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Keith Richards: The Biography Paperback – June 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 2 edition (June 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306812789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306812781
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although this sympathetic portrait doesn't tell fans much they don't already know about Rolling Stones guitarist Richards, it is a diverting addition to the rock-bio genre. Bockris ( The Life and Death of Andy Warhol ) relies heavily on secondhand excerpts from Stones interviews, books and criticism, stringing together quotes and recollections with minimal narration. We hear from Richards's former lover, Anita Pallenberg; critics Chet Flippo, Nik Cohn and Albert Goldman; and Mick Jagger's old flame Marianne Faithfull, who believes that Richards's drug problems stemmed partly from guilt over the 1969 ousting of Stones guitarist Brian Jones, who drowned in his swimming pool two weeks later. Richards himself speaks about Jagger and other band members, tensions within the band, songwriting (his favorite is "Jumpin' Jack Flash") and substance abuse. Bockris doesn't skimp on tales of his subject's aggression and heroin addiction, yet he also chooses anecdotes that emphasize the sincerity and amiability behind the musician's fierce stance. Richards emerges as more a tortured artist than a junkie, more a generous party-lover than a materialistic star in this well-organized, complimentary biography. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As the most notorious member of the Rolling Stones, Richards would seem to be the perfect subject for a titillating biography. Bockris, author of The Life and Death of Andy Warhol ( LJ 9/1/89), has plenty of material to work with: Richards was a pioneer in making drugs, androgyny, and the occult de rigeur for the rock lifestyle, surviving legal battles, romantic quagmires, and bitter personnel changes. The hard-driving intensity of his music is the only constant. With such a wealth of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll tales to tell, this is a surprisingly unexciting book. Richards's songwriting partner and lifelong friend Mick Jagger is hardly heard from. Bockris relies so much on other sources that many libraries may already have most of this material. Not an essential purchase. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/92.
- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Very well written and detailed.
Lori A. James
Although I have been a major Stones fan since 1964 I learned a great deal about the history and dynamics of the Stones.
Gail M. Murphy
This is the definitve story of Keith's life and times as the World's Most Elegantly Wasted Human Being.
"ms4452"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By kathrynn campbell (editors@hortuswest.com) on October 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
You don't have to be a Keith Richards fan to thoroughly enjoy this book. Like him or not, he's one of rock & roll's most fascinating characters and, as such, his life story makes for a damn good read. Although Bockris does tend to romanticize some of Richards' darker (i.e. violent and/or self-destructive) moments, he unflinchingly explores all aspects of the legendary musician's personality. Don't expect much in the way of pictures, however. Only one photo is featured per chapter and it's a shame because Richards is as interesting to see as he is to read about.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Hennburg on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I doubt Keith could tell his OWN story this well (in fact I doubt it very much). This book really seems to give the whole picture. It is well worth the expense.

Particular highlights: (1) VERY detailed information about Keith's drug use history. It is amazing the man is still alive; (2) VERY detailed info. about Ron Wood, his own problems and his role in the Stones; (3) Very detailed info. about Keith's solo career. I just wonder why the Winos broke up. Anyway, if you are a fan of Keith or the Stones you simply can't pass this book up.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Martin Lemos on October 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Keith is a legend, but it might not always be for the right reasons. Of course he is the main engine that fuels the Rolling Stones machine, but once you read this book, you get to see the other reasons that have made him a well known icon. This man helped write the songs for a generation, and we are able to get an insight into the man in this biography. We cam see into his childhood, that first meeting with the man he would ultimately become famous with, Mick Jagger, to his decade long struggle with drug use and abuse. This guy defines rock and if you like the Stones, you need to read this book and get an insight in the man behind the band
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Benjamin on January 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
From some of the quotes Kieth gives in the beginning of the book about his childhood, all the way to the end of this rather long book, you'll enjoy his rich, british, sense of humor. Bockris has written an autobiography about his life, not just about the crazy years Kieth spent battling heroin addiction. As hard as life can be, even being a herion addict, he can joke about his drug use and make the reader laugh. As much as I oppose using drugs, I admire Keith Richards as a musician and as seemingly honest,funny caring man who has outlasted many others in his profession. This book tells the story of a man who comes from "good stock" and I am sure you will enjoy reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail M. Murphy on November 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great book that explores Keith Richards extraordinary body of work. Although I have been a major Stones fan since 1964 I learned a great deal about the history and dynamics of the Stones. Keith is a tremendously gifted individual and I found it fascinating to read about his difficulties with Mick Jagger and his strong belief that the Stones must stay true to their musical roots.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By dead flowers on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Great account of Keith's entire life as told by the man himself. The book gives a vivid account of Keith's musical beginnings, development and maturation as a musician and songwriter. Discusses his many musical influences, relationships with women, highs and lows with the stones and his 10+ year battles with heroin. The guy lives and breathes music 24/7, he is non-stop. By the end of the book I got a profound sense of someone who is a truly dedicated musician. It leaves no doubt why he has become a musical influence himself. You will not be disappointed with this book. A job very well done.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is the definitive biography of the greatest rock guitarist/philosopher of all time. Bockris, as usual, is sensitive, brilliant, and insightful in dealing with one of the most mysterious musicians to ever play rock, Keith Richards. Because the book probes not only his public life but also his private life, this book is as close as most people will ever get to understanding rock and roll's greatest enigma. Essential reading for Keef junkies (and I choose my words carefully!).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Entertaining and interesting look at one of the few "legends" that are one, for real, and two, still living. Richard's childhood, family, musical background, habits, drug excursions, and idiosyncrasies are described and explained by Bockris in a way, that makes ya love Keith Richards for the person he is, both musically and personally. Keith can play piano ballads from from 1930s by heart, in addition to being the foundation of the Stones sound, which is exemplified by his solo work and stints with "The Expensive Winos." I loved what Keith preferred for breakfast, as well as his food sauce that he had flown to many parts of the world where he toured. And, the Doctor says he's healthy. Richards doesn't appear to live the life of an accomplished rebel, he just lives life the way he wants to, regardless. Few can attest to that. So far he hasn't apologized for anything--and I hope he never does.
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