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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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    149
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    78
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    32
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    7

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    47
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    24
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    2
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    108
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    49
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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!

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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.

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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.

  • Overall
  • Brett
  • Westmoreland, Tn, United States
  • 05-29-11

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.

  • Overall
  • Tim
  • Crows Nest, Australia
  • 03-29-11

A great story, let down by the narrators.

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'.

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Berwick, Australia
  • 02-20-11

Not an ordinary Life

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.

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  • 10-11-16

Poor narration. Narrative lost midway.

Johnny Depp narration for the first segment was engaging as was the narrative and pace around the early years.
Switches to poor, sloppy narration with Joe Hurley - frankly off putting. Story loses pace and interest... with what felt like endless fairly uninteresting narrative about sex, drugs and intermittent rock n roll.

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  • DENIS
  • 09-10-16

It's interesting, but you probably know most

It's interesting, but you probably know most stories already. If you grew up in that era, you'll love it.

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  • Jools B
  • 05-17-16

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.

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  • Jo Franklin
  • 04-06-16

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.

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  • Phillip
  • 03-30-16

Amazing Story

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

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  • Derek
  • 11-27-15

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.

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  • JR MC
  • 07-20-15

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.

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  • Rufus
  • 04-12-15

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.

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  • Stephen
  • 02-27-15

If you love the Stones this is a WOW!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Worth listening to because I learnt new stuff on subject.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Keith Richards , how is he still breathing after all that ? Phew !

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

Would have preferred just Richards and Depp to narrate.

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

Absolutely, if done properly .

Any additional comments?

The stones experienced in one week more than most in a lifetime.

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  • Paul
  • 02-26-15

Wow!

An absolutely fantastic listen, and what a story.
How is he still alive?!

No to download Mick' side of the story.