when it happened it was still a surprise. No doubt that other group down the road, the Beatles, noticed it even sooner. And it’s the Beatles, and their success, that make the Stones. The Stones, up to a certain point, were a cover band doing old blues numbers, and loving it. But their manager at the time, Andrew Lloyd Oldham, knew they had to do more, become original, in order to survive. At this point Richards and Jagger were shoved into a room and told to write a song. The chemistry was instant, probably already there due to a long established friendship that included a love of the same music. The songs, the hits, started coming, and at an amazing pace. The band was now a Jagger – Richards band. I may have enjoyed this part of the book the best, since Richards’ telling seems fresh. In addition, Richards takes occasional musical pauses, explaining how he learned to play this or that, and how it worked in X or Y song. I’m not a musician, so I don’t really know what he’s talking about, but taking a step back, you can see the man’s love of music on display.And then there are the drugs and the women. For Richards the perfect storm is Anita Pallenberg. Clearly he loved – and to some extent, still loves her (Richards is devoted to his women). But together they are also two addicts in love with heroin. Their relationship would produce three children. Two have grown up to be (against all odds) fairly normal, and one would die, sadly, from crib death (or neglect, it gets kind of fuzzy here). Pallenberg, a free (insane?) spirit, would film a movie with Mick, called “Performance.” There’s a brief affair between the two (rumored to be captured on film) that Keith finds out about later. In the book, Richards downplays this, saying he knew what Anita was like, but then childishly points out how he “had” Marianne Faithful (Jagger’s girlfriend), and then jumped out the window as Mick arrived. It’s a story that’s meant to wound. One personal trait that strikes you about Richards as you read on is that Richards is big on Loyalty. For those who want to find a fracture point with the Stones, I suggest that this, Jagger’s dalliance with Pallenberg, is it. I take Richards on his word regarding Anita, but it’s Jagger, his childhood friend, and what he did, that started the downward spiral between the two bandmates.I could go and on and on about this book. It’s a long book, a long history, and Richards tells it all. But the heart of the book is the relationship between Jagger and Richards. Throughout the book there is withering fire from Richards directed at Jagger. It’s not a black or white criticism however, since Richards often praises Jagger for his performances, his work ethic, his friendship. It’s an honest attempt to be honest. Less honest is Richards' treatment of his drug abuse problem. He pats himself on the back for beating smack, but does it in such a way that suggests he was always in control. This is junkie-speak. At one point he says, jaw droppingly, “I never really overdid it.” Even if Richards did beat his addiction, he merely substituted it for another: booze. In the late 70s and 80s, as Richards sunk more and more into drugs, Jagger began to exert more control of the band. He also started to look for an exit – via his own solo career. This is probably fracture point No. 2. Richards’ loyalty to the idea of the band, the Rolling Stones, is total (whatever that now means). Jagger’s attempt to start up his own career around the time “Dirty Work” came out, nearly ended the band. However, Jagger’s failure to get traction in his own career (his solo albums sucked), would lead to his return to the Stones. Interestingly, Richards’ solo efforts gathered some critical praise.Jagger’s return would also insure that the Rolling Stones would become very rich due to the new economics of touring (and Jagger's sharp eye). But for Richards, it’s not (so he says) about the money, but the music. Jagger would try and push the band into whatever (Richards says) Mick heard the previous night at the disco. Richards was/is the rocker who wanted to stay that way. Most critics would agree when actually looking at the later Stones albums (excepting possibly the last one, “Bigger Bang,” which strangely felt like a true band effort). These albums are hodge-podge affairs, with Jagger and Richards going to their separate corners, doing “their” songs, and then slapping a Stones tongue on it. I would argue that these are not really band efforts anymore. Oh, both Jagger and Richards are professional enough to crank out some good songs, but the album “feel” seems gone. Richards’ insistence regarding the band being true to it, seems anymore hollow – unnecessary. He’s probably doing more interesting things musically on his own. (Check out (on Youtube) his duet with George Jones on "Say It's Not You." He really should try doing a country album.) On the home front, Richards is happily married, a family man. He falls out of trees. He snorts his dad’s ashes. He likes dogs. Reads history. I just wish he would pick up the phone and call his “friend” a friend again. He still calls Jagger his brother (and I believe him – this is not an empty statement from Richards). Well, that’s what a brother should do.Note: If you decide to read this book, I highly recommend that you read rock critic Bill Wyman’s (not the Stone) mock Jagger reply letter to the Richards’ book that appeared in Slate. It serves as an excellent counterpoint to many of Richards’ claims (and it’s also a piece of brilliant writing). I’m not taking sides, which is why I suggest that you read it. I love them both, and I’m thankful for all the good music.http://www.slate.com/id/2273611/

  • F.R.
    2018-09-10 19:37

    Keith Richards’ autobiography starts really well and holds that momentum for a long time; although when it reaches the period covering the Eighties it does fall somewhat into score settling, and after that becomes somewhat bland and without spark. As such you have to hand it to this book, it really does mirror The Rolling Stones’ career.Ghost writer James Fox does a fantastic job of catching his master’s voice. No doubt Keef was sat down in front of a microphone and told to talk about his life into tape after tape after tape, but from there Fox has managed to create a seamless narrative whilst rendering the subject’s personality. It really does seem as if Keith Richards is talking to you, sharing all his best anecdotes in his avuncular growl – all the time throwing around such terms as ‘cat’, ‘babe’, ‘bitch’ and so on. (I imagine the audiobook of this would be a real treat.) There are some odd points: for example, the book never addresses the fact that for the first fifteen years of his career Keith Richards was known as Keith Richard. I always assumed that Andrew Loog Oldman (their then manager) tipping his cap to the far softer British rock’n’roll icon Cliff Richard. But there is no real tackling of The Peter Pan of Pop, apart from Keith seeming to take glee in Cliff’s run of British hits ending when he decided to record a Jagger/Richards track.Part of the problem with this book losing steam is that I think Richards appreciates that after ‘Start Me Up’, the Stones never produced another great song. As such those later sessions do not have the attention to detail that he gives to ‘Exile on Main Street’ or ‘Let It Bleed’. He does however give a spirited defence against charges of the band selling out with their mega-tours, just saying that they want to play music and this is the best way to do it. And after spending six hundred pages with the man, it’s hard to begrudge him that love of performing. Particularly as the majority of people who buy this book will certainly consider buying a ticket the next time the Stones hit the road.

