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
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'.
Never a dull moment, well narrated by the various voices - including Keith. A take me as i am, this is the way it was story behind the man and the band. Great insights into the creative process behind many great songs, living with multiple addictions, and life on the road. You don't have to be a rock fan to enjoy this story. Loved it.
Joe Hurleys reading was brilliant
Not really, he's not that interesting
Brilliant Life like (Joe Hurley)
I enjoyed this in phases, the 80's were interesting, however Johnny Depps reading was dull and spoiled the ambience a little for me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"A bit scattered, like the man himself!"
The incident with Anita Pallenberg and her young boyfriend
Frightening journey through the heroin addiction
Well worth a read for anyone remotely interested in the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, or Rock and Roll/Blues music..
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