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Ronnie: The Autobiography Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 30, 2007
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"Like any good memoirist, Wood is shamelessly honest."—The New York Times
"Wood's wildly entertaining book is peopled with virtually every major British and American rocker since the early '60s."—Rush and Malloy, New York Daily News
"Wood is a classic classic rocker, and his story has just that kind of 'behind the music' arc."—The Associated Press
"Features candid tales about Wood's long career in rock 'n' roll...and his own drug, alcohol, and financial problems. 'It's been an adventure for me, ' Wood said."-U.P.I.
"Forthright and revealing...plenty for fans to chew on."-VNU Entertainment News Wire
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, for the majority of his adult life, Wood has been a heavy drinker and druggie. This has clouded his memory of some pretty important events, which makes you wonder how much of the book is accurate.
For example, Wood claims that Yardbirds/Jeff Beck Group manager Peter Grant wanted HIM to be the guitarist of a new band being formed in 1968, The New Yardbirds. Already in place were Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, none of whom had ANY connection to the recently-disbanded Yardbirds*. According to Wood, when he turned them down (and Grant BEGGED him to reconsider!), Jimmy Page (ex-Yardbirds guitarist) wss hired instead.
So are we to believe that in 1969, the sole reason Mick Taylor joined the Stones is because Ronnie Lane answered Wood's phone and told Jagger that Wood had no interest in replacing Brian Jones? Hmmm....
It doesn't help that Wood comes across as not too bright in his own book, as he keeps finding himself ensnared in stupid situations. Time and again, he ends up broke and is only saved from financial ruin by getting advances from the Rolling Stones organization. It also doesn't help that "Ronnie" was completed right before his bitter, drunken breakup with his long-time wife Jo (for a woman 40 years younger than him!), which would've made a much better ending.
On the bright side, Wood is approaching his 40th anniversary with the Stones and is their longest-serving replacement member. But then again, what else does he have to do?
*Unless John Paul Jones did some session work for the Yardbirds that isn't widely documented.
I've recommended this book to several friends who love music. It is as if you noticed Ronnie sitting alone at a bar (which you will quickly realize is something he has never done... he's always surrounded by friends)and you slide up next to him and say, "tell me about yourself!" If you are looking for a book full of very technical descriptions how Ronnie and his many collaborators have written music over the years, then this isn't for you. But you hear Ronnie talk about his upbringing (his was the first generation of his family to be born on dry land... they were water/ canal gypsies), how his childhood home was the neighborhood's center of music and fun. He was a hilarious little kid, and he really sets the tone for the rest of his life in his description of his childhood.
As he kicks off his interest in music and art, you are blown away page after page by the larger than life musicians who wove their way through Ronnie's life. From early local influences like Pete Townshend, to touring with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, to turning down an offer to be the guitarist for The New Yardbirds (and then suggesting his good friend Jimmy Page who took the job right before the band changed their name to Led Zeppelin), to going out with Jimi Hendrix the night before he died, to the events that lead to his joining The Rolling Stones (and the adventures that followed). It's a great book, and an easy read because of how much you wind up loving Ronnie Wood. The book is soaked in his personality and sense of humor.
While it may not be a ground breaking work in modern literature, it is a fantastic read for anyone that loves rock. Take a break from the classics, and read this memoir by a classic.
The childhood and some of the early Stones years were interesting but he never talked about how he became the guitar player he is-or was. He praised the members of the Stones and we heard much about Richards\Woods family vacations but again, no facts. I really felt he was kissing the behinds of the people who allow him to earn a payday (Jagger, Richards)more than anything else. As for his demons... not one mention of despair over his addictions or hitting bottom. (except for mentions of days spent in a bathroom which he makes sound more like fun than anything else.)
This book was ok but could've been so much more interesting.