Life
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Life

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  38,894 ratings  ·  3,423 reviews
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. Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane.
Hardcover, First Edition, 564 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 2009)
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Best Books on Rock and Roll
6th out of 432 books — 738 voters
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Petra X
Edit A GR friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) has sent me a really good story about Keith's son Marlon, whom my friend knew well. I've posted it in the comments, msg. 67.

***

7 star book!

One of the best books I've read this year. Keith Richards was a clever kid, a talented artist, a choirboy who sang for the Queen and became an outstanding musician in one of the world's best bands. What is most on display in this book is his tremendous interest in music and musicians, not in rock, bands, mone...more
Steve
I started listening to the Rolling Stones back in the early 1970s. “Hot Rocks” (an early “greatest hits collection – and still one of the best by any band), “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile on Main Street,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” etc. In terms of the group and its history, I caught them in their second wave, the one where they had morphed into the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” I saw the band once, during their “Tour of the Americas” tour (the one where Ron Wood joined the band). I hung with...more
Velvetink
Growing up in Dartford for Keith – was somewhere to get out of. After WWII it was pungent with horse manure & desperation and he never forgot the story that he was born in an air raid shelter. It wasn’t London. It wasn’t hip or cool - it was the backside of the wrong side of the tracks. But when his father Gus gave him an old wooden guitar and showed him a few chords and licks, London loomed closer. Especially after he could play “Malaguena” and managed to escape National Service – that grea...more
Kp
It was fascinating! If you have always loved The Rolling Stones and rock and roll and have a lot of nostalgia about the 60's... then I think you'd find Keith Richards memoir fascinating, too. It is long, but most of the time, well, I was just blown away hearing about all the stuff Keith Richards did. He has a great conversational style; listening was fun - kind of like sitting in the living room hearing him tell about his life (with help from Johnny Depp and one other reader.) What really shines...more
F.R.
Keith Richards’ autobiography starts really well and holds that momentum for a long time; although when it reaches the period covering the Eighties it does fall somewhat into score settling, and after that becomes somewhat bland and without spark. As such you have to hand it to this book, it really does mirror The Rolling Stones’ career.

Ghost writer James Fox does a fantastic job of catching his master’s voice. No doubt Keef was sat down in front of a microphone and told to talk about his life i...more
Allyson
What can I say?
I am a fervent Stones fan, more of a Mick than Keith although Andrew loves Keef and has shown me the "way." But it is the combination of the group that makes the band, and the times they have lived through. KR makes this abundantly clear throughout Life and is at times all possible sides of a character: arrogant, nasty, mean, kind, loving, fun, crazy, menacing, clueless, dangerous, and incredibly talented while still being very modest. This book is amazing, sounds just like him wi...more
Gary
Ok, Keith Richards.... ever since I first heard SATISFACTION on my little portable AM radio....I have loved the Stones. I had to have been 12 years old or so.....

I have listened,and loved their music to the present. I had heard the stories,and knew that drug use, etc.etc. etc. but there was a lot about Keith that I didn't know.

This book thrilled me...parts of it I loved. Parts I found tedious. Parts made me laugh.....other parts really pissed me off .....pissed off at Keith....How could he act l...more
Robin
Did y'all know that Keith Richards is a huge booklover and once wanted to be a librarian?

Aug - I finally decided this was the quintessential summer read so read it on our camping trips. Having been a fan since the Stones first came on the scene (I vacillated between loving them and the Beatles) I was interested in learning more about the early days and how he has managed to stay alive (we are all aware that he looks like the living dead). I also wanted to know more about the song writing proces...more
David Cerruti
Feb 07, 2011 David Cerruti rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Guitar players, Rolling Stones fans
5 stars for the music – the best part. Guitarists will appreciate the description of how Keith came up with 5 string open G tuning, which he often used.

4 stars for historical detail.

2 stars for long rambling tales of drug use and the resulting busts. Much of it sounds like Keith talking to a tape recorder. It wasn’t all boring. The keystone cops and courtroom episodes were funny. The Stones had some good lawyers. Anyone else would have gone to jail.

A bonus star for the inserts – short narratives...more
James Thane
I rarely read books by or about celebrities, but I will make the occasional exception if the celebrity in question has written a song as great as "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain," or (as in this case) "Satisfaction."

