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Life: Keith Richards [Hardcover]

Keith Richards
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
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Book Description

26 Oct 2010

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 Women'. 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 Richards brings us the essential life story of our times.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 1st edition (26 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297854399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297854395
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 15.8 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Keith Richards was born in Dartford in 1943 and founded the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger in 1962. He lives in Connecticut.

Product Description

Review

Life is pretty faultless as the quintessential depiction of the man in full and his extraordinary life and times to date. (Nick Kent THE TIMES)

Addictive reading (VOGUE)

This autumn's best entertainment comes from the notorious Rolling Stones' guitarist in this tell-all memoir... All the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are there - let the fun begin! (SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE)

Richards has written an opus on a lifetime of brutal honesty, an all-encompassing account of what it's been like to be one of the coolest rock stars in the world. (THE ATLANTIC)

Keith comes across as a thoroughly decent man, with just a hint of the devil. His relationship with Jagger is complex and fascinating... (Pete Clark EVENING STANDARD)

Electrifying... the intimate and moving story of one man's long strange trip over the decades, told in dead-on, visceral prose without any of the pretense, caution or self-consciousness that usually attend great artists sitting for their self-portraits. (NEW YORK TIMES)

an absolute blast... mesmerizing. It is like being button-holed by a piratical ancient mariner with amazing tales to tell. But Life offers much more than vicarious thrills. It captures the true spirit of rock and roll... It also movingly captures Richards's extraordinary love of music...and perhaps more surprisingly, his manifest decency as a human being...how good is it that this hugely endearing rock and roll legend...is able to describe his extraordinary life with such honesty and panache. (Charles Spencer THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

The 500-plus pages of Life throb with energy, pulsate with rhythm and reverberate with good stories... densely textured, vivid and utterly charming autobiography - far better-written and more coherent than anyone could have hoped (John Walsh THE INDEPENDENT)

a fascinating book; by turns appalling, rambling, hilarious and even surprisingly touching... Life is an important addition to rock literature, giving fresh insights into the working dynamic between Richards and Jagger... Life crackles with the authentic, likeable voice of a man who is not what you think (Jan Moir DAILY MAIL)

the very existence of this book is a marker against the ravages of time. It suggests Richards's memory is fresh in a way that his face isn't...funnier than Spinal Tap's reminiscences of their native Squatney... And he can be tender, too... There's a junkie-artist frankness throughout, coupled with a refusal to omit things: how he plays the guitar, how post-gig coupling works, and his recipe for bangers and mash (don't try it at home). (Tom Payne THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

from music to Mick, and from drugs to deaths: Richards holds little back in his immensely readable memoir (THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Must Read')

Keith Richards's autobiography Life has resulted in a huge outpouring of adoration for 'the human riff' - much of it well deserved... The entire world currently seems to be in love with this charmingly gnarled relic. (Suzanne Moore MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Life, as it's very aptly titled, is testament to not just a man with a superhuman constitution, but a passionate discourse on the nature of rebellion, how to take every day as it comes and, yes, live life to the full... Richards' guitar playing and music making are inseparable from how he conducts every other aspect of his life. It's this very attitude, indeed commitment, that comes across as remarkably refreshing. He's the ultimate pirate adventurer and outsider. (Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR)

Life is a riveting, exhilarating read... With brutal honesty Keith spills all, taking in his childhood in grim, post-war Dartford, Kent, and 50 turbulent years of the Stones. It's all here - the drugs, the arrests, the bust-ups, the women and the music. (Simon Copeland THE SUN)

never boring... A rocking good read. (NEWS OF THE WORLD)

There is much to learn from Keith Richards' richly entertaining biography... This is the "Keef" of Rolling Stones legend: rascally, dangerous, witty; the ultimate rock-and-roll survivor. (Ludovic Hunter-Tilney FINANCIAL TIMES)

one of the most honest, amusing, no-holds-barred rock biographies I have ever read... informative and often amusing with no excuses or false contrition... there is something for everyone here, even a particularly good recipe for bangers and mash. (Barry Miles NEW STATESMAN)

