Customer Reviews: Life
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Showing 1-10 of 111 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on October 4, 2014
I bought it to read for a book club. I just could not get through it and I love to read, often reading a book or more a week. There was something that was just not appealing about the writing. I am not sure what it was but I found that as I was reading I just didn't care about the characters in the story. It just was not engaging and not written in a way that would pull me in. I thought it would be interesting since I lived through much of the era he was talking about and remember certain things and various events, but it just wasn't. To each his own, I suppose.
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on March 5, 2014
I understand that rock stars are considered gods by many people, and KR is no exception. He wrote and recorded some dynamite music, but to be dragged through the sordid life of an unrepentant junkie who doesn't possess an ounce of conscience or sense of responsibility is more than I could stomach.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the first third of the book is somewhat interesting and contains the most valuable information and insights, but then there's that long slog in the middle that seems to drag on forever with pathetic tales of his druggie lifestyle. Do heroin, go cold turkey, do heroin again, go cold turkey again; all the while leaving a tale of indifferent destruction in his path. Ugh. It's enough already.

Laughably, he really tears down Mick Jagger's solo efforts while extolling the virtues of his completely forgettable solo albums. What an extraordinary ego.

I sense that there is a lot of posturing and "acting" going on here. He's just doing what people expect him to do, and consequently he doesn't come across as a particular interesting or even likeable person.
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on December 19, 2012
This book has some interesting information but it's obvious Richards would rather revise history at the expense of people he hates rather than keep his story straight and tell the truth, thereby contradicting himself in the process. Case in point--Brian Jones. In this book Richards has decided to reverse himself and claim Ian Stewart rather than Brian Jones was the band's visionary, "glue" and decision-maker. In his 1971 Rolling Stone interview, Richards states "Brian was the one who kept us all together" in the early days. In "Life," Richards decides to write that Ian Stewart "was the spark and energy and organization that actually kept it together in the early days." Sorry, but I'll believe the 1971 interview, which seems much more credible because (1) it took place much closer in time to the events discussed, and (2) contains far less venom than "Life". Richards in 1971: "Brian at that time [mid-1963] is the leader of the band. He pulled us all together..." and "He got us together, Charlie, Mick and Me." Richards states in Stanley Booth's 'True Adventures of the Rolling Stones' that "In the early Summer [of 1962], Brian decided to get a band together. So I went round to this rehearsal..." Richards in "Life": "It was his [Ian Stewart's] vision, the band, and basically he picked who was going to be in it." No, Stu didn't pick who was in the band, it was Jones, as evidenced by Richards' own words in Booth's book: "Brian doesn't know what to do, kick me out and keep it together with these cats or kick those two out and have a band again."

In "Life" Richards often contradicts himself, sometimes on facing pages within the book: "Brian thought it was his band for some weird reason" shortly later: "In the early negotiations, it was always Brian who would go to our meeting as our leader. We were not permitted--by Brian"

As for being a hypocrite, Richards complains in "Life" about Brian Jones' illness and not showing up for gigs. "When you're schlepping around 350 days a year and you've got to drag a dead weight it becomes pretty vicious" Fast-forward to the 70's when Richards' own *voluntary* drug use (not illness) literally ground the band's activities to a halt. For example, "My trial was finally heard in Toronto in 1978. We knew it might sink us all..."

If Richards would direct some of his viciousness at himself for his own actions, he wouldn't come off sounding like such an adolescent. A compilation of all the reversals Richard makes in this book compared to earlier statements would be entertaining to say the least.
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on May 12, 2013
The is the worst autobiography I have ever read. After reading half of it, I finally said enough. The main reason why this book is so horrible is that Keith offers insight into nothing. It is simply a book of name-dropping and I did this with this person in this place. Even in this capacity, he fails to make what he did interesting in any way, shape, or form. For example, he tells us that he partied with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. They must have had some interesting conversations, and Keith is in a position to offer us some insight into two interesting people. The best Keith can do is tell us that he found John lying on his bathroom floor because he had been vomiting and got sick. The purpose of this illustration of showing John at his worst is to show us what a man Keith is and that he could hold his drugs and outdo John as a party master - pretty juvenile. The whole book reeks of shallowness and juvenile boasting. It really made me think quite less of Keith as he shows himself to be just another shallow, egotistical, celebrity - such a shame. With age comes wisdom, they say. Apparently not for everyone.
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on May 21, 2015
I was very excited to read Keefs bio. Having read many other books on the stones I thought this is gonna be great. I read the Tony Sanchez book and it was hilarious. I thought this would make that look like a folk dance but no, what you get is a very dry book that merely scratches the surface about things. Keith had an opportunity to tell some really great stories about the events in his life with the stones and the multitude of characters and celebs he bumped into along the way. The tour the band did with Capote hanging around with them alone probably had some great stuff worth telling. The trip to the playboy mansion and countless other things these guys ran into thru the years would have made for some really funny and entertaining reading. Basically its a book about nothing we haven't heard before. In fact it reads like someone else culled together facts from prior articles. Oh well perhaps when you get old and mellow you want to pretend that crazy stuff didnt happen.
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on December 31, 2015
My partner read the whole book and said it was a difficult read and simply not that good. Redundant. Boring. Lacking any insight. Devoid of the inside Stones information that might have made it good. Way too long. Filled with idioms that he had to decipher. Ultimately painfully dull, perhaps a reflection of who Richards really is, a bore and a really weird oddball who wrote love letters to Patti Hansen in his blood. He had no pen? Like another reviewer, he wondered if the music the Stones made into their own was, in truth, stolen from little blues clubs in the south whose actual composers had no means to sue them.

