With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics, and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock-and-roll life: taking the chances he wanted, speaking his mind, and making it all work in a way that no one before him had ever done.
Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane. And what a life. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records as a child in post-war Kent. Learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones' first fame and success as a bad-boy band. The notorious Redlands drug bust and subsequent series of confrontations with a nervous establishment that led to his enduring image as outlaw and folk hero. Creating immortal riffs such as the ones in 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Honky Tonk Woman'. Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg, and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the US, Exile on Main Street and Some Girls. Ever increasing fame, isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Mick Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Solo albums and performances with his band the Xpensive Winos. Marriage, family, and the road that goes on for ever.
In a voice that is uniquely and intimately his own, with the disarming honesty that has always been his trademark, Keith Richard brings us the essential life story of our times.
©2010 Keith Richards (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
This is the finest audible book I've listened to. The narrators (Depp and Hurley) although diametrically opposed in terms of vocal style, both add so much to the listening experience. This is an experience not to be missed. Imagine yourself sitting with Keith in front of a roaring fire in the middle of winter and Keith is reminiscing about the many milestones in his professional and personal life.
The Audible novel puts you there.. seriously. On top of everything else, Keith shares his techniques, guitar tunings, and songwriting methods with ease. As an amateur guitarist, I have learned more about the instrument and various tuning methods (specifically Open G) in a week of listening to the book than I have in over 30 years of trying to teach myself.
In this book, Keith openly discusses his drug habits, but always counsels the listener to stay away from drugs. This is no mean feat.... the book is full of stories of what happened under the influence of Heroin, cocaine, marijuana and various other uppers and downers, but amazingly you come away from the experience with some understanding of why Keith (and others) would subject themselves to the problems that this lifestyle introduces, without the feeling that Keith is in any way endorsing this lifestyle.
I have to say, prior to the book, my impression of Keith Richards was that of an aging rock star who should have quit long ago in his prime. A rock personality who was almost always "out of it" on drugs or alcohol, and who was almost an anachronism in this day and age.
What I learnt however was that this is a highly intelligent and articulate man who has an amazing capacity to recall events from the past 40 years or so, and in the process has given us, the reader (or listener) an unprecedented insight into an amazing life at a turning point in 20th Century culture.
Read or listen to "Life".... you won't regret it.
Thanks Keef for a great body of work and an amazing biography.
Keep on rockin'!
This is the second best audiobook I've ever listened to. The section Keith reads himself is simply marvellous- cooking tips, pet care, it's all in there! Fabulous!
I would have read LIFE, but I am so happy that I did not. Listening to Richards, Depp, and Hurley was simply so engaging that I think this a case where listening beats reading. The book itself is of real substance. I think this is a autobiography at its best.
I love me a rock bio TRUST me! but I couldn't get through this to be honest. The man is a legend I admit and has had a pretty cool life but you have to wade through so much rambling that it gets hard to stay focused. Gave it a while but couldn't last. Sorry Keef!!
An audio book loving Aucklander.
What an amazing guy. What I loved most about this book, was the fact that you discovered how incredibly talented Keith was/is, but you also learned he is a good, kind hearted and giving man, despite his flaws. He was so different in so many ways to Mick it would seem, no wonder they each brought something so different to their writing partnership, as The Glimmer Twins. I wasn't so fond of the first narrator (ie Joe Hurley), I think it wold have been better to have just had one narrator throughout. This book has really opened my eyes up to The Stones and what makes them so bloody great. They certainly know how to work hard!
Tell us about yourself!
An audio edition of Keith Richards’ best-selling autobiography Life should silence most sceptical critics of audio books, who regard the format as an oversimplified substitution of reading. The Rolling Stones' founder and lead guitarist proves that, at least one literature genre–memoirs¬–is better listened to, than read. Even though, he himself rarely features on the twenty-three hour record.
Instead, Joe Hurley, New York singer, imitates Richard's voice, while Jonny Depp leads the narration with a trademark lucidity, ensuring that the record beat any competition at the Audiobook of the Year award in 2011.
Despite a very provocative character of the story, taken to the extremes by skilful narrators, Life is far from being just an audio guide for heroin addicts or a collection of satirical monologues about Mick Jagger. Depp and Hurley dramatize a lifelong experiment that Keith Richards endured to create the Rolling Stones and keep the band rolling for fifty odd years. In this experiment, he managed to find the right combination of hard work, passion for music, and sheer desire to create something outstanding, which yielded miracles like Jumping Jack Flash and Gimme Shelter.
