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Life Audiobook

Life

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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4.3 (239 )
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  •  
    Euan Thomson Wellington New Zealand 03-04-13
    Euan Thomson Wellington New Zealand 03-04-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thought this would be a bore, but..........."
    If you could sum up Life in three words, what would they be?

    Surprisingly good


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Surprising good listen - well worth the 5 stars I gave it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank kristiansand, Norway 02-23-13
    Frank kristiansand, Norway 02-23-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Keith is not just a junkie with a guitar!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gustavo Smidt Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Argentina 01-29-13
    Gustavo Smidt Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Argentina 01-29-13 Member Since 2013

    Argentine Gus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story. Amazing narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It's very well written, funny and engaging. Extremely well narrated by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and Keith Richards


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Life?

    Great stories about how the Stones started


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    malte fulda 11-18-12
    malte fulda 11-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "a bit heavy on impersination?"
    What made the experience of listening to Life the most enjoyable?

    i think keith richards tells his life's story in a very amusing, warm and witty way. ost of it sounds honest sincere and warm in a back-down-memory-lane kind of way. it's quite enjoyable.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Life?

    i'm only on chapter nine so far but his childhood and teenage years are a formidable listen.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    i think johnny depp does an okay if slightly monotone job of reading richards youth.
    there are attemps of trying a 'keef-speech' but he seems to manage to keep it subtle.

    the following narrator, joe hurley, however, goes too far over the top with an almost unbearable slurr and overly 'loaded' tone of voice. a little too irish, maybe, too.
    not that i dislike the irish accent, far from it. i just don't think it fits too well here.

    i've yet to come to the part that richards reads himself but i#m very much looking forward to it.


    Any additional comments?

    all in all, so far, it's an enjoyable experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lee Matraville, Australia 08-26-12
    lee Matraville, Australia 08-26-12
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    "A flawed hero"

    As a lifelong Rolling Stones fan, I felt this was a must read for me, but Im not sure it was such a good idea. LIFE is very much Keith's story, not necessarily The Rolling Stones, there is a lot of digression from the band's story but that's ok. The main problem I had with the book, was Keith's scathing and mean spirited attacks on Mick Jagger, it is relentless, adolescent and petty.
    He doesnt portray his heroin addiction with rose coloured glasses, however I reckon he still holds a certain pride that he handled and subsequently survived the junk better than most.and the resulting unrepentant neglect, bordering on abuse, of his young son Marlon, whilst in the midst of his and Anita's self indulgent heroin abuse is what I found really disturbing. What a terribly lonely and dangerous childhood he had. I found the fact that Mick actually took the little boy for his first hamburger spoke more about the measure of a man and father that Mick Jagger was, than Keith could ever be at the time.
    What is beautiful about this book, is his passion for The Stones and the music they have made, and there are some great stories along the way of the origins of many of their most well known and loved classics. His tributes to those musicians who inspired him and Mick in the very beginning are still who he holds most dear, his love for performance is truly felt in his words.
    Anyway that's the story, and Keith holds it up for all to see. It was a lovely surprise to hear him narrate the final chapters and I would have loved him to have narrated the whole story. Unlike other reviewers I have read, I found Johnny Depp's voice quite emotionless and irritating after a while,.although Joe Hurley has a swagger befitting the author and was much easier to listen to.
    After reading his story, Keith is still my hero, just more mortal and flawed to me now than he ever was before, and that's why Im not sure I should have read this book, I dont want to feel this way about him. Mick however remains my rock god.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason 07-02-12
    Jason 07-02-12
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    "great storytelling"
    Would you listen to Life again? Why?

