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Life: Keith Richards Hardcover – 26 Oct 2010

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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: 23.4 x 16 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,155 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


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 good is it that this hugely endearing rock and roll 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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 260 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pazza on 13 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like a lot of people I was really looking forward to reading this book. Keith Richards always had the aura of a swashbuckling hero with a colourful past. I was really looking forward to reading about and separating myth from reality regarding Mr. Richards life. So was it a case of lock up your daughters? Not at all really, the worst they would get would be an inane discussion about the merits of open guitar tuning over a cup of tea in a Carnaby Street cafe. Who would have thought that Mr. Richards would be so boring. Granted, he's had a much more exciting life that most if us could ever dream of but by rock star standards this autobiography is dull, tedious and overlong. It's only the final 100 pages or so that were enjoyable and for the first time in many moons I actually struggled to finish this book. Some reviewers have attributed this to the prose but for me there was nothing interesting to make me want me to read on unlike, for example The Dirt, Scar Tissue or Slash. Mr. Richards also comes across as a sexist moron, especially in his defence of knife / gun use. Rock star or not, knife crime and gun crime are abhorrent and for Mr. Richards to revel in his use of "the blade" is pathetic and quite frankly, nor very 'ard at all Keif. Girls in the book are often referred to as chick or bitch. Whilst I wasn't particularly offended by this Mr. Richards I can understand why some people would be. One gets the impression that Mr. Richards was trying way to hard to be cool and to live up to his billing as one of the coolest guys on the planet. Unfortunately he comes across as being dated and irrelevant. I would never had believed that I would be writing such a comment but there you are. Never try to get inside your heroes, you will be disappointed. So, Keith Richards, a grizzled old rock war horse? Not likely. More like seeing a mundane donkey parading up and down Blackpool Pleasure Beach whilst sucking slowly on a stale stick of rock.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Randall on 11 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
We're told that this book has sold over a million copies, so the subject doesn't need my help.

However, I would like to say that I have read this book six times this year, and I've enjoyed every minute of doing so. I shall dock one star for various inaccurate statements regarding records, musicians and so forth. For example 2120 South Michigan Avenue was not the place where ALL of the stuff (as Keef alleges) that the Stones had been listening to came from. Chess label music - including two Keef favourites, all of the music which became the first-rate albums 'The Best of Little Walter' and 'The Best of Muddy Waters' was recorded at Universal Studios by the legendary recording visionary Bill Putnam for many years before Leonard and Phil Chess acquired '2120' in 1957 - and then there's the output from other labels like Sun, Vee-Jay, Fire, Stax, Excello and others.

Also, I really would like to but I cannot agree that Mick Jagger is a world-class harmonica player when compared to the likes of Kim Wilson, Rod Piazza and Curtis Salgado - and surely (in reference to the song ' Down Home Girl') "Leiber and Butler" should be Leiber and Stoller - but that may be down to error by someone other than Our Man.

The very good news for me is that this book fires me with enthusiam for something which the estimable Mr Richards and I have in common: we love music, particularly blues and its related stuff. That's maybe all we have in common apart from being English and having the same initials and perhaps that's one of the reasons I enjoy the book, as I marvel at how very close to the edge a person can get and how often he and saxophonist Bobby Keys and several others do...
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