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.
No mincing words on this one people. What a superb rendition. If I could have lived only one-hundreth the LIFE KR lived, I'd consider myself lucky. Right place, right time, ok. But balls were needed to make the story what it was, and he had them, albeit sometimes aided by stuff. So what. Truly a great story, exceptionally written and magistrally performed.
It doesn't get any better. I pity anyone who chose the book version, because the added dimension of the audible version is priceless. Well done Keith. Few people could have done it as well as you've done. You might not be the greatest guitarist to take the stage, but you've got few competitors when it comes to living life as it should be lived.
If you grew up in the 60's and followed the Stones then this is a must. Its very long and if it was a real book I would have skipped bits, especially the sometimes long winded parts where he describes in great detail his guitar learning/playing, but this will appeal to guitarists I suppose. Overall I found it very interesting and certainly saw many aspects of "behind the scenes" that I was not aware of, like how they regarded each other, how he regarded the other Stones members skills and morals, what they did on tour and at home etc.
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!
"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.
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.
"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.
"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..
"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..............
"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.
"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.
Boring, monotonous and repetitive are good adjectives to use here: they not only describe the text and the narration (although there was a brief moment of hope when the narrator changed) but, I begin to suspect, the author himself. To be honest, I tried very hard with this audio book. I am a great fan of the Stones and their music and I am not one to give up easily, but eventually I had to throw in the towel and admit defeat. These stories probably sound great told round the table with a glass or two, but a good read they do not make. To use Keith Richards' own words, 'what a terrible piece of tripe'. Sorry Keith, I tried hard but it just didn't work out.
"Fantastic, listened to it in a week!"
So interesting, this man really helped shape a generation! The narration is all fantastic and unlike a lot of rocker autobiographies it doesn't tail off at the end! Must listen!
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