I'll leave my partner's impressions as my review since I'm not going to waste any more time on a book I already don't like.
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on January 28, 2015
I threw the book away and couldn't read it amymore. Want to read about a drug addict who should have OD'd but didn't? He is so quick to condemn cops while the number of dead friends piles up in his book. What a waste. If it wasn't for music it would be a bio of a junkie with money to burn.
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on June 30, 2012
I was always a big fan of the Rolling Stones and their music. The first album I ever bought was Sticky Fingers followed by Goat's Head Soup. I had a chance to see them in July of 1978 in which they only played for about an hour. After reading Life, I was disappointed by its content. The title should have been, "My Life on Drugs with The Rolling Stones." If you enjoy reading books about drugs, rock and roll, and living excessively, you will probably like this book. Yeah, I get it. I know Keith loved to party and enjoyed using lots of drugs. However, this book spent too much time with redundant episodes of of drug-fueled parties and soul searching about drugs. Life could have been a great read if Keith dealt more with the relationships of the other band members and not always about Mick although I know he was closer to him than the rest of the band. Keith could have given the reader a more insightful journey about what it was like on tours and the period of the 1980s to the present but seemed to not write much about that time frame. The book was poorly written, incoherent, and bordering grammatically close to being a train wreck which probably is more of a reflection on Keith's lack of a formal education.
The Rolling Stones wrote some great music up through the Some Girls album. Unfortunately, they lost their way unless you were a preteen going through puberty. Their music from the 1980s on had more of a pop theme and feel which I realize is what sells and pays the bills. Keith would say that it was never about the money but about making music. If that were true, why would they release 4 albums that were nothing more than their greatest hits and release music that was received mostly by the top 40.
You will find some humor in this book especially when Keith embellishes many of his encounters with characters who cross his path in which he has a problem with or whom he disagrees with. He leads the reader to believe that his skills as a fighter with knives, guns, and muscle have put him in the ranks of the SAS (Speical Air Service). Also, Keith would say something like: "I could never understand why all these beautiful women always wanted to be with me." Hmmmm...I'm sure it had nothing to do with a little fame and money. Maybe its the charming British dental work that melted their hearts. At the end of the book, I came to the conclusion that it was just Keith's imagination running away with him.
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on May 21, 2014
But, it is just another junkie autobiography. Drugs, drugs, drugs, then writing and recording a masterpiece, then drugs, drugs, drugs. Boring. Just skip over most of it to hear about the music and you'll do fine. These old junkies are so full of themselves!
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on May 18, 2011
I was really ambivalent about even buying this book, but couldn't resist a 50% off deal, figuring there might be something interesting here. The last person I would look to for the true story of the Rolling Stones is Keith. He has been nothing short of a revisionist over the last 30 years or so. His biggest sin is his continuing maginalization of Brian Jones, and lies, concerning Brian's contribution as leader of the band. Brian formed the band, recruiting all the players, naming the band and deciding what material they would record. It was Brian's band, until Mick and Keith, along with help from Andrew, hijacked it away from him on the issue of original material verses reinterpreting Blues and Rhythm and Blues songs by the greats. Brian was virtually a musicologist, and while Keith was still absorbed in learning Chuck Berry licks, and Mick was attending classes at the London School of Economics, Brian Jones was on a mission to crusade for this amazing American music called R&B, wanting to share this music with the world. My take on this intentional omission is the less value he puts on Brian, the easier it is for him to sleep at night. For those readers who are unaware of what Keith should have a guilty conscience about, too much to tell here. Bill has often said Keith "mis-remembers" the facts, which is obvious in this tall tale of a book. Self indulgent drivel. Bill wrote his own book "to set the record straght" There are some interesting things that come out of this however, such as Keith's revelation that once he got that first songwriting royalty check, he was a changed man. No wonder joint band credit of Nanker Phelge become Jagger Richard. The biggest travesty is how Keith claims Jumpin' Jack Flash was written. The truth is Bill, Brian and Charlie arrived for a session ahead of Mick and Keith. Bill pounded out the chords for JJF on a piano, with Brian and Charlie jamming along. M&K arrived, heard it, liked it, gave it some lyrics, and a hit was born. Brian, Bill and Charlie seriously considered rising up against Mick and Keith over this, as a result of not being credited. When challenged for songwriting credit, they would accuse contributors of being greedy, when in fact they are the greedy ones. Mick and Keith still dredge up that hoary old bit about Brian paying himself 5 quid a week more for being the bandleader. Get serious guys! I could not read this entire book, I get too angry. This is not a Bio, it reads more like a novel. Lastly, the saddest part of this book, is for those who do not know any better, and were not around when the original Stones were making musical history, they will actually take this to be truthful, and that is just not the case, it is pure Keith spin, if you want to know the true story, you will need to go elsewhere, like "Rolling Stones, Old Gods, Almost Dead."
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