This book's afterglow is better than the listening itself -- which wasn't half bad. It is a true autobiography. You learn as much about Keith Richards through the organized yet still stream-of-consciousness presentation as you do through from information it contains. It is as if Keith is sitting across the table, just telling his story.
This, of course, can make the listen frustrating because it rambles and meanders. I rather liked the fact that he didn't talk about any of the band members in a descriptive way; rather, he simply included them by reference. It wasn't "here's my portrait of Mick." It WAS "and this is what Mick did and how I felt about it." You learn by association.
What I was struck by most was Keith Richards' love of music. It was like a hurricane's eye. Calm, well defined. And around it was the swirl of this man's life. Sex and drugs (lots of 'em) and the law and world affairs.
I struggled a bit with the multiple readers. Joe Hurley was terrific and I wish he had done the entire book. Not that Johhny Depp and Keith Richards were poor ... it's just that I connected really well with Hurley's manner of speaking. Truly engaging.
I left this book with the sense that it is an important work. It captures, with spectacular clarity, an era and a band, neither of which will ever be replicated.
the best I can give this is "meh". The content was OK for the most part, however parts of the story were too esoteric to interest me (I really don't care about the 5-string open tuning). I like the way Keith Richards portrayed himself and addressed his relationship with the Stones and Mick Jagger. I probably would have given it three stars had it been read by someone else. Johnny Depp's pacing was off; you could tell where the sentence broke on the page by the way he read the text. Joe Hurley was difficult to understand and he wandered in and out of really odd accents. The book would change viewpoints, and the listener wouldn't be able to easily pick up on that. It would usually be prefaced by "Let's let so-and-so tell that part" and at the conclusion, the story would switch back to Keith Richards' viewpoint and the listener wouldn't have any clue that that had happened. I found myself backing up to catch the transition. It created a disjointed listening experience.
Keith's story + all 3 voices make it the best book on the Stones I've read or heard in my life. His description of how he creates a sound is fascinating and Keith's legendary directness never waivers to the point of discomfort. 5 stars baby.
I have loved the Stones almost since the moment I first heard them on a friend's LP (remember those?). Richards proves to be an incredible storyteller, painting vivid pictures of his modest boyhood and love of music, and growing up in post-war England in the 50s and 60s. His account of his discovery of the Blues and his own, mostly self-taught education in music is mesmerizing. Johnny Depp's narration is fantastic; you never feel that you are being read to, instead you a there in the moment, such as when Richards is first approached by Mick Jagger on a train ride into London one day. The two teens bond instantly over their love of Check Berry, Muddy Waters and others, spawning a friendship that will a few years later upend the rock world and lead to the "Greatest Band in the World." His "Life" is articulate, honest, and enthralling.
First, let me say that I am not a Rolling Stones fan. Never have been. I don't own any of their albums, or even singles (I was 13 when 'Satisfaction came out, but was a Beatles fan). If you offered me money to name the entire band at any time during their existence I couldn't do it. So why did I get this book? The reviews. All the reviews were so good I thought I'd take a chance. And am I glad. This is a fascinating book from the first page. Richards doesn't do what I would call a 'tell all', but he is still honest and straightforward. And I have to admit my surprise at how intelligent a guy he is. I guess I assumed he was some drug addled 70 year old hippie. I was wrong.
Johnny Depp is an outstanding narrator, and while it took a while for me to warm up to Joe Hurley, I did, and he adds much to the book as well.
I enjoyed this VERY much and highly recommend it.
You don't need to be a Stones fan or a pop culture lover to like this book. Richard's insights are fascinating and very well thought out -- you'll think of him completely differently after this candid recounting of his life. Highly recommended; enjoyed all three voices.
Keith Richards has always been an enigma as a rock star. Obviously talented but I figured him as a kid who learned four or five chords and happened to be in the right place at the right time. Nope. He spends the first chapters establishing his "bona-fides" as a lover of American blues & soul. He spends a great deal of time practically gloating about how great it was snorting pharmacuetical grade cocaine which apparently doesn't automatically come with a crash wishing you'd never snorted anything. (Perhaps it was only because he also revels in staying up as many days as possible on the stuff and then finally sleeping. He also gloats about mixing his own pure heroin and admits he spent 3/4 of his life as a junkie and much of the book is about how the cops were on his tail. In the meantime he gives serious insights into his relationship with Jagger, how songs are written and where some classic stones songs got their names. There is a LOT of name dropping as to the famous musicians he wrote and played with. I know it sounds boring and now that you know what it is likely might find it so. Still I bought it with a completely open mind and was surprised that Richards comes off as a fairly thoughtful individual and not some spoiled aging star with a soul as shallow as a puddle. No, the man and is his book are FAR more complex.
There is very little about this autobiography that is conventional: it has many narrators, the chronology is a bit off in places, there are many tangents, and there are off topic rants/advice (on shepherd's pie?!). It does not follow typical autobiographical or audiobook 'rules' and requires the listener to pay attention and not passively absorb the material. But then again, isn't that what Richards, and the Stones, were up to in their music? So why would his autobiography be any different? Wicked awesome.
Really enjoyed this even though I've never been a big KR devotee or lover of autobiographies. Richards covers all the main points of his life, the excesses, life in the Stones etc and like any autobiography, there are omissions and some self-promotion. But you won't read this for its authoritativeness - what makes it very readable is the voice and perspective of the author himself - playful, no holds barred, and imbuing a zest for life in everything he does. Have to say I also loved the trio of narrators, though I puzzled why they chose this format rather than having Richards read the whole thing himself.
Great, insightful book. Mick Jagger was knighted, but it should have been bestowed upon Keith Richards. Richards was the heart and soul of the Rolling Stones. I always thought Jagger was THE man, but he was only the shell, the front man. The Rolling Stones is known for its music..and Keith Richards was the man who loved music. Along with all the other band members, san Jagger.