One of the greatest rock memoirs ever...The title of Richards' book is a simple, accurate description on the contents: the 66-year-old guitarist's highs, lows and death-defying excesses, from birth to now, vividly related in his natural pirate-hipster cadence and syntax. (David Fricke ROLLING STONE)

A vivid self-portrait and, of the Stones and their musical era, a grand group portrait. Surely thanks in part to his co-writer James Fox, Richards shows a strong, sure authorial voice, acute in detail, passionate about his achievements in music and nearly always amused by his excesses, not least in having survived them...spellbinding storytelling. (Richard Corliss TIME MAGAZINE)

Entertaining...a slurry romp through the life of a man who knew every pleasure, denied himself nothing, and never paid the price. (David Remnick THE NEW YORKER)

Keith Richards's Life is an excellent insight into the life of this extraordinarily gifted man. It's touching and breathtaking. As important as Van Gogh's letters to his brother. Fabulous. (Joanna Lumley)

He is not just a credit to Sidcup Art School; he is an inspiration to every London child who peeps a recorder or strums a guitar. I cannot think of another member of the British artistic, cultural or media world who has done so much or who has so widely penetrated the global consciousness. David Attenborough? Stephen Fry? He knocks them into a cocked hat... Arise Sir Keef, I say, and if there were any damn merit in it, he would have the Order of Merit, too. (Boris Johnson)

Book Description

Once-in-a-generation memoir of a rock legend.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What A LIFE 14 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Life is the best rock biography I have ever read (though it is not a genre I often indulge since it is mostly moderate talents with big heads blowing their predictable trumpets). The quality of the writing is actually poor, sort of speech rhythms, but that's fine since you just hear Keef's voice drawling at you in its charming, amiable way.

His life is full of surprises; being unwittingly used as getaway driver for a jewellery heist when the Stones were already big, delicate and understanding about the women who mattered, badly bullied at school, great, bizarre drug stories (which could so easily have been a tedious staple in lesser hands) and always the wry observer of the wild world he moved through.

Perhaps predictably, what endears the most is the artist in the man. He loves the music. He is as big a fan as any hormonal teenager. It even starts to seem odd that the (brilliant, wonderful) Stones should be such a success since what we have here is a man who adores other musicians.

Despite his laconic swagger on stage, there is none of the expected arrogance. He spent days on end learning tiny little variations on chords just to play London pubs - that was the horizon of his initial vision of the Stones.

In the end this is a life-affirming book, brimming with artistic passion and never taking the pop world seriously. Like all great artists, Keef comes across as a true one-off, and a pleasure to listen to.
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239 of 261 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Keith Richards is in danger of becoming respectable, what with starring interviews on the Andrew Marr show, bit parts in Disney's "the Pirates of Caribbean" and an emerging status as national treasure. He has even received the ultimate accolade this week namely a vicious attack from the increasingly insane ex Trot and current bigot Peter Hitchens who blamed him for causing more damage than the Iraq War and described him as "a debauched, capering streak of living gristle who ought to be exhibited as a warning to the young of what drugs can do to you". As usual Hitchens couldn't be more wrong since after reading "Life" a electrifying autobiography ghost written with James Fox someone ought to work out the physiology of Richards since the man is clearly indestructible despite the most astounding chemical intake and even more remarkable he appears to going as strong as ever. The life of this man who founded the Rolling Stones, invented rock guitar, gave us "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar", the seminal "Exile on Main Street" and a host of other treasures is something we should warmly celebrate and not carp about.

Great rock autobiographies are a rare species but this book by Richards amounting 547 pages ranging from a drug bust in Fordyce, Arkansas to a quick final explanation that he did indeed snort his Dad's ashes (but in a very affectionate way!) and ending in the death of his dear old mum Doris is a very intimate, revealing, warts an all account of a fascinating life packed with brilliant photographs and stories to spare. Fox has captured his subject well and you can hear Richards voice loud and clear with its colourful language of "cats", his love of Shepherd's pie ("don't bust the crust") and roguish charm.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superstardom Sarf London Style 29 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's hard to judge this book. When I was thirteen my sister and I gravitated from Elvis and Cliff to the Beatles and the Stones, buying every LP as it was released. Later at University Beggars Banquet was played more than anything. Many years later I played Exile on Main Street solid for ten years, so much I can hardly listen to it now.