Life is also about another realm that exists in parallel with our world, hidden behind fences of ocean villas, VIP clubs and private parties. Occupied by rich and famous, the realm is built on the absolute freedom. Free to have anything, to say anything, to take anything, 'to do what I want', Keith's point is that humans are not designed to cope with such amount of freedom.
At 68, he sounds genuinely astounded with the fact that he survived his experiment. While most of the others who were unfortunate enough to taste freedom with the Rolling Stones, did not.
Interesting book to learn more about the life of a character such as KR. In terms of the narrators, I found that Jonny Deep was pretty good with the parts that he did, even though a bit monotone sometimes. Joe Hurley took a bit to get used to as he has a very strong accent, but he could really translate the personality of Keith Richards and that enriched the storey. I got a bit lost sometimes when he transitioned to different characters as it was not very clear all the time whether is was Keith talking or somebody else. Keith himself does the final chapters, and his english is not very clear, so I suppose it is good that he did not read the entire book. Overall, a very good audiobook.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
Oh my word, I so enjoyed this book! I gobbled it up and wanted more... and then last nut not least there were little snippets of Keith himself narrating.... Wow!
Most narrated by Keith himself, the book gives a somewhat biased view of the Rolling Stones by somebody who is not Mick Jagger. Often the band is perceived as Mick Jagger and the rest of them, but this book tells a different story. It is not a book of gossip, but just a recollection of experiences and the authors view on relationships.
Although I grew up listening to the Stones I would not have considered listening to this book ever, but a penfriend in Nashville (I live in New Zealand) told me how much he was enjoying reading the book so I thought I would give it a go. I am glad I did.
Keith is Keith. Johnny Depp tries to be Keith. Interestingly, Johnny Depp based his Captain Jack Sparrow accent and mannerisms on Keith Richard, who actually played Captain Jack's father in one of the movies.
hisThis may be a strange comment, but the book made me interested. There were no "LOL" moments but at times it made me sympathetic to the rock & roll heroes. I have not been a huge fan of the band, although I have all of their albums, but this book made me want to get them all out and re-evaluate them based on what was happening to the individual band members at the time.
Surprising good listen - well worth the 5 stars I gave it.
Beautifully narrated by Johnny Depp, (who's characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow, in the Pirates of the Caribbean, is based on Richards' peculiar mannerisms). This book takes us back to the very start of Keith Richards' life, in a small town in England, right efter the end of WWII.
There are big contrasts between passages that are raw and direct, (Richards' own words), and the flat and matter-of-fact expositions obviously written by his "ghost writer". This gives a great deal of heart and emotion to the many stories told from the long, and often unpleasant, life of Keith Richards.
Though having been a life-long Rolling Stones fan, I never knew the high level of musicianship that the members bring. Keith was a choir-boy, and highly trained musician, and listening to Keith's words around music and the making of music, one begins to realize that the stereotypical junkie, (who have been sober for decades), are a master of his profession: guitarist.
Biographies are either written like a historian wrote it, (often they are written by historians), or they are honest and raw. The raw ones are always the best. They make you laugh and cry, as joyous and gut-wrenchingly sad events are told. The "historian" biographies, only recite events and dates, and it becomes passionless; then the reader/listener don't get emotionally involved. I can tell you, there aren't a dull moment in the entire book, it's a roller-coaster ride of emotion. "Life", is reminiscent of the autobiographical books written by Richard Feynman; in that they reveal many layers to the persons'.
If you are looking for a good listen, buy it!
If you are a fan of the Rolling Stones, buy it!
If you want to understand how a handful of Englishmen, listening to Muddy Waters, went from obscurity, to become he most successful rock band of all time, buy it!
My life is a lot richer for having read/listened to this book, and you will probably feel the same!
I thought I knew about Keith Richards as I have been reading about him in the newspapers for the better part of 50 years- but his biography reveals some thing and somebody quite different.
This book shows a person who is intelligent, engaging, funny and very well able to write not just an autobiography but a book that chronicles our times since the war.
Keith Richards uses his own life and experiences to show the changes that have taken place in Britain and America over more than six decades and running through the whole narrative is a boundless love for music.This book is an unexpected joy that has made me revisit the music again and rediscover sounds and songs that I have not listened to since the 1960s - quite an achievement for a first book - but that's Keith Richards - clever, surprising and full of satisfaction.