Keith Richards 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...more
Madeline
"It was 1975, a time of brutality and confrontation. Open season had been declared since our last tour, the tour of '72, known as the STP. The State Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex (whatever that is), and violence across the United States. All the fault of us, mere minstrels. We had been inciting the youth to rebellion, we were corrupting America, and they had ruled never to let us travel in the United States again. It had become, in the time of Nix...more
Abeer Hoque
I picked this book up because it was lying around the art colony where I was living for a month, and because NYT op-ed columnist, Maureen Dowd, of all people, had said Keith Richards had come off surprisingly chivalrously (high praise for a free swinging rock and roll star).

"Life" by Keith Richards, the guitarist for the British band the Rolling Stones, starts off like some druggie teenage wet dream, all groupies and pills and party attitude. Now, I'm a wannabe druggie teenager, and I was put o...more
Cindy
I want this book to stay on my book shelf even though I am not going to waste my time finishing it. I didn't want to delete it so I knew no other way to give my review but to give it some kind of star and to say that I had read it without getting "You started Life so many days ago" from my GoodReads newsletter. I DO NOT recommend this book to anybody. Not even a die hard Rolling Stones fan. Everything I wanted to find out about the Stones in this book, just wasn't there. Poorly written, poorly e...more
Tosh
Bob Dylan's memoir is a classic. Patti Smith's memoir "Just Kids" a classic. "Life" by Keith Richards not a classic but a really really OK book. But me writing that I really wanted it to be a great rock n' roll classic book and "Life" maybe grand, but great it isn't.

It's obvious that Richards is writing (or co-writing) this for the fans out there. Every question and thought regarding the Rolling Stones long history is answered or dealt with - yet for that reason it strikes me as a book done in n...more
Mike
Petra made me do it, really. To say I don’t care for The Rolling Stones would be an understatement. Hate the music, never thought they were any good, I would never give them a first, much less a second thought. The power of her great review of Life got me out of the comfort zone. Seriously, what does a conservative, career military guy have in common with a “longhaired, dope-smoking, good-time rock-&-roller?” Turns out there are a few things. I was impressed with his (and Jagger’s) focus on...more
Trudi
This is the Life. Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it. ~Life, Keith Richards
Well now, there you have it. Who'd have thunk "Keef" would have lived so long -- he certainly won't be leaving a beautiful corpse when he finally does kick off, that's for sure. And that will probably be from natural causes at this point in his life on the eve of turning seventy , but who the hell knows with this guy? Sure he's laid off the dope, but he's still managing to fall out of trees hard enough to p...more
CD
The Keef's memoir is a lot more than I expected and better than so many of the Rock n' Roll biographies that have crossed my path lately. More 'narrated' memoir than formal biography, this work is told in a mostly chronological order with the necessary flashback/forwards as required.

Richards and whatever writer(s) and editors aided in the storytelling, spin a yarn that rolls across the decades of his and the Rolling Stones lives like a tour bus on a pot holed local road on the way to some gig. B...more
Marvin
How in the hell did this guy live so long? After Jimi and Janis died, all the smart money was on Keith Richard to be Rock n' Roll's next burnt-out flame. He fooled us all. And his secret to a long and exciting life?

He was damn lucky.

Maybe not in his music. He worked hard to be the rock n' roll genius he is. But lucky in that he didn't make a fatal mistake between the drugs and general madness his life style resulted in. I loved his frankness but shook my head a little when he discussed his fault...more
Bill
very entertaining book about the life of keith richards...and what a life he's had. the book is billed as an autobiography although he had help from another writer.there is a lot of interesting stuff about the stones' early days when they just wanted to be a blues band, and quite a few tips on how he plays which would be helpful to musicians.then of course they became the biggest band in the world, and a large part of the book is devoted to his battling with various drug addictions, especially h...more
Jennifer D
Dear Keith Richards;

Oh, Keef, you are wise and funny and your brain is rather impressive. Your body is a whole other matter and I really would encourage you to donate it to medical science for research because, clearly, something is going on in you that defies the laws of nature. Curing hepatitis C "on [your] own...without treatment", say what?? Staying up for nine days straight, sustained by heroin, coke and booze?? Not human. Although your means of hydration was, apparently, enough.