  • Velvetink
    2018-09-21 15:47

    Growing up in Dartford for Keith – was somewhere to get out of. After WWII it was pungent with horse manure & desperation and he never forgot the story that he was born in an air raid shelter. It wasn’t London. It wasn’t hip or cool - it was the backside of the wrong side of the tracks. But when his father Gus gave him an old wooden guitar and showed him a few chords and licks, London loomed closer. Especially after he could play “Malaguena” and managed to escape National Service – that great cloud hanging over a whole generation of English teenagers and Dartford Technical College.This autobiography is really massive, too many decades to cover in a review & many have already so I will only mention a few things that stood out for me. I’ve not read any other Stones biographies before although know they are out there & which document many of the tensions and dramas the band has had over the decades. Keith met Jagger in 1961. They would hang out in seedy record stores waiting for the next consignment of Blues and Jazz records to arrive from Chicago, listen to them and try to work out how to play them & learn how to write songs like that. For Richards, the Blues is the core and basis of his Life. He talks eloquently about the blues. I was enthralled. I had a totally different idea of Keith, certainly not one so articulate (even if the book is co-written by James Fox). Keith knows how to talk about music – he’s not unable to express what music means to him or how he arrived at a certain tune and I know many who can’t. He exists not in the light blues spectrum but that very dank swamp kind of blues. He loves John Lee Hooker, Muddy and Lee & Berry. He talks about many early English bands that influenced him such as the likes of Alexis Korners’ Blues Band, who had Cyril Davis playing blues harp & his later R&B “All Stars”. Jamming at the Earling Club (a traditional jazz club) is where he met Brian Jones . Rather than focus on all the drug fecked times Keith had (and the book contains a testament of his usage), it was the many small things he mentioned that impressed me and made me smile, like his memories of his first amp that he re-wired from his mother’s radio and his description of his De Armond pickup that always needed soldering during gigs. Things like that made me realise how easy it is these days to learn to play a song – with the internet for lyrics and chords and software programs like “Garage Band” where you don’t even have to own an instrument and everyone thinks they can become a rock star. He recounts the Stones first record deal with Decca and the first recording studio at Olympic Studios with the then state of the art equipment (walls with egg cartons and a fairly basic Grundig tape recorder). Wannabee’s should take note. It takes perseverance, a lot of love and dedication & invention. Keith heard and played with a lot of awesome jazz musicians at the Earling and T-Bone Walker (of Chuck Berry’s 50’s band) was one of those. T-Bone was one of the first to use the double string thing and Keith found it worked for him and became something of a signature to his playing. You can’t play some of the Stones’ music without that double guitar string. It just does not sound right.A lot has been said about Keith’s addictions and his relationship with Anita Pallenberg before this (and he’s fairly candid about most of it in "Life".) The journalist Bill Wyman (not the Stones Bill Wyman) http://www.slate.com/id/2273611/ has his bitch about “Life” with a few decidedly cutting remarks regarding the death of Keith’s 3rd child (cot death) and blaming Keith for it – which I felt beyond the pale when at the time Keith was on tour with the Stones and the death occurred under Pallenberg’s care.Anita was perhaps more an addict than Keith and while I cannot say what her demons were, I don’t think that Keith used drugs in the same way – he didn’t have any of the same kind of mental tortures & childhood regrets that fuel the usual addict. He does go into the reasons he used and for the most part were either for endurance or to sleep. Like a tool which I believe. And he was honest about his efforts at rehab. He doesn’t gloss over any of it. He admits getting clean was hell and he did it at home with just the help of his manager Jane Rose – the two of them locked in a room till he dried out. Warning more than once to kids not to do drugs. I felt he had a phenomenal memory until I realised co-writer James Fox must have also done a lot of research and hung around with Keith just talking for hours to unearth so much material. But also Keith kept journals all throughout his life something I find admirable considering his years of addiction. In all I found him a really likable and open guy. For all the so-called dissent and rifts between Keith & Mick and Brian, Keith always gives them their due praises all through the book. He loves Mick, and loves playing with the Stones after all these years. That’s saying something.“Life” documents much of the Stone’s history I’ll not repeat here for brevity, and his meeting and marrying Patti and their life together now. Throughout the book there are cameo stories by many people associated with Keith and they reinforce my impression that essentially despite Keith’s typical drug ravaged face he’s an ok good guy & someone I could sit down with and chat and not feel demeaned by.I think it telling he’s been able to continually collaborate on other endeavours besides the Stones. In films and with other musicians including getting other touring bands like the X-pensive Winos together and working with Norah Jones etc.. He’s nowhere near washed up as some like to portray. He’s survived major brain surgery as well…he has some beautiful kids & family he’s dedicated to and a library to die for (in which he fell off a ladder looking for a book) that resulted in an intracranial haemorrhage).Well just go read the book. There is much I left out. Includes some great photos too.“I’m good at pulling a bunch of guys together. If I can pull a bunch of useless Rastas into a viable band and also the Winos, a decidedly unruly band of men, I’ve got something……….it’s not a matter of cracking the whip, it’s a matter of just sticking around and doing it. So they know you’re in there……..it’s not a matter of who’s No.1. It’s what works”. - KR

  • Kp
    2018-08-25 20:21

    It was fascinating! If you have always loved The Rolling Stones and rock and roll and have a lot of nostalgia about the 60's... then I think you'd find Keith Richards memoir fascinating, too. It is long, but most of the time, well, I was just blown away hearing about all the stuff Keith Richards did. He has a great conversational style; listening was fun - kind of like sitting in the living room hearing him tell about his life (with help from Johnny Depp and one other reader.) What really shines through is his absolute love of music as well as his totally undisciplined and wild, wild life style. I liked it toward the end when he tells about how Tony Blair wrote him a get well letter (after an accident) and said, "Dear Keith, You've always been one of my heroes..." Then Keith says, "England's in the hands of someone I'm the hero of? That's frightening." I also liked the ending when he sits on the end of his dying mom's bed and plays Malaguena for her. That was one of the first songs he learned at the beginning of the book, so it seemed to be a good frame for the ending... and kind of touching.

