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Life

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  80,342 ratings  ·  4,662 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 October 10th 2010)
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Sardinicus Yes, it ends rather abruptly but on as sweet of a note as Richards has in him.

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Petra-X
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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, money and fame - a lot of which he finds a bit of a pain but to be endured because that goes with the job. If you aren't fairly knowledgeable about music, blues in particular, there is going to be a lot of this book you are going to want ...more
Matthew
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Rolling Stones Fan


I have liked the Rolling Stones for a long time. I remember going to see them back when I was in high school on the Voodoo Lounge tour (2004 – and I thought they seemed old back then!). But, I will say while I enjoyed them, I was more of a casual fan. However, in the past couple of years I have become obsessed. I am sad that it took me this long because while many successful bands have a few great songs here and there, the Stones have one of the best collections of music of any band I have ever
...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
F.R.
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Judith E
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And what a life Keith Richards has had!

It’s really a shame that internet memes have turned Keith Richards into a caricature instead of portraying him for what he is - a hard-working, genius of a man fully dedicated to the highest standard of music he can achieve.

Written with the assistance of James Fox, this is an in-depth account starting from Keith’s boyhood and his maternal grandfather’s musical influence on him, through the rise of The Rolling Stones band, through marriages, children, drug
...more
Madeline
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
"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
Jason Koivu
I have a fascination with music and the undead, so reading Keith Richards' autobiography was a no-brainer, and I'm glad I did!

Life is absolutely brimming with all the Rolling Stones stories a fan could hope for. It starts with a humorous and tense drug story, then it reverts to a more innocent time when Richards was a sort of part-time hooligan, a kid of the East-end streets. This was easily my favorite part of the book, this and the Stones' formation. Basically everything before the money and f
...more
Tosh
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Michael Jandrok
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So we will start with first things first. If you were to ask me what my recommendation would be for best rock musician biography or autobiography of all time, it would be Keith Richards’s “Life,” hands down. You’ll see why as you read the rest of this review, but in short I’ll just say that it’s by far the most authentic and genuine take on the subject of what life is like being in the spotlight for 48 years, at the time of printing in 2010, anyway. Written with the assistance of journalist Jame ...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 great cl ...more
Kp
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Linda Wells
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am tremendously impressed by this book. Keith Richards goes into great detail about his childhood, the difficulties he faced growing up, and how he became the successful musician that he is today. He writes in a natural style, revealing many personal details of his life that are touching, painfully honest and real. He recalls how he first met Mick Jaggar, and how their musical collaboration created the magic and unique style of the legendary rock group, the Rolling Stones.

Many facets of the b
...more
Jennifer
A no-holds-barred autobiography from one of the original bad boys of rock & roll.

Keith Richards jokes are legion, but after listning to this audio book, it's no joke acknowleding that this guy has more lives than a darn cat. Car crashes, knife fights, gun skirmishes, not to mention all the drugs, booze and jail stints -- any one of these might have put an end to any one else, but this guy just keeps on rolling.

This is a long book -- and will be made longer still because if you're anything like m
...more
Allyson
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cindy
Oct 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who use the word 'bitch' affectionately
Shelves: 2016
If it hadn't been for the murder, we'd have thought it a very smooth gig.
That's a wild thing to say, first because it happened, and second because this is what he says about it. And that's the flavor of this memoir, which amounts to the most intricate junkie's excuse ever written.
After lunch I headed for the Londonderry Hotel to celebrate. There, unfortunately, the bedroom caught fire...it was faulty wiring in the room. But who would believe that?
Well, I might have the first couple times, but t
...more
David Cerruti
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 narrativ
...more
James Thane
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Gary
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Abeer Hoque
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-recommend
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
Perry
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I tend to oversimplify, but if a photo can say a thousand words, two can say a million.

I'm no Mick Jagger fan, but Keith Richards' gratuitous slams on Jagger in this narcissistic memoir show he aged just as poorly inside.
...more
Robin
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio-rock
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
Bill
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Rabin
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily the most entertaining book I have ever read.
Bonnie G.
Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room: Keith Richards is really not a great person. There seems to be a lot of people who did not like this book because Keith unapologetically did a lot of drugs, slept with a lot of people (and is generally stuck in a serious whore/madonna mindset), left his son with a person he knew to be completely unfit, was roundly dismissive of most of the universe, crashed cars, brandished knives and firearms with some regularity, and is the king of rationaliz ...more
Book Haunt
It's only rock~n~roll.... This book is pure entertainment! “Life” is a very intimate portrait which is funny, sad, heart-felt and full of great rock-and-roll debauchery! Keith’s awe and respect for fellow musicians along with his great love of making music come through on every page. This bio covers everything from Keith’s family life and his time as a Boy Scout to his song-writing style, life on the road, heroin addiction, knife-fighting tips and his favorite recipe for bangers and mash! Oh, an ...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 t
...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
Jennifer
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
Marvin
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
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
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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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