So I can't be objective, its like reading a book by my cousin. It's very very frank about relationships, about drugs, about occasional violence. There's a lot of stuff about musical technique, just like Miles Davis's autobiography, which it reminds me of. I don't understand most of this not being a guitarist, but the feel of these sections is great. It makes you want to get out all your John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed records.

The section about Brian Jones is revealing. This is actually the first book about the Stones I have read, so in comparison with the general familiarity from newspaper stories and rumours I had this is great, and Richards has an aura of telling the truth, by and large I would mostly buy what he's saying. There is also a very moving section about Gram Parsons, who seems to have been one of his closest musical associates and friends.

Earlier, all the stuff about his family is fabulous. Its worth tracking down the full length version of the Andrew Marr interview on BBCi incidentally, where Marr and Keith say his childhood was Dickensian which was exactly what was going through my head when I was reading about his wonderful family. His mother and his maternal grandfather were something else.

Some of the stuff about about the early sixties blues scene echoes what you can read in, say, a Pete Townshend biography I've read.
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64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the old devil 28 Oct 2010
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
There are bound to be many glowing reports from lifelong 'Stones fans who won't put up with any criticism or doubt. I'm no huge fan but you'd have to be pretty obtuse to deny the huge influence of the Rolling Stones and there are plenty of their tracks that I like and have done for years.
To be honest I didn't hold out much hope for this but must admit to being surprised at how well the reader is led along and at the candid way everything is laid bare including no few moments that don't exactly cover Mr. Richards in glory.
All the famous myths about him that have almost become urban legends are spoken about and quite a few lesser/ unknown ones too. He is very open about his myriad substances of choice and how they have influenced so much of his life. But these anecdotes aren't really what set this autobiography apart from any other. Rather it's the fascinating insights into his dynamic with the rest of the band, (often destructive and bitter but ultimately artistically productive and mellowed with age),.
There have been a lot of reviews that have tried to set this up as some sort of 'Keef against the world' type thing which frankly is rubbish. He has done pretty much whatever he wanted and although has nearly killed himself off all in all it seems to have been a bit of a blast. In all fairness he himself doesn't come across as someone either feeling hard done by nor as some sort of hero, (although many fans and peers would argue strongly that he is), but neither does he pretend to be 'just one of the lads'. His life has been well out of the ordinary and the events described in this book show just what a rollercoaster ride this man has chosen to be on and a sad look at those who left too early.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 2 days ago by Mrs SJ Harrison
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Intact but NOT in excellent condition as described - very well thumbed.
Published 17 days ago by Trout
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock and Roll Personified
This book seems to have divided opinion massively. I would say that if you're looking for a juice tell-all about the Rolling Stones or Keith Richards himself, you might be a bit... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Lulloo
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good.
Bought as a present but I read it too. Very good.
Published 20 days ago by Karen Butler
2.0 out of 5 stars The book is poor and sensationalist written too mundane for the...
The book is poor and sensationalist written too mundane for the intelligent too long for the mentally challenged. Read more
Published 1 month ago by spike island
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read honestly written
A good and frank memoirs of Keith ,I did not know he could write or could remember what happened to
him all those years ago,it was a good read honestly written .
Published 1 month ago by Hadi Afshar
1.0 out of 5 stars boring beoyond belief
boring, how anyone can get to page 527 in an autobiography can decide to decide its time to print his bangers and mash tips is beyond boredom
Published 1 month ago by d r roberts
1.0 out of 5 stars life
Sorry, I'm not really a lover of autobiographies, I had to read this for my book club. I found it immensely boring and gave up after a few chapters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by TRACEY WOODCOCK
3.0 out of 5 stars My review of Life by Keith Richards
As a hero of mine, I have been wanting to read this book since its publication. In general, I think it has been written honestly and there are some fascinating insights into the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Claire King
5.0 out of 5 stars Go for it
This is a hilarious book, worth to read. Take a peace of paper and pen so you can take notes of all the music suit he'll tell you
Published 1 month ago by Arnaldo
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