    No, I generally dont do books twice


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Life?

    narratives & storyline


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Keith & Jonny were superb


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    rolling with the stones


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gunnar Benckert 03-23-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding"

    I really enjoyed this book, one of the best audio books I have listened to. It had the feeling of sitting in the company of someone who knows how to tell a story and tells it well. Anecdotes (quite a few of those) and lots of facts about Keef himself and the Stones. If you are remotely interested in rock music, the seventies or just want a good listen, this is the book for you. Don't miss it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meredith 01-25-12
    meredith 01-25-12 Member Since 2014

    always looking for the next fabulous audiobook. I'm so glad to have found the audible website.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "brilliant raconteur"

    the narrators do such a brilliant job of replicating nuances of language and expression.
    A fabulous biography with lots of depth, personal, cultural, and musical, and never self indulgent. Keith gives credit to many people who contributed to his success. The story also manages to set the scene for the sixties and beyond, in which the Stones and those who collected around them appeared to live charmed lives.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander Berlin, Germany 11-14-11
    Alexander Berlin, Germany 11-14-11 Member Since 2010
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    12
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    "good start… declining towards the end."

    First and foremost: This is a subjective review.
    I enjoyed this book – but I also expected somehow "more". The first few chapters that deal with a very young Keith Richards are very interesting, nicely written and I even don't mind the narrator as much as others did. In fact, I think they're as close to Richards himself as it gets and still be listenable.

    But by entering the middle/last third of the book it became kind of a drag with seemingly endless repetitions. I knew drugs played a huge part in Keith Richard's life but at a point it all just overshadows so much the events you'd like to hear more about, that it made me want to skip chapters.

    "Life" just did not offer me any new insights in the actual life and thinking of a music legend. If you've followed Richard's life from the newspaper's view, then you'll learn new things from the first half/third of the book, the rest will feel as old news.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Westmoreland, Tn, United States 05-29-11
    Brett Westmoreland, Tn, United States 05-29-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A strong start"

    I loved the first part of this book but after a while it becomes very self indulgent and the innocence is lost. It doesn't really finish, rather ends with some aimless recollections.

    Still it was an insightful read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Matthew
    Frickingen, Germany
    6/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    WATFORD, United Kingdom
    7/4/11
    Overall
    "What Happened?"

    To look at the life of Keith Richards; Rock Star, travelling the world, lost friends, Altamont, drug addictions, women throwing themselves at him, you'd be hard pushed to make any part of it boring; But somehow, 'Keef' has done just that. I don't know how, but this book is dull;

    He spends pages waxing lyrical about how important he and the band have been to modern music, and then skirts over them demoting their keyboard player to roadie because he wasn't photogenic enough. The prose is made harder to slog through by the usually-reliable Mr Depp's wooden reading.

    I've only made it as far as the end of the first section, when world fame is gathering apace whilst the band tours the USA, but I'm bored rigid. Such a wasted opportunity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    London, United Kingdom
    6/7/11
    Overall
    "What a hoot."

    Just awesome. Johnny Depp's narration is a master stroke. What a legend! Can't quite believe he is still knocking around after all he has been through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paula
    Hexham, United Kingdom
    1/2/11
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    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.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    5/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good till Joe Hurley starts talking."
    What did you like best about Life? What did you like least?

    I like the life story of Keith Richards as read by Johnny Depp, but when Joe Hurley takes over I just can't listen.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    God knows what Hurley is playing at, but it ruins the book. So fake it's comical.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Joanna Franklin
    4/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "AMAZING"

    Enjoyed this so much. Incredibly sad when it was finished! Keith's description of Ronnie Wood clinging onto a horse for dear life and his crap African safari had me in stitches.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phillip
    3/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing Story"

    Well worth listening to, you get a deeper meaning of what it takes to be a successful musician.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Derek
    Perth, United Kingdom
    11/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"
    What did you like best about Life? What did you like least?

    Joe Hurleys reading was brilliant


    Would you be willing to try another book from Keith Richards? Why or why not?

