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
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!
It's very well written, funny and engaging. Extremely well narrated by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and Keith Richards
Great stories about how the Stones started
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.
i'm only on chapter nine so far but his childhood and teenage years are a formidable listen.
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.
all in all, so far, it's an enjoyable experience.
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.
No, I generally dont do books twice
narratives & storyline
Keith & Jonny were superb
rolling with the stones
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!
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.
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.
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.
I'm a fan of Johnny Depp but I have to say his part in the narration of an incredible life story is monotonal, deadpan and flawed with continual mispronunciations of Cockney slang. Sorry Johnny: I'm Australian, but even I know how to pronounce the London boroughs and and expressions that you continuously seemed to stumble over. Couldn't 'Uncle' Keef at least have primed you?
Joe Hurley's style is so radically different from Johnny's that I had trouble adjusting to it at first, then got comfortable with it as he went on. Then all too soon JD steps back in and that plodding style has taken the wind right out of the sails once again.
I've been unable to finish it so far: I pick it up every now and then but as much as I'm enthralled by the story of a true rock'n'roll star whose life is so far removed from the common man, Johnny's drone just distracts me from the real-life drama. My theory is that he was getting into character for 'The Tourist'.
"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!
"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.
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.
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.
"If you love the Stones this is a WOW!"
Worth listening to because I learnt new stuff on subject.
Keith Richards , how is he still breathing after all that ? Phew !
Would have preferred just Richards and Depp to narrate.
Absolutely, if done properly .
The stones experienced in one week more than most in a lifetime.
An absolutely fantastic listen, and what a story.
How is he still alive?!
No to download Mick' side of the story.
"Great Story well written,it pulls no punches listened to it twice"
Mr Richards gives us an insight in to the Rolling Stones and how they developed over the years.He has no ego which i liked about him he was self critical and very funny in parts.
I liked the choice of narrators especially Mr Depp,Well worth a listen
Hearing tales of the Rolling Stones I'm honestly too young too remember
Description of a event when driving through Texas
Such a giggle and surprise
A great read for and Stones fan
A die hard Richards fan might put up with this terrible narration.
There are several really interesting facts throughout the book although it tailed off a little swiftly into self congratulation.
The book was advertised as being narrated by Richards, Depp and Hurley but actually it was mainly Hurley. I don't know if that was Hurleys real voice or if he was putting on a faux Richards imitation. It sounded like a fast show character and ruined several sections of the book for me.
I kept reading only because of wanting to find out more about an basically interesting life.
I feel Depp and Richards are on the credits in a way that suggests they will appear much more than they do and that the billing is very misleading indeed.
"No Need To Be A Fan"
I had no particular interest in The Rolling Stones or the musician's biography genre in general. It was only the vague idea of the reputation of the man himself and the meaty length of the book that prompted me to purchase it.
From the opening account of a car full of drugs to Keith's accessible insights into the techniques of making music I found this fascinating and entertaining as much due to the writing as the content. Whether it is Depp's familiar purr or Hurley's chuckling growl, Life feels as if it is one man talking to you at a corner table in your local pub. While I am unable to say whether this account of one of the world's most famous musical acts will please Stones fanatics, it most certainly is an education and a pleasurable introduction into over half a century of history from one spectacularly individual individual's perspective.
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