  • Madeline
    2018-08-31 14:47

    "It was 1975, a time of brutality and confrontation. Open season had been declared since our last tour, the tour of '72, known as the STP. The State Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex (whatever that is), and violence across the United States. All the fault of us, mere minstrels. We had been inciting the youth to rebellion, we were corrupting America, and they had ruled never to let us travel in the United States again. It had become, in the time of Nixon, a serious political matter. He had personally deployed his dogs and dirty tricks against John Lennon, who he thought might cost him an election. We, in turn, they told our lawyer officially, were the most dangerous rock-and-roll band in the world." I am definitely not the intended audience for this book. I like the Rolling Stones, certainly, and I knew their music before I could identify the band (I have a distinct memory of my dad singing "Paint It Black" to me when I was much too young to have any idea who the Rolling Stones were), but I wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore fan. I didn't see the Stones in their prime - my generation knows them mostly as a group of awesome, elderly rockers who simply refuse to pack it in and retire. Keith Richards himself came onto my radar very late - in fact, and here I will preemptively duck from the objects that are about to be thrown at me by anyone born before 1980 - I think the first time I heard about Keith Richards was when I learned that he was the person Johnny Depp had based Jack Sparrow on. So obviously, this book was not written for me and I probably had no business reading it in the first place. However, driven by curiosity and armed with a superficial knowledge of the Stones and an earnest love of Almost Famous, I plunged in. I mean, how can you resist an opening like the one I quoted above?In a purely technical sense, this book is very badly written. The narrative wanders from one subject to another, events aren't kept in chronological order, and Richards uses fragment sentences like they're going out of style. But the thing is, it works. I got the sense that the writing process for this book was just Keith Richards free-associating into a recorder for several hours, and the resulting tapes were written down verbatim. Richards' voice comes through clearly in every word, and it's a great experience. Reading the book is like listening to your foul-mouthed, slightly confused grandfather tell you stories - they don't always make sense, and sometimes you have no idea what he's saying, but your grandfather happens to be the most awesome person alive, so you're going to shut up and pay attention to everything he says. The book is full of dirt on the Rolling Stones, the tours, and lots of helpful advice about buying drugs and then concealing them on your person. Random bits are tossed in, like Richards' recipe for bangers and mash ("I only just found out from this lady on TV that you have to put bangers in a cold pan") and instructions on winning a knife fight ("The big rules of knife fighting are (a) do not try it at home, and (b) the whole point is never, ever use the blade. It is there to distract your opponent. While he stares at the gleaming steel, you kick his balls to kingdom come - he's all yours. Just a tip!"). He also lets other people tell stories, too - every now and then he'll break off and include a few paragraphs written by someone else (like his manager, his son, and once Kate Moss) describing their perspective on whatever Richards is talking about.But the best part, the very best, is when Richards is talking about music. He might be crazy, he might be a recovering junkie, he might be sexist (oh, we'll get there), but this man loves music. He loves playing music, listening to music, and talking about music. While I was reading this I started wishing that I knew how to play the guitar, because the detail he goes into about chords and playing techniques is incredible and went right over my head. Reading about how Keith Richards feels about music is what makes this book worth reading - when he stops talking about Mick drama and drugs and chicks, and just focuses on the music. Here's him talking about the first time he heard "Heartbreak Hotel":"Then - 'Since my baby left me' - it was just the sound. It was the last trigger. That was the first rock and roll I heard. It was a totally different way of delivering a song, a totally different sound, stripped down, burnt, no bullshit, no violins and ladies' choruses and schmaltz, totally different. It was bare, right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn't yet heard. I've got to take my hat off to Elvis for that. The silence is your canvas, that's your frame, that's what you work on; don't try to deafen it out. That's what 'Hearbreak Hotel' did to me. It was the first time I'd heard something so stark."In fact, the only time this book isn't awesome reading is when Keith Richards talks about women, and worse, attempts to address the misogyny in rock and roll. "...many of the songs we wrote around this time had what you might call anti-girl lyrics - anti-girl titles too. 'Stupid Girl,' 'Under My Thumb,' 'Out of Time,' 'That Girl Belongs to Yesterday'...Maybe we were winding them up. And maybe some of the songs opened their hearts a little, or their minds, to the idea of we're women, we're strong. But I think the Beatles and the Stones particularly did release chicks from the fact of 'I'm just a little chick.'"Okay, Grandpa Keith, that's very nice, but you need to sit down now. Have a caramel square and shut up for a minute. Keith Richards, I learned from this book, only likes women when they do everything for him. All the women who get described favorably in this book have one thing in common: they would follow the Rolling Stones around and literally take care of them. Richards' first love, a girl named Haleema, is well-regarded because she and her friends would come to the apartment where the Stones lived and clean the place up and cook for them. Keith's favorite past chicks, including his current wife, are the ones who cooked breakfast for him. Richards wants women to take care of him (Mommy issues ahoy!), but does not appreciate having to do the same for them. Here he is discussing Mick Jagger's many infidelities and having to deal with the stupid whores who came crying to poor Keith about it:"They end up crying on my shoulder because they've found out that he has once again philandered. What am I gonna do? Well, it's a long ride to the airport, honey; let me think about it. The tears that have been on this shoulder, from Jerry Hall, from Bianca, from Marianne, Chrissie Shrimpton...They're ruined so many shirt of mine. And they ask me what to do! How the hell do I know? I don't fuck him!"Grandpa Keith, I said sit down. Do you need another caramel square?Women aren't very present in this book, but that's expected: this is about rock and roll, and the love of music, and the rise (and continued rise) of a truly great group that revolutionized music. Some of it doesn't make any sense, some of it is ugly and sad, but all of it is incredible, and ultimately worth the read.

  • Tosh
    2018-08-23 19:42

    Bob Dylan's memoir is a classic. Patti Smith's memoir "Just Kids" a classic. "Life" by Keith Richards not a classic but a really really OK book. But me writing that I really wanted it to be a great rock n' roll classic book and "Life" maybe grand, but great it isn't.It's obvious that Richards is writing (or co-writing) this for the fans out there. Every question and thought regarding the Rolling Stones long history is answered or dealt with - yet for that reason it strikes me as a book done in numbers and not passion or through the enjoyment of putting a book together.Also to be honest there is some major flaws in Keith Richards' character. For one he has this gang mentality in keeping the band together and having people loyal around him - yet if it doesn't serve his purpose (or in his eyes the band) then it is tossed off the train that is his life. His drug taking for sure caused major headaches for the band - so it is kind of a shug when you hear him complain about Brian Jones' problems with the chemicals. For one, Keith likes to believe that he was the worst enemy of the establishment, but that is his ego talking. From day one he was part of the pop machinery that churns out pop as in a factory. The Stones were brilliant - but I think that has a lot to do with the talents of their first manager and record producer Andrew Loog Oldham, Jack Nitzsche, Brian Jones, Phil Spector and the original blues singers that inspired them. When Keith got into Heroin he lost the pilot. And for good with respect to consistent music making. The mid-70's Stones had a few good groove songs, but in the 60's they were really on fire. The 80's, 90's and the 21st Century? Not even worth mentioning. Also reading this book I sort of feel sorry for Mick Jagger. Which is weird to me. For someone who was totally devoted to the band, Keith for sure lost the desire to make interesting music in the late 70's. Right now he sort of positioned himself as a rebel, but he's a rebel that has been part of the conservative establishment for awhile now. So when we admire Keith Richards it is not really the man, but more what we as a culture think he is. And for me this memoir blows a big hole in that myth.Nevertheless it is an interesting document and a great importance to the Rolling Stones library - but ironically enough there are better Stones' books out there and in print as well.

