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Life | [Keith Richards, James Fox]

Life

Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....
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Publisher's Summary

As lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics, and the songs that roused the world. A true and towering original, he has always walked his own path, spoken his mind, and done things his own way.

Now at last, Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere. Dropping his guitar's sixth string to create a new sound that allowed him to create immortal riffs like those in "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg, Brian Jones's girlfriend. Arrested and imprisoned for drug possession. Tax exile in France and recording Exile on Main Street. Ever-increasing fame, isolation, and addiction, making life an ever faster frenzy. Through it all, Richards remained devoted to the music of the band, until even that was challenged by Mick Jagger's attempt at a solo career, leading to a decade of conflicts and ultimately the biggest reunion tour in history.

In a voice that is uniquely and unmistakably him - part growl, part laugh - Keith Richards brings us the truest rock-and-roll life of our times, unfettered and fearless and true.

Read by Johnny Depp with Joe Hurley and featuring Keith Richards.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2010 Keith Richards (P)2010 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"[A] high-def, high-velocity portrait of the era when rock 'n' roll came of age, a raw report from deep inside the counterculture maelstrom of how that music swept like a tsunami over Britain and the United States....Mr. Richards has found a way to channel to the reader his own avidity, his own deep soul hunger for music and to make us feel the connections that bind one generation of musicians to another. Along the way he even manages to communicate something of that magic, electromagnetic experience of playing on stage with his mates, be it in a little club or a huge stadium." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

"[A] slurry romp through the life of a man who knew every pleasure, denied himself nothing, and never paid the price." (David Remnick, The New Yorker)

"A vivid self-portrait and, of the Stones and their musical era, a grand group portrait....spellbinding storytelling." (Richard Corliss, Time)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2540 )
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  •  
    Melissa Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-26-11
    Melissa Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-26-11 Member Since 2005
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    "I like the Stones, but..."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Linden, CA, United States 01-23-11
    Peter Linden, CA, United States 01-23-11 Member Since 2004
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    "Raw Brilliance"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, United States 01-22-11
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, United States 01-22-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Awesome Autobio with Best Narration"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 01-15-11
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 01-15-11 Member Since 2010

    Rickapolis

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    "I'm satisfied"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Plymouth, MA, United States 01-14-11
    Paul Plymouth, MA, United States 01-14-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Entertaining from start to finish"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 01-13-11
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 01-13-11
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    "Not quite as Dull as I expected"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Kitchener, ON, Canada 01-10-11
    Christine Kitchener, ON, Canada 01-10-11
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    "A Compliment to the Music"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 01-09-11
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 01-09-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Thoroughly Enjoyable"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernard Orlando, FL, United States 01-08-11
    Bernard Orlando, FL, United States 01-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Sir Richards"

    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.
    Great "read".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 01-07-11
    Ellen LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 01-07-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Wonderful!"

    I loved this book. I saw the Stones in Boston Garden in 1972 when I was 21 years old, and never thought much about Keith Richards' role in the band. I had no idea he was such a driving force or creative influence for the group. He came across in the book as a very endearing character, and not misogynistic at all, as another reviewer suggested. He speaks frequently of the women he loved, admired and respected, and how important they were to him. In fact, I think he gives credit where he believes credit is due to all his bandmates and the fellow musicians he met along the way. He speaks truthfully and without excuses about his actions throughout his life; he rarely seems mean-spirited or cruel. And it just seems so clear, to him it was all about the music. His love of it is huge. As a counterpoint to this book, I would suggest finding online the very funny article in Slate magazine that imagines what Mick Jagger's response to the book might have been, had he written one. A big bonus at the end of the audiobook is that Keith, himself, narrates the last chapter. Incredibly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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