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
"[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)
This is a much more comprehensive look at Keith's life than I had expected. It's like reliving a favorite part of my life and finally being given a backstage pass to see what I had only imagined was going on with those celebrities I had envied from a distance. It makes me want to go back and (and I will) listen to the songs with a whole new appreciation. It definitely has changed my perspective on Keith, who I had viewed as a burnt out, cigarette-smoking zombie of a guitar player who was lucky to be a part of the Stones (much less still alive.)
Turns out he's a pretty intelligent guy, with an incredible dedication to his music and has been a major contributor to writing most of the hits.
I was disappointed with Johnny Depp's narration. He does a great job with accents for other people at various points, but most of his narration is done in a lifeless monotone that sounds nothing like Keith Richards and takes the life out of the words. The narration improves dramatically when the narrator (Depp or someone else) switches to a Keith Richards imitation.
I could listen to some of these stories again and again, they are enormously entertaining and reveal Richards as a sincere individual, devoted first and foremost to his music, his mates and his family. Listening to the behind the scenes realities of events that led to some of the most culturally exciting moments in rock and roll, is worth the listen alone. Richards reveals much from his early life and career and his consistent devotion to blues and roots music serves as a touch stone through out this charmed life. You will never listen to a Stones song in the same way- it will become richer with knowing the moments that surrounded that songs creation and recording. I am now even more aware of the astonishing talents that created a rock and roll legend having shared the personal highs and lows of an amazing life.
Maybe if you're a musician you might be able to appreciate this book, but it is so long and drawn out with every pecuniary detail about nothing, mostly his drug addiction, women and music, every other word is f**k and after awhile it is just so degrading to listen to. I like the Stones, but this book is just listening to someone rap on about themselves forever, I couldn't finish it, it didn't connect to anything I could relate to and that's OK for a peek into someone else reality, but this qualifies as a monologue to infinity. I understand Mick Jagger had a similar reaction.
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.
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