  • Jennifer
    2018-09-06 18:32

    A no-holds-barred autobiography from one of the original bad boys of rock & roll.Keith Richards jokes are legion, but after listning to this audio book, it's no joke acknowleding that this guy has more lives than a darn cat. Car crashes, knife fights, gun skirmishes, not to mention all the drugs, booze and jail stints -- any one of these might have put an end to any one else, but this guy just keeps on rolling.This is a long book -- and will be made longer still because if you're anything like me you'll want to pause the audio or set down the book to queue up all those great Stones songs mentioned, or to look up some of the crazy characters mentioned along the way (just who the heck is Uschi Obermaier and was she really that beautiful??) Personally, I found the book a bit too rambling at times, and much too detailed about the actual musical techniques (muscians might appreciate this; however, the specifics were lost on me). What is clear, and where I gained a new appreciation for the man, is how committed Richard is to music. He's loved it since the first time he picked up a guitar and it's his life's passion. He seems to know as much about Mozart concertos as he does about Otis Redding. Despite the fame and fortune brought on by the success of The Rolling Stones, one definitely gets the sense in this book that if Richards had found a way to make a living simply playing music in the clubs without having a "day job" he would have been just as happy. For him it's always been about the music. 3.5 stars rounded up.

  • Allyson
    2018-08-28 13:34

    What can I say?I am a fervent Stones fan, more of a Mick than Keith although Andrew loves Keef and has shown me the "way." But it is the combination of the group that makes the band, and the times they have lived through. KR makes this abundantly clear throughout Life and is at times all possible sides of a character: arrogant, nasty, mean, kind, loving, fun, crazy, menacing, clueless, dangerous, and incredibly talented while still being very modest. This book is amazing, sounds just like him with some tidying up no doubt by James Fox, but what an incredible feat. For anyone to write about their life, let alone someone like KR with the life he has led is an acheivement worth applauding, and in this case enjoying.It is so thrilling that Janet Maslin, Liz Phair, and Michiko Kakutani all so favorably reviewed and loved this book. The snippiness of David Remnick in The New Yorker reflects more on Remnick than it does on KR.I believe this book appeals to anyone interested in music, a musical life, and reverance for the art of making music. Being a Stones fan seals the deal.Just great!

  • David Cerruti
    2018-09-02 17:47

    5 stars for the music – the best part. Guitarists will appreciate the description of how Keith came up with 5 string open G tuning, which he often used. *4 stars for historical detail.2 stars for long rambling tales of drug use and the resulting busts. Much of it sounds like Keith talking to a tape recorder. It wasn’t all boring. The keystone cops and courtroom episodes were funny. The Stones had some good lawyers. Anyone else would have gone to jail.A bonus star for the inserts – short narratives written by others. All sorts of people wrote anecdotes from their points of view. It worked well. There’s even one by the brain surgeon who operated on Keith in New Zeeland after he fell from a tree in Fiji.*[edit 12-9-2014] Another book, Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, by Paul Trynka, Oct., 2014, challenges some of the details in Life.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...Here is an excerpt from a review in the NY Times, Nov. 16, 2014:In “Life,” Mr. Richards describes his discovery of the blues-tinged open G guitar tuning, familiar from hits like “Honky Tonk Women” and “Start Me Up,” as life changing, and says it came to him via Ry Cooder in the late 1960s. But Mr. Trynka notes that Jones often played in that tuning from the band’s earliest days and quotes Dick Taylor, an original member of the Stones, as saying, “Keith watched Brian play that tuning, and certainly knew all about it.”http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/art...

  • Gary
    2018-08-21 19:27

    Ok, Keith Richards.... ever since I first heard SATISFACTION on my little portable AM radio....I have loved the Stones. I had to have been 12 years old or so.....I have listened,and loved their music to the present. I had heard the stories,and knew that drug use, etc.etc. etc. but there was a lot about Keith that I didn't know.This book thrilled me...parts of it I loved. Parts I found tedious. Parts made me laugh.....other parts really pissed me off .....pissed off at Keith....How could he act like that,and with children.....??????But I kept going.... and just finished it. In the end , Keith is not a bad bloke, he's quite the mate...... love him or hate him....the man did not have a boring life.If you are a Stones fan....read this bio. But understand this....it's written as a narrative....like Keith just talks into a tape recorder about his thoughts, his dreams, his wild audaicious behaviors....but in the end the man made music,and he made it quite well.Worth your time....just stick with it... is all I can say.....Now on to STEVEN TYLER'S BIO? Stay tuned...... it's the Ed Sullivan show...." A really big show tonight!"gary

  • Cindy
    2018-09-18 16:48

    I want this book to stay on my book shelf even though I am not going to waste my time finishing it. I didn't want to delete it so I knew no other way to give my review but to give it some kind of star and to say that I had read it without getting "You started Life so many days ago" from my GoodReads newsletter. I DO NOT recommend this book to anybody. Not even a die hard Rolling Stones fan. Everything I wanted to find out about the Stones in this book, just wasn't there. Poorly written, poorly edited. I am the type of reader who just has to finish any book that I start. But recently at a book retreat when we were priveledged to have the author of our book, "I am not a Serial Killer", Dan Wells came to speak to all of us women. He made the comment, and this is not word for word, but has stayed on my mind since. Don't waste your time on a book that you are not enjoying. So there Keith. I hated your book and will not waste another second on trying to finish. That is all I have to say on that.

  • James Thane
    2018-09-12 16:35

    I rarely read books by or about celebrities, but I will make the occasional exception if the celebrity in question has written a song as great as "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain," or (as in this case) "Satisfaction."Keith Richards lays out the story of his life from very humble beginnings to mega success as a founding member of one of the world's greatest--and longest running--rock 'n' roll bands. It's been quite a ride, and given the drugs and other abuse the man has inflicted upon himself, it's almost impossible to imagine that he's lasted this long. Somehow he has, though, and even at the age of sixty-eight, he's still playing better, rocking harder, and apparently having more fun than rockers one-third his age.This is pretty much a no-holds-barred memoir that details Richards' relations with his band mates, particularly of course, Mick Jagger. Richards describes unflinchinly the drugs, the women, and the brushes with the law that seem to inevitably accompany life in a lane as fast as this one. It sounds honest and heartfelt; at times it's hilarious and at others sad, but mostly it sounds like the man himself. Even though the book was written with a collaborator, James Fox, every page sounds like the voice of Keith Richards, at least as you might imagine it after listening for years to the man's music.Long-time Stones' fans will delight in the discussions of the music and revel in the details of the band members' relationships through the years. Even casual music lovers though, should enjoy this book that not only provides the best insider's view of the Rolling Stones that we are ever likely to get, but which also gives us an intimate view of the life of a most interesting man.

