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Life Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,242 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover
Keith Richards. Right, he's the Rolling Stone you notice when Mick Jagger's not shaking and singing. The one who kicked his heroin addiction by having all his blood transfused in Switzerland. Who was --- for ten years in a row --- chosen by a music magazine as the rocker "most likely to die." Whose solution to spilling a bit of his father's ashes was to grab a straw and snort. Whose most recent revelation is about the size of Mick's equipment.

Yeah, that's the guy. Wild man. Broken tooth, skull ring, earring, kohl eyes --- he's Cpt. Jack Sparrow's father, lurching though life as if it's a pirate movie, ready to unsheathe his knife for any reason, or none. Got some blow, some smack, a case of Jack Daniels? Having a party? Dial Keith.

When you get a $7 million advance for your memoirs, there's no such thing as a "bad" image. But the thing about Keith Richards is, he wants to tell the truth. Like: he didn't have his blood transfused. Like: he didn't take heroin for pleasure or to nod out, but so he could tamp his energy down enough to work. Like: he and Jagger may not be friends but they're definitely brothers --- and if you criticize Mick to him, he'll slit your throat.

Why does Keith want to undercut his legend?

Because he has much better stories to tell.

And in the 547-page memoir he wrote with James Fox, he serves them up like his guitar riffs -- in your face, nasty, confrontational, rich, smart, and, in the end, unforgettable.

Start with the childhood. Keith grew up in a gray, down-and-out suburb of London. School: "I hated it. I'd spend the whole day wondering how to get home without taking a beating." By his teens, he'd figured the system out: "There's bigger bullies than just bullies. There's 'them,' the authorities.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first third of the book is absolutely fantastic. Keith Richards chronicles his childhood and the formation of the band with lots of personality and charm. Highly recommended. I really couldn't put the book down.

The book loses steam in the middle third -- the drugged-out 70s. I wish a little more time was spent talking about the music. When he *does* write about how songs come together, or about musical insights he has (like discovery open tuning), it's great reading. The sections where his son Marlon talks about life on the road with his dad are interesting. But much of the middle just gets bogged down in all the drugs, the drug busts, the cold turkey sessions, etc. Yeah OK, that was his life, but they were still making records, and a better balance of material about the band and the music would have been a nice respite from all the drugs.

It gets a bit better when he's writing about the late-80s/90s - the split with Mick and their respective solo careers.

But the final section just falls apart. It reads like the anecdotes that celebrities tell on talk shows. "Ah, the funniest thing happened at my daughter's wedding ...." "The crew found a puppy hanging around near the stage ...." "You wouldn't believe the enormous snapping turtle ...."

And there are some odd omissions: Bill Wyman is barely mentioned, which is fine, but more explanation is needed. Some of the biggest Stones albums are glossed over in half a page. Great songs like Shattered and Some Girls aren't even mentioned. The mixing and release of Tattoo You is barely discussed (if at all ... I don't recall now).

So 5 stars for the first third / 3 stars for the middle / 2 for the end.
Still worth it, especially for Stones fans.
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Format: Hardcover
This memoir, written with the help of writer James Fox, is an intricately detailed account of Keith Richards life, both in and out of music-but mostly in. All the stories are here-the funny, the touching, the horrendous, and the amazing. Some are well known, some weren't even known to Richards-he only hears later, from others who were with him, what went on. And he's put it all in this book. Included are 32 pages of b&w and color photographs (including one of the band, with Jagger driving, in a vintage red convertible, across the Brooklyn Bridge) in two groups, plus photos throughout the book itself chronicling Richards' life. Also of interest is an early diary that Richards kept detailing the bands early gigs and impressions of the music the band played.

Richards has been known as many things-"the human riff", as some kind of prince of a dark underworld filled with drugs, booze, and skull rings, as "Keef", a rock 'n' roll pirate, as someone who should be dead (several times over) from massive drug use and other lifestyle choices, and as someone hounded by law enforcement-looking to incarcerate this bad example to all the kids. But Richards is also known as a settled (for him) family man. But somehow he's survived it all. And now, with this autobiography, he's letting us into his life. This book looks back at all the times-good, bad, and just plain strange.

Beginning with Richards' boyhood in post-war England, no stone is left unturned in detailing his young life. A life which changed forever with his discovery of American blues. From that era the book details the formation of THE ROLLING STONES (I would like to have learned more about Brian Jones' in relation to the formation of the group), which changed his life again-a life he continues to the present.
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