    Not really, he's not that interesting


    What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

    Brilliant Life like (Joe Hurley)


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this in phases, the 80's were interesting, however Johnny Depps reading was dull and spoiled the ambience a little for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ROBIN MCCULLY
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hot Stuff"
    Where does Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    By far one the most enjoyable rock n' roll biographies I have read so far. Well executed and really insightful. This was the biography that gave birth to the modern rock n' roll biography.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Keith Richards. He lays out the story of his life from very humble beginnings to mega success as a founding member of one of the world's greatest, and longest running, rock 'n' roll bands. It's been quite a ride, and given the drugs and other abuse the man has inflicted upon himself, it's almost impossible to imagine that he's lasted this long. Somehow he has, though, and even at the age of sixty-eight, he's still playing better, rocking harder, and apparently having more fun than rockers one-third his age.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Around 1986 or so, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Jamaica, and we rented a villa above a well-known resort town. On the winding drive up to the villa, several banana trees had fallen onto the road. When we arrived, the gardener told us in broken English to "watch out for rolling stones." Owing to the fallen trees, we didn't make the connection. Then later that afternoon, a guy in a compact car drove by our villa and waved at us. I said to my wife, "that looked just like Keith Richards." She laughed at me and said, "you're dreaming." But at two in the morning, a guitar took off like a 747--so loud he could have been in our living room.

    That was one of the reasons I picked up this book, and I was not disappointed by it. Richards is a great storyteller, battle-scarred by drugs and years on the road, but entertaining and articulate, with a surprisingly sane view of his insane life. He tells it all with honesty and objectivity, and, yes, even class; it never went to his head, so you get a realistic picture of what it was like being a key figure in one of of the greatest, if not the greatest, rock and roll bands in history. After reading the book, I wish my wife and I had gone up, knocked on his door, and said hello. I have a feeling that he just might have invited us in for a smoke.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Hell Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    This really took me back to the seventies, although much of Keith Richards's so-called "life" took shape the decade before. The most fascinating aspect of this book though, written by Richards's journalist-friend James Fox, involves the verification of the gross misconduct we all assumed must be the daily bacchanals of The Stones. My parents, although I don't remember them ever saying anything specifically about this band, would have discounted them as dirty purveyors of filth I'm sure; although perhaps I'm not giving them enough credit. We listened to a lot of music in our house, and I still have my dad's vinyl collection of Hank Williams, Jellyroll Morton, Merle Haggard, BB King, and Roy Acuff. But we also listened to John Denver and Englebert Humperdink. No wonder I feel bipolar. As fortune would have it, I had a few friends who turned me on to the Allman Brothers, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, and, of course, The Stones. I said goodbye (for a time) to Elton John, Joni Mitchell, and the whole of country music.

    The guitar is my favorite instrument. Even though I failed my lessons, I love the sound of the thing - electric, acoustic, steel, resonator, it just doesn't matter. And the part of this book I particularly enjoyed is the discussion of the music, including Richards's influences (Chuck Berry, etc.) and how he went about learning new ways of playing, including the 5 string open G tuning. I've seen him play twice, both times at the Coliseum ('81, '89) and he's good, really good. I've got other favorite guitarists, but after reading his book I think I appreciate with more clarity the kind of music I was hearing.

    What isn't all that interesting was his life as a junkie. The scoring, the used-up people, the sycophants, the vomiting, the syringes. For those who want the gritty details, it's all here in technicolor. I also had a little bit of a gag reflex with the way women were passed around and talked about (bitches, jugs); but it's a book told by a heroin-loving rocker, so what can I expect, right? Also on my complaint list is the whole tone of the thing. Smug, I think. Happy with his own attitude and perceptions - despite the fact that he let his children be raised by a village of Rastafarians while the Mother (Anita Pallenberg) is in a Jamaican prison. And why the nastiness about Mick Jagger? Richards gets in more digs than an archeologist. Apparently, according to Richards, Mick Jagger suffers from LVS (lead vocal syndrome). Seems a bit too snarky - but then again it's probably damn honest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rufus
    4/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cracking"

    Takes a little while to settle in to the change of narrators and the vocal EQ isn't always the same which seems a little unprofessional but the story is wonderful and "must-listen" for anyone in to music, musician or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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