Admittedly...more
Janet
So far this is fascinating... I didn't read the Dylan Chronicles because I heard a bit too much about them, and have read about Dylan a lot--and he's so capable of making himself a hero and overlooking the collateral damage--in other words, he's such a writer!--I just didn't want to be one more dupe. But I'm loving Keith's autobiography because he's really good at taking you into the music, and he's not apologetic about his own part in things, his own presumed jerkiness, and I'm getting a look i...more
Bruce
I was somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed this book (perhaps this was due, in large part, to my low expectations and regard for Mr. Richards' lifestyle). Despite not holding out a lot of hope for the book, I pressed on as I am a fan of music in general and of the history and roots of rock in particular. I was impressed with the articulation and candor of the author; I was really surprised by his (to me, shocking) ability to recollect life's minutiae, given his drug culture notoriety and eve...more
Charles Whittlesey
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."...more
Steven Peterson
A most satisfying autobiography--if one has any interest in the Rolling Stones in general and Keith Richards in particular.

The book begins with a description of the 1975 tour and with the carelessness of Richards and colleagues as they drove to the next concert in the south of the United States. I saw two concerts in Buffalo, NY during this tour, so I was intrigued by this examination of Richards' foolishness in the south. But his description of the event is disarming and a nice start to the boo...more
Patrick O'Neil
First, I have to state that I fucking love The Rolling Stones. Not The Rolling Stones of the last 15 - 20 years (except live in concert, which I saw 5 years ago, and they were still amazing). But the Stones of the four shot run of near perfect rock and roll albums: Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street. And then, if I had to get all teenage girl like goofy on who is my favorite Stone, it would be Keith: the quintessential rock and roller – and all around role m...more
Giovanni Gelati

Richards wrote this along with British author James Fox. I am a huge Rolling Stones fan and didn’t really know what to expect from this novel when I got it. Here are some of the questions I had in my mind before I even opened it:
What was it really going to cover?
Were there going to be important things in there that the average fan didn’t know?
Was Richards going to reveal the motivation and genesis of many of the Stones’ big hits?
The early years, was he going to just gloss over them or go into...more
Kwoomac
I am enjoying Keith's story, just taking a little break from it. He gives a lot of detail about how to play the guitar which goes right over my head.
Finally finished. In the beginning, I found Keith to be egotistical and a little hard to take. I was frequently furious with him for the off-handed way he dealt with raising his children (or leaving that to others). It was draining to read about all his drugging, for which he is unapologetic. Somehow, as I read on, I found myself liking Keith. I wit...more
Malcolm
Life by Keith Richards
Little, Brown and Company, 576 pages

Keith Richards’ memoir, Life is a thorough and engrossing portrait of a man with an overabundance of passion for life. More than the music, the parties, the whirlwind of fame and over-indulgence, it is his unrelenting need to keep moving that is the key to understanding his life, which he describes in clean, clear prose with a pirate’s sly humor. We get all the things we would expect in a memoir of a music legend like Richards: childhood...more
Scarlet
I don't like Mick Jagger's voice so I'm not a Rolling Stones fan, and normally wouldn't have read this book. But all of the NY Times' book reviewers put it in their lists of top books in 2010, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

It's surprisingly good. Not the party-hearty memoir I was expecting. A fair amount of discussion about music theory and how it plays out in the Stones' music, which was totally unexpected and really interesting. I really liked reading about how some of the most famous songs...more
Michael
Obviously Keith didn't write this as you or I would write. He talked his memories into a tape recorder then someone transcribed his words into book form. It was great!

Keith had a bowl of sugar or smack or some shit that he enjoyed by big hands full. In my youth, I licked the end of my pinkie finger, stuck it into that same bowl and had a taste. I still remember that taste; I loved it! I did the weekend garage/dance band thing, but chose not to follow it in favor of marriage, fatherhood, etc. Now...more
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fascinating read 31 223 Jun 16, 2014 03:12PM  
Aiossa's Senior 5...: Francisco Ponce 1 7 Sep 27, 2012 07:24PM  
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Keith Richards is an English guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer and founding member of The Rolling Stones. As a guitarist Richards is mostly known for his innovative rhythm playing. In 2003 Richards was ranked 10th on Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

With songwriting partner and Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, Richards has written and recorded hundreds...more
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“Why would you want to be anything else if you're Mick Jagger?” 36 likes
“We age not by holding on to youth, but by letting ourselves grow and embracing whatever youthful parts remain.” 23 likes
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