"Disappointed by the change of reader"
I bought this after having really enjoyed Clapton's autobiography on Audible.
And i wasn't disappointed with this one either - with Johnny Depp doing an excellent job of reading the book.
But just as I was getting really hooked on, the reader suddenly changed (about a third of the way into the book). And that ruined everything. The other reader is just rubbish - sounds like a mafia boss from a Guy Richie movie - trying too hard to sound like a rock star and frankly, just ends up sounding really really annoying.
So annoying that i've had to stop listening to this book. Which is a shame because the writing itself is not bad and i was really looking forward to it.
Very disappointed with the publisher's choice of the second reader for this book. You cannot do this after letting the user get used to Johnny Depp's voice.
"Good in parts"
Some interesting stories which entertain & reveal but what lets this audio book down is the narration. Johnny Depp does excellent work as usual, but Joe Hurley is not as good and really disappointing in comparison.
Why have two different narrators? Dumb if you ask me.
"Insightful glimpse of a hedonistic existence"
Detailed, humorous insight into the lives of the Stones. Brutally honest, outrageously funny in places and raw in others. Too much detail about the drugs for my liking. Unless you have shared an addiction to heroin, I don't think most people would enjoy the third of the book dedicated the the finer details of being a smack head. Fabulous insight into the inter relationships within the group. Overall a good read but not in the same league as Rods.
"Narration was truly awful........."
Jonny Depp was perhaps an odd choice but he was vastly preferable to Hurley who grated so much that I found I just couldn't listen. Wish I'd read the book instead..............
"Joe Hurley ruins it."
The stories are amazing but the main issue with this audiobook is reader Joe Hurley.
Buy the book, skip the audio..
"Poor narration ruins this great book"
I'm afraid I'm finding listening to this book both hugely enjoyable and deeply annoying.
I can put up with Johnny Depp's occasional mispronunciation of place names - he wisely chooses to avoid a Keef impersonation unless enacting a conversation and is an engaging narrator.
Unfortunately he is replaced about a third of the way through by Joe Hurley who DOES attempt an impersonation to disastrous effect.
This is a great book but I'm finding the terrible mockney accent of the presumably American Hurley almost unbearable.
I've skipped ahead to find that Depp does reappear towards the end of the book. For the finale the man himself takes over. I'm hoping I can last that long.
What A Shame.
"You have to have this audiobook!"
One of the very best audiobooks I have ever listened to. Absolutely compulsive.
The change of narrators was an issue and slightly annoying at the time, but after a very short while I became accustomed to the new voice and agree with other reviewers in that the narrators FIT the period being narrated very well. And the final change at the end is simply sublime.
I can thoroughly reccomend this book to anyone who has ever even had a passing interest in The Rolling Stones and Keith Richards. He remembers everything in incredible detail and makes no excuses for anything. The matter-of-fact style is excellent and exactly what you would expect. The introduction gets you hooked immediately and sets the scene perfectly.
I also found it good to listen to the Stones albums inbetween chapters of the audiobook. This really brought the story to life even more and what Keith has written about a certain period dovetails perfectly with the style and feel of the music he made at the time.
I was vaguely aware of what The Rolling Stones has achieved before listening to this audiobook, but the music wasn't really my thing. I am now a fan of both Keith and his music.
I can't talk the audiobook up enough - a true MUST LISTEN!
"A great book, utterly ruined by the narration"
Book - fantastic. Narration? Great, until they switch from Johnny Depp to Joe Hurley. Firstly, it's jarring and takes you out of the story, so always a bad idea to do this.
Secondly, Hurley's narration is ridiculous and actually made me so angry I had to switch it off. He does this OTT parody of a punch drunk rocker's slur which comes across as totally contrived and insincere, and PERFORMING every line, drawling, slurring, laughing wryly - it's distracting and daft and ruined the rest of this book for me. My advice? Read the book or find another audiobook version. DO NOT BUY THIS you will be so, so dissapointed.
Sadly, though I (and a friend) struggled through two hours of Johnny Depp's monotonous narration, that was as much as we could bear.
It was hard to know if it was his dull delivery and shocking attempt at an English accent plus mispronunciation of certain place names, etc. or the actual text of the book which was so boring. I agree with one of the previous reviews in that buying the book would have been preferable but, having listened to the first two hours, I am not disposed to waste my money.
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