  • Abeer Hoque
    2018-09-05 21:51

    I picked this book up because it was lying around the art colony where I was living for a month, and because NYT op-ed columnist, Maureen Dowd, of all people, had said Keith Richards had come off surprisingly chivalrously (high praise for a free swinging rock and roll star). "Life" by Keith Richards, the guitarist for the British band the Rolling Stones, starts off like some druggie teenage wet dream, all groupies and pills and party attitude. Now, I'm a wannabe druggie teenager, and I was put off. Don't be (or skip this chapter). The next one starts at the beginning, with Mr. Richards as a young boy, being raised by his plain spoken often desperately poor single mother. It pans through his teenage years where he is bullied something fierce, fights back, learns art, and then music, and alongside his growing obsession with the Chicago blues, meets Mick Jagger at the train station with a pile of blues records under his arm, and the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, there's name dropping, there's bitching about the bitches, and even more sniping about his much later fall out with Mick Jagger, but if you can forgive all that, "Life" is an education, and a lively, colloquial, sharp, and unapologetic one, about the blues, about England in the 60's, America in the 70's and 80's, about how politics and government intersect with the music world (I would never have guessed this level of opprobrium), and mostly about the intensity and single mindedness and undeniable talent it would take to become the kind of musician and composer that Mr. Richards is. Even though I didn't understand half what he meant when describing say, open five string tuning, or mastering blues licks, these passages were among my favourite parts of the book. Here's an example:"You were forcing acoustic guitars through a cassette player, and what came out the other end was electric as hell. An electric guitar will jump live in your hands. It's like holding on to an electric eel. An acoustic guitar is very dry and you have to play it a different way. But if you can get that different sound electrified, you get this amazing tone and this amazing sound. I've always loved the acoustic guitar, loved playing it, and I thought, if I can just power this up a bit without going to electric, I'll have a unique sound. It's got a little tingle on the top."For me, it was like reading another language, one I completely understood, on an emotional level, but had never spoken. A lot of his treatises on music making resonated with writing. I never knew there was a term for what poets do naturally when matching up sounds to write a poem: following vowel movements. It's what lyricists do as well - first the sound, then the meaning. Mr. Richards puts it perfectly and plainly: "There are some people looking to play guitar. There's other people looking for a sound. I was looking for a sound."With no formal training, he learns his craft by listening obsessively to records, and playing them himself. (He doesn't ever stop doing this.) I didn't know the Stones spent years doing covers, and that their original numbers came only after he and Mick Jagger were locked inside the kitchen by their manager, and told they couldn't leave until they had written a song. Even then, their first few songs were written for other singers, other bands. It's no wonder then that he doesn't walk a straight path, even and especially when it comes to a purity like music:"There's a throw-in, a flick-back. Nothing's ever a straight major. It's an amalgamation, a mangling and a dangling and a tangling thing. There is no 'properly.'"And he gives the in between its full due, the spaces inside songs: "It was listening to John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley that made me realise that silence was the canvas."I didn't know the extent of my ignorance of the blues and folk musicians of America (or how the Stones, in emulating them, introduced them (back) to their own countrymen). My notes while reading this book are filled with songs I have to listen to, and musicians whose names I know but whose music is a (shameful) mystery: Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Keys, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Elvis, Gram Parsons, Etta James, Willie Nelson. I've also added three films to my list: Barbarella, Performance, and Scorsese's Shine a Light.It's no secret Mr. Richards functioned and dysfunctioned under a long standing heroin and coke addiction. He topped the list of rock & rollers most likely to die, for 10 years running! In "Life," he describes his chemical excesses in the same straightforward manner as anything else - something to do, then something he had to do, then something he had to stop doing. No glorification, and certainly not when drugs came to snobbery:"It was that cliquishness. People who were stoned on something you hadn't taken. Their elitism was total bullshit. Ken Kesey's got a lot to answer for."Aside from his occasional use of the word bitches to describe women in general, and a sometime careless manner ("you've got to hit it when you're hungry"), Maureen Dowd was right. Mr. Richards is a bit of a (pirate) gentlemen. He has had his share of the ladies, but he doesn't kiss and tell (much), and what he does say is quite tender, snuggling, loving, keeping. His two major loves were Anita Pallenberg, who he was with for 12 years and with whom he had three children (the third died in infancy), and Patti Hansen, who he's been with for coming up on 30 years, and with whom he had two more kids. He is loyal to a fault when it comes to his friends, and treats friendship as one of the most sacred relationships, "a diminishing of distance between two people."And he is unstinting with his praise, from his heroes of old to the talents of today. It's likely that this generous spirit, and Mr. Richards' standing as one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in rock & roll, led these musical luminaries, one by one, to become his friends and his collaborators. Among the many greats that Mr. Richards has played with, Tom Waits had this to say: "I think that nowadays there seems to be a deficit of wonder. And Keith seems to still wonder about this stuff. He will stop and hold his guitar up and just stare at it for a while. Just be rather mystified by it. Like all the great things in the world, women and religion and the sky... you wonder about it, and you don't stop wondering about it."Lovely. This is why I believe Mr. Richards when he says, "I'm not here just to make records and money. I'm here to say something and to touch other people, sometimes in a cry of desperation: "Do you know this feeling?""I do.

