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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
  • 5 Stars
    147
  • 4 Stars
    78
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    107
  • 4 Stars
    47
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    106
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    2
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • P.Lean
  • 08-19-14

Terrible narration.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

A die hard Richards fan might put up with this terrible narration.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

There are several really interesting facts throughout the book although it tailed off a little swiftly into self congratulation.

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

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.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I kept reading only because of wanting to find out more about an basically interesting life.

Any additional comments?

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Alison
  • 04-17-14

Absolutely Offal

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Luke
  • 02-05-14

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ros
  • 12-29-13

A bit scattered, like the man himself!

What did you like most about Life?

Interesting stories

What was one of the most memorable moments of Life?

The incident with Anita Pallenberg and her young boyfriend

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Frightening journey through the heroin addiction

Any additional comments?

Well worth a read for anyone remotely interested in the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, or Rock and Roll/Blues music..

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ms
  • 12-19-13

Great.... Just great !!

Where does Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Best one so far (and I've done 23 others prior to this)

What did you like best about this story?

Keith is very engaging and interesting

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The book has 3 narrators, all are good

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Everything is possible

Any additional comments?

A very engrossing and entertaining audiobook with some great insights. There is warmth throughout and it's a pleasure to listen to.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Philip
  • 07-13-13

It's all about the music

I think I have always been slightly on the Beatles side of the Beatles v Stones debate, but got drawn in to listening to this for two reasons. First, the recommendation of a friend; second the salacious stories and the drugs. What I got out of it though, was a greater appreciation of the music and the musician that Keef is/was.
My own musical ability beyond a few long forgotten notes on the recorder is non-existent, so I am not sure I fully understood five-string open tuning, but that and the other passages where Richards talked about the music were fascinating. As a consequence, after all these years of buying records, CDs and downloads, I feel I have just started to listen to music properly.
The only downside; when I know what the author sounds like, I normally prefer them to read their own work. I concede that it was unlikely that Richards was going to read the whole thing, but I am not sure that Johnny Depp was a great choice. Even so, that didn’t take the gloss off a great listen.

  • Overall
  • Deborah T
  • 04-13-13

Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll --- and Johnny Depp!

This intimate story of the rise of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones, begins with drugs, traces history back to Richards’ childhood and comes full circle to the present. Slow at times, the story has a tendency to repeat itself, but the occasional nugget of observation (Keith’s views of America, his thoughts on the talents of other musicians, or the challenges with playing specific cords) keeps the story entertaining. Johnny Depp’s voice is a pleasure to listen to, and this audiobook kept me going through my first half marathon. Recommended for those who grew up listening to the Rolling Stones or who want to learn more about celebrity than expensive clothing and paparazzi.

  • Overall
  • sarah
  • 04-13-13

life keith richards

Well....rock and roll. An interesting insight to keiths life and thoughts throughout his career. Hold tight for 24 hours biographic journey which has many twists and turns.

  • Overall
  • Jodie
  • 04-11-13

May change your opinion

I listened to this with a positively biased opinion being a Stones fan. Keith unashamedly admits to a plethora or illegal and unethical activity through his Rolling Stones career, incidents that most people probably expect to hear. He does however make attempts to excuse his behaviour, carefully abdicating responsibility, sometimes placing it on others. He doesn’t omit any gory bits, making it seem an honest description, but he does seem to ‘glamorise’ parts as if he is proud of his behaviour. The more I listened, the less I liked his character. I thought it was a well narrated book, the speakers (who weren’t Keith) adopting Keith’s style and accent and it did keep me interested, wondering what would happen next and no doubt, he has had an interesting life. I would give it a 5 star rating but im not as positively biased as I was before listening

  • Overall
  • Alexander Patterson
  • 02-16-13

Interesting but patchy

Without doubt there are parts of this biography that provide insight to the development of popular music in Britain and to the impossible to overestimate role the Rolling Stones played in that development. However at other times the audio becomes so rambling as to be almost unlistenable, certainly where I would have skipped pages in the book. I am interested in music but the long discussions on the various merits of five string open tuning in Rock and Roll was beyond me.

Having different readers did not help, especially since no one had bothered to correct some of the American pronunciation of English words and place names. This gives an impression of a rushed job with no editorial control.

Having made these criticisms, parts of this audio book are outstanding. The descriptions of early life, fear and handling of bullying and meeting Mick Jagger were exceptional. The descriptions of the affects of drug addiction and the loss of a son were worth the money on their own. The relationship between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger runs through the book like a thread of gold. Sometime twisted and sometimes buried but always sparkling whenever it catches the light of the writers pen.

The description of the first tours in the USA and supporting black artist in the UK provide a view of the way that music helped to break racial intolerance, albeit slowly. And it shows how the lack of widespread slavery produced a different attitude to colour, even if race was still a political battleground.

Overall, I was left with a feeling that a good editor could have produced an outstanding audio book, especially if they had been prepared to point out pronunciation errors.