  • Alex
    2018-08-29 13:32

    If it hadn't been for the murder, we'd have thought it a very smooth gig.That's a wild thing to say, first because it happened, and second because this is what he says about it. And that's the flavor of this memoir, which amounts to the most intricate junkie's excuse ever written. After lunch I headed for the Londonderry Hotel to celebrate. There, unfortunately, the bedroom caught fire...it was faulty wiring in the room. But who would believe that?Well, I might have the first couple times, but this is at least the fourth time his room has caught fire. He takes credit for one of them. (Sorry, Hugh Hefner!) But car crashes, arrests, deaths, addictions...Keith Richards has an excuse for all of it.So he's a twat. Don't pick this book up hoping to like Keith Richards. Mick Jagger comes in for some brutal vitriol, and I'm sure he's a twat too, but ask yourself this: What kind of person, engaged in a tremendously successful 50-year partnership, writes a book slagging his partner off? But you pick it up for the stories, for the life. Keith Richards is one of the pioneers of the debauched rock star existence, and of course his existence at all is a scientific miracle. He has stories upon stories, and many of them are interesting. And he has a lot to teach about guitar. I've played guitar most of my life, and my favorite parts of this book are when he talks about music, which he hears and understands deeply and passionately. So that's why I can't play Stones songs: he's using open tuning and he took one of his strings off. He gets into a detailed description of how and why that simplified tuning frees him, and you're like oh. He also makes the best argument for slinging your guitar low I've ever heard, but he's still wrong - that's an idiotic thing to do - so, y'know, your mileage may vary but it's interesting to hear. Early on he dissects one lick in the background of one bar of an Elvis Presley song for an entire page, just paying homage to Scotty Moore who played it. I love it.So he is brilliant, and he's tripped over some wisdom. "It's impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were," he says. At one point he cites Voltaire and Pasternak over the course of two pages. But like many celebrities, he's been convinced that his cute tics are actually cute tics, and they are not. Most glaringly, he's one of those assholes who thinks he's so post-sexism and post-racism that he can say sexist and racist things because he's earned the right. "Feminists didn't like ['Some Girls'] either. We always liked to piss them off. Where would you be without us?" he asks, and it's hard to imagine what he thinks the answer is. Elsewhere, "Then they told me that I was not actually white. To the Jamaicans...I'm black but I've turned white to be their spy." Sigh. He argues that he loves women and black people, he's just beyond politeness; that's a familiar argument and there's a kernel of truth in it. But at the same time...what if you were to try neither acting nor talking like an asshole? Why is that so hard?And in any case, he is an asshole, a world-class one. A junkie and a petty backstabber and a schmuck. Come for the stories; don't come for the man.

  • Perry
    2018-09-21 18:47

    I tend to oversimplify, but if a photo can say a thousand words, two can say a million. I'm no Mick Jagger fan, but Keith Richards' gratuitous slams on Jagger in this narcissistic memoir show he aged just as poorly inside.

  • Jason Rabin
    2018-09-18 14:36

    Easily the most entertaining book I have ever read.

  • Robin
    2018-09-03 14:38

    Did y'all know that Keith Richards is a huge booklover and once wanted to be a librarian? Aug - I finally decided this was the quintessential summer read so read it on our camping trips. Having been a fan since the Stones first came on the scene (I vacillated between loving them and the Beatles) I was interested in learning more about the early days and how he has managed to stay alive (we are all aware that he looks like the living dead). I also wanted to know more about the song writing process and was a little disappointed that there weren't more details, but what he did write was fascinating. There was way more information about his drug use and busts than I really cared to spend time reading but he did talk lovingly about his personal library and favorite authors which warmed my heart. He also came across as a fairly lovable and caring fellow although he could get himself into some pretty good scraps. He was also honest about his relationship with Jagger even describing Mick's lack of, well, a few of his attributes.All in all I enjoyed reading this although I did skim parts of it but do have to admit he has a way with phrases and words. I took off a star as he could have used a better editor, but then “Keef” is a pretty tough bugger and would probably kick any editor’s ass that tried to shorten his ramblings.

  • Linda Wells
    2018-09-01 15:32

    I am tremendously impressed by this book. Keith Richards goes into great detail about his childhood, the difficulties he faced growing up, and how he became the successful musician that he is today. He writes in a natural style and reveals many private moments that are touching, painfully honest and real. He recalls how he first met Mick Jaggar, and how their musical collaboration created the magic and unique style of the legendary rock group, the Rolling Stones. Many facets of the book were surprising, such as the negative reception they were first given when they performed in the US. As their popularity grew, they became somewhat friendly with their rivals, The Beatles, agreeing to perform on different weekends so that both bands had an equal share of their fans. Richards describes his love affair with Ronnie Spector, of Ronnie and the Ronnettes. He says, "The first time I went to Heaven, I awoke with Ronnie....." You will be amazed as you look into the private world of this iconic performer. Enjoy the great ride you'll take while reading Life!

  • Bill
    2018-08-25 14:44

    very entertaining book about the life of keith richards...and what a life he's had. the book is billed as an autobiography although he had help from another writer.there is a lot of interesting stuff about the stones' early days when they just wanted to be a blues band, and quite a few tips on how he plays which would be helpful to musicians.then of course they became the biggest band in the world, and a large part of the book is devoted to his battling with various drug addictions, especially heroin, from which he says he's been clean for almost 30 years. not coincidentally, that's pretty much the same length of time he's been married to his wife patti, so she obviously has had a good effect on him.and of course a lot of the book talks about the music, and if you're a rock and roll fan you can't deny that the rolling stones did some great stuff, especially in the early years, although sticky fingers is my favorite album of theirs.anyway, if you're a fan of rock music in general or of the stones in particular, you'll enjoy this book.

  • Luís C.
    2018-09-19 20:43

    I quote a comment made by me during my reading of this book:This book has everything to do with the typical stories of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. A truly immersive reading about a real rock band. Worth reading.And a person that immensely contributed to the emerging of The Rolling Stones as a band.Still liked the Stones!

  • Book Haunt
    2018-09-06 13:21

    It's only rock~n~roll.... This book is pure entertainment! “Life” is a very intimate portrait which is funny, sad, heart-felt and full of great rock-and-roll debauchery! Keith’s awe and respect for fellow musicians along with his great love of making music come through on every page. This bio covers everything from Keith’s family life and his time as a Boy Scout to his song-writing style, life on the road, heroin addiction, knife-fighting tips and his favorite recipe for bangers and mash! Oh, and you can't possibly forget his "marriage" to Etta James! I found myself reading excerpts out loud to the family. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a lover of rock-and-roll.

  • Paul
    2018-09-20 21:43

    While I've always been a Stones fan, I've never really taken part in the whole 'Cult of Keef' thing. As with most bands I like, I'm only really interested in the music, not the behind-the-scenes stuff.This book has confirmed that for me. All the while Keith is talking about his bad behaviour with drugs, women, hotel rooms, etc. I found my attention drifting.When he talks about the music, though... ah, well; that's a completely different story. When he talks about the music, it's like pure gold dripping from his fingers. I'm glad I read this book for that aspect alone, even if I did find it overlong and patchy in places.First the sun and then the moon... one of them will be 'round soon... I'm slippin' away...

  • Trudi
    2018-08-28 17:43

    This is the Life. Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it. ~Life, Keith Richards Well now, there you have it. Who'd have thunk "Keef" would have lived so long -- he certainly won't be leaving a beautiful corpse when he finally does kick off, that's for sure. And that will probably be from natural causes at this point in his life on the eve of turning seventy, but who the hell knows with this guy? Sure he's laid off the dope, but he's still managing to fall out of trees hard enough to put a crack in his skull, or find himself reaching for a giant tome on the top shelf of his home library and subsequently getting buried under an avalanche of falling books (that one caused him a few broken ribs). This cat has got more lives than can be counted. Yes, he should be dead, a looooong time ago. That he's not, is astounding. That he can remember most of his life, even the heavy drug years, is more astounding still. That his telling of it should be so engaging and insightful, raucous and unflinching and funny ... well, that astounds me most of all.I’m not a raving Stones fan, that isn’t what brought me to this autobiography. Sure, there are about 35 of their songs I can sing along to and like many people, there are another 10 I consider to be some of the best rock songs ever written. But I wasn’t born early enough to come of age during the Stones golden era when they were young, ferocious and unstoppable. I wasn’t a “Mick girl” or “Keef girl”. For better or worse, I missed the 60s and 70s, but that doesn’t mean that time in music history doesn’t interest me. It interests me quite a lot actually. Rock histories and music retrospectives on particular times and places endlessly fascinate me. It’s not enough just to listen to the tunes, I want to know the where, when, who, how and why something was written, recorded, and imbibed. The birth of rock n roll? I want to know the characters, the causes, the culture that spawned it. I want to know when it learned to walk, and then I want to know who made it run. Who was in the engine room? I love hearing about all the little asides and anecdotes about who was where, who saw who perform and then started their own band – the roots of the roots (stretch it back as far as you think you can). I came to this book hoping I would get a glimpse into that engine room, at all the characters huffing and puffing, fighting and fucking their way along in there, keeping this beast coined Rock n Roll running. Rock n Roll will never die if everyone in the engine room keeps doing their job. In that vein, this book did not disappoint. The first half is a fairly detailed portrait of what was going on in the world of music at the time the Stones stepped onto the world’s stage, how the times were a-changing and people were ready for something different. It’s ironic that what the Stones started out doing was Chicago blues -- what was “different” is that it was now reaching a white audience. Richards has a very definite opinion on how everything unfolded in his life and in the life of the band (i.e. he didn’t steal Anita from Brian Jones, he rescued her). It may not be the complete truth, but he’s not bullshitting the reader either – it is the truth as he believes it to be. In a lot of ways this is a long conversation with the man that you start in the middle of the afternoon over coffee and don’t finish until dawn the following day when the empty wine bottles lay strewn about you and you have the beginnings of a nasty headache coming on. It’s intimate, forthright, and in your face. There were times I flinched and felt like screaming: “TMI Keith! For godsake, TMI” I was appalled to hear him so blithely recount his and Anita’s epic drug years, strung out on smack, with two small children in their care. Even after many arrests (and car crashes), it didn’t seem like there was ever any threat of having their kids taken away. When a third baby is born and dies in Anita’s care of supposed “crib death” my stomach rolled over with nausea. Maybe that’s all it was, but maybe it was from junkie neglect. Thank heavens Keith at least had the sense to send his little girl Angela to his mum to love and raise in England. Despite the extremely unconventional upbringing, Keith’s eldest son Marlon seems to be pretty well-adjusted these days with a family of his own. His few reminiscences that are included in the story are not filled with bitterness or anger, but rather with a sardonic humor and a deeply expressed loyalty to his father. The music bits are really really good and if you’re a guitar player, you’ll even get some awesome tips. Keith’s descriptions of the songwriting process are fascinating too, as well as the realities of recording albums in the pre-digital age. My favourite portion of the book might just be the time the Stones spent in France recording the double album Exile on Main Street. I’ve since found out that a documentary has been made on this very subject called Stones in Exile that I now HAVE to see. The book does become a bit of a slog in the third act. There are places where Keith begins to ramble a bit and the narrative loses focus. I mean c’mon, you’re not that fascinating bro, how about a little nip and tuck here and there; isn’t that what an editor is for? But overall, I remained completely immersed for the two weeks it took to listen to this unabridged version read by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and the man himself. And what begins as a charming and enchanting coming-of-age tale and a young man’s love letter to the power of music eventually does descend into the pit of hedonism and rock star excesses. How could it not? It’s Keith Richards after all. But through all the shit, there is pure, unadulterated love for the music. That I can admire, that I can respect.

  • Jennifer
    2018-09-17 16:41

    Dear Keith Richards;Oh, Keef, you are wise and funny and your brain is rather impressive. Your body is a whole other matter and I really would encourage you to donate it to medical science for research because, clearly, something is going on in you that defies the laws of nature. Curing hepatitis C "on [your] own...without treatment", say what?? Staying up for nine days straight, sustained by heroin, coke and booze?? Not human. Although your means of hydration was, apparently, enough. Admittedly, your nine lives ran out years and years ago and yet, here you are, still breathing, walking, talking and writing. I am glad you explained the reason is because you were a smart junkie. That really cleared up a lot for me. If I ever go down the junkie road, I will remember your advice to not push it by taking a little more, to get a little higher. I will remember I can't get a little more high. I will invest in precision scales and I will only trust the pharmaceutical grade smack. I will avoid the Mexican Shoe Scrapings no matter how twitchy I get. I will trade in the Jack Daniels for vodka and feel better about my drinking. Oh, yeah; I will invest in a big knife and a gun and have one or the other on me at all times and sleep with the gun under my pillow. That will be really helpful on the occasions when people try to wake me up and I am not having it. Despite all of these quirks - is it okay to say that?? - you are a right charming bloke! Well read, interesting and...a romantic. It made me really happy to know that not all rock stars are the same and that you wouldn't go in for "just a fuck" if it didn't mean anything. I guess I hadn't given much thought to this part of your character as, I admit it, I figured every rock 'n roll bad boy is slutastic like a porn star. Thank you for sharing your cuddling nature. I like picturing you spooning groupies. Also, I am so, SO glad you didn't go in for the plaster cast of your dick the way the guys from Led Zeppelin did. You really do have standards. That has become evident. And it's not in a snobby way either. It is just sensible. Keith Richards, sensible. Who'd a thought it?Well, I should quit this rambling, I suppose. I really loved your book and reading about your "Life". Through reading your story, my perceptions were challenged and new thoughts were formed. You are an alright cat!Best,Jennifer

  • Mike
    2018-08-25 18:24

    Petra made me do it, really. To say I don’t care for The Rolling Stones would be an understatement. Hate the music, never thought they were any good, I would never give them a first, much less a second thought. The power of her great review of Life got me out of the comfort zone. Seriously, what does a conservative, career military guy have in common with a “longhaired, dope-smoking, good-time rock-&-roller?” Turns out there are a few things. I was impressed with his (and Jagger’s) focus on hard work and becoming proficient at the basics of making music early in his career, his modest boyhood, an appreciation of his grandfather Gus (who sounded like a guy I’d like). I’m sure aStones fan would get more out the many vignettes he relates on his interaction with many famous members of his generation in the music and popular culture crowd. His relationship with John Lennon and the Stones – Beatles interaction was a surprise to me. The influence of blues, soul and the growing black music industry on Richards and others was also a revelation but it makes sense. There are several instances where the efforts of various governments to harass the group are humorous, yet display the power of a big and, at times, ridiculously paranoid government. That is something I can relate to, given what is happening nowadays. I also loved it when the Brit government tries to impose the confiscatory 83-98% tax regime on the group and they split for other countries. Take that, socialists! When he loses a child, you get another side to the guy. Of course, whatever happened to him as a result of all the drug use, I couldn’t have cared less or felt any sympathy. His choices. In all, this was a look into a world I have never seen or had much interest in (really no interest in). I enjoyed his writing although I must admit the slang would probably amuse someone from the UK more than me. It’s good to go outside your boundaries on occasion and not become one of those who won’t read a book because you don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle or politics. This is a good story and I’m glad to have read it. Thanks Petra. 3 Stars

  • Marvin
    2018-08-21 16:38

    How in the hell did this guy live so long? After Jimi and Janis died, all the smart money was on Keith Richard to be Rock n' Roll's next burnt-out flame. He fooled us all. And his secret to a long and exciting life?He was damn lucky.Maybe not in his music. He worked hard to be the rock n' roll genius he is. But lucky in that he didn't make a fatal mistake between the drugs and general madness his life style resulted in. I loved his frankness but shook my head a little when he discussed his faults and excused his mistakes. He is quick to admit to his drug excesses but even quicker to state that others were bigger addicts than he was. Three areas of contention for me was his take on girl friends (hot and wild and usually stolen from his band members), his unusual parenting techniques (take your seven year old son with you on tour and put him in charge of cleaning up the drug messes left by the band), and his very unusual heroin addiction cure (a little black box and gallons of Jack Daniels). Richard isn't what I would call a great role model but there is something weirdly impressive about a man who creates so much good music but stayed on the wild side with so much energy if not always class.But what I really liked about his book is his reflections on the music. It comes alive when he discusses his blues idols like Jimmy Reed and others. He describes how the Stones just wanted to be a blues band and slipped into being a rock band. I especially liked hearing about how he and Mick Jagger created their songs. Keith wrote the riffs and Mick fine-tuned the lyrics. After all, it is all about the music and I think Keith would agree with me. He chuckles at his past and hope you get a kick out of hearing about it, But he really wants us to focus on the music and that super group called The Stones.

  • Charles Whittlesey
    2018-09-16 17:42

    Around 1986 or so, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Jamaica, and we rented a villa above a well-known resort town. On the winding drive up to the villa, several banana trees had fallen onto the road. When we arrived, the gardener told us in broken English to "watch out for rolling stones." Owing to the fallen trees, we didn't make the connection. Then later that afternoon, a guy in a compact car drove by our villa and waved at us. I said to my wife, "that looked just like Keith Richards." She laughed at me and said, "you're dreaming." But at two in the morning, a guitar took off like a 747--so loud he could have been in our living room.That was one of the reasons I picked up this book, and I was not disappointed by it. Richards is a great storyteller, battle-scarred by drugs and years on the road, but entertaining and articulate, with a surprisingly sane view of his insane life. He tells it all with honesty and objectivity, and, yes, even class; it never went to his head, so you get a realistic picture of what it was like being a key figure in one of of the greatest, if not the greatest, rock and roll bands in history. After reading the book, I wish my wife and I had gone up, knocked on his door, and said hello. I have a feeling that he just might have invited us in for a smoke.

  • CD
    2018-08-30 18:32

    The Keef's memoir is a lot more than I expected and better than so many of the Rock n' Roll biographies that have crossed my path lately. More 'narrated' memoir than formal biography, this work is told in a mostly chronological order with the necessary flashback/forwards as required.Richards and whatever writer(s) and editors aided in the storytelling, spin a yarn that rolls across the decades of his and the Rolling Stones lives like a tour bus on a pot holed local road on the way to some gig. Bumps, bruises, confrontations, breakdowns and for many a lot of fun and for a few not so much festoon the ride of The Keef. Keith Richards, "The Keef", notorious for his life of excess denoted from his introduction of himself in actual life as "The Keef" because of articulation problems due to substances and circumstance on board that would slow down anyone, weaves stories that are not always consistent but probably as true as any told. Some of the incidents related in this book will seem to many readers 'out there', but one only needs looks at the modern day recollections of those who traveled, even briefly, with the Stones to begin to feel their veracity. Writers and journalists, one after another have twenty or thirty years later revealed that a few weeks or months hanging out with the band resulted in a stay in rehab. But first, the time spent with the Stones got foggy towards the end. So cars, planes, buses and houses full of drugs along side all of the related stories can be tolerated as likely factual as it will ever get.The arrests and other public incidences as a matter of record are there for any one to find. It is the sheer volume of decades, yes decades, of craziness and the absolute totally disregard for any social norm for many of the crowd in this story that make for such an unbelievable story. After all if you are not going to believe a Boy Scout, who are you going to trust?Yes, Keith Richards was a Boy Scout! Literally a merit badge wearing, three finger salutin', old lady across the street helpin' follower of Sir Baden-Powell. Even years later, in some twisted moment of irony, at the time of the Boy Scout Centennial celebration Richards finds himself standing at attention (or as much as his condition allowed) in a hotel room somewhere in the world when the festivities come on television saluting once more all that is Scouting. Combined with his childhood it may by his own acknowledgment have contributed to his ability to survive. From early childhood and his parents survival of the Blitz to the present of a bunch of real survivors still playing out, Life is an unusual ride. From the best unintentional explanations in print of the underlying meanings of Pink Floyd songs (and this is obscure unless you know the lyrics to most of their songs) as a childhood memory, Richards memories not the PF guys, to moments of clarity resulting in one of his children being raised by his mother, to his own son being used as a roadie, to borderline violence page after page, to marital discourse, wife swapping, and every other thing you've ever heard, it is buried somewhere in this book. As this is a far better written and constructed piece of prose than the typical R'n'R memoir/biostory, it is for me a true 'goodread'. Three stars as a biography as it partially poses as an autobio form and it does have some flaws. Mostly though, it is the best of the genre I've read in many years!