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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What A LIFE
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...
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by Julius Seize-Her!

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Game Of Two Halves
The much anticipated and talked about Keith book was heralded in a blaze of publicity linked primarily to the Jagger bashing; specifically the "Brenda" tag and comments about Michaels manhood. In reality, the Brenda incident takes up just one page whilst the manhood comment comes from a third party and is again incidental to the real tale.

Was it worth the...
Published 23 months ago by Brian Jones


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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blockbuster of a rock bio!, 27 Oct 2010
This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Hardcover)
At last the man speaks. Archetypal rock star, contemporary outlaw and the world's most elegantly wasted man, Keith spills the beans in this blockbuster of a rock bio.
Keith recounts his life to the present day with brutal honesty, an amazing journey which over the course of nearly half a century transformed him from a no-hope deliquent teenager into an iconic rock god, and more latterly an rich old roue who nevertheless remains the idol of lesser rock heroes and wannabe bad boys. (Think Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.).
In between were the highs-- the hits, the adulation, the rock'n'roll lifestyle( which The Stones invented!) the chicks--and the lows--the drug busts, prison, the descent into oblivion, the death of too many friends, the loss of a child. Keith shares these moments with us in uncompromising detail.
The examination of his relationship with Mick Jagger is illuminating and sometimes suprising,and left me with the feeling that The Glimmer Twins should have been more than just a nickname for two men who sometimes seemed to understand each other so little.
Throughout it all Keith's wit and commonsense shines through, and I sometimes felt it difficult to reconcile the easy-going philosopher of the book with the originator of those jagged and Satanic guitar riffs and breaks which imbue songs such as "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy for the Devil" with such malevolent power.
I've been a fan since I was a very young teenager, and The Rolling Stones provided the soundtrack to most of my early adult life. I suppose you could say I'm a little biased but neverthless I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in an extraordinary life
One last thought.The very title is typical Keith Richard. Life. A splendid two fingered rebuke to all those over the years who have marked him down as a rock'n'roll suicide-in-waiting.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating story told somewhat oddly, 14 Jun 2011
This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Paperback)
My brother read this book as a lifelong Stones fan and told me some of the more interesting stories so I thought I would give it a go whilst on holiday. Keith's story is interesting in itself, but perhaps more so was the backdrop of the times he has lived through and people and places he has visited.

The pluses for me:
1. The early years growing up in post-war Britain (sets the scene in rather stark contrast to the later decadence)
2. Seeing how they filled a music vacuum in the early sixties
3. Hearing about the swinging sixties in London and how small and classless the set was
4. That I know enough of the Stones music to have had the most recent mentioned song going around my head after reading of it (until the early 80s)
5. The book more or less ends at 1980, saving us from the dull years

The minuses:
1. It seemed like he is trying too hard to prove his music credentials throughout - surely his record speaks for itself?
2. The 'This is your Life' way he inserts stories from other people - do we really need a story from Kate Moss about spring onions, or is he just name dropping?
3. That he 'is' a gangster - yawn, isn't that what minders are for?
4. From early on he is at war with the establishment (even when Mick gets his knighthood) as it is them against the Stones, but he primarily lives in the USA - sell out?

So three stars for a good, but not great, read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good up to a point, 17 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Paperback)
For an autobiog this proves to be a surprisingly good read. Keith comes across as not a bad chap really - a bit of a boy scout in fact - and ultimately a family man. He also reveals a nice dry wit.

The most interesting parts of the story are to be found in the years covering childhood and the birth of The Stones. We get a vivid picture of life at the wrong end of London and the shabby feel of postwar Britain.

Keith pays huge homage to his rhythm and blues influences. He's reasonably charitable towards Jagger and Jones despite several bust-ups. It's touching to read of the obvious deep feeling he has for Charlie Watts and for old pal the late Ian Stewart.

We could have done with more on how all the big hits were conceived and less technical guitar stuff. I'm not sure whom that was meant to impress - guitarists presumably - but 98% of the readers must have felt like skimming it.

Once the 80s roll around the thing becomes a bit of a bore. The band itself ceased to enjoy cutting edge status and stopped producing material that wasn't meaningless filler. Keith gets all bogged down in tales of drugs, drink, chicks, fights etc - in other words rock star stuff which we've heard already from countless other sources. He seems determined to have us believe he's some kind of gangster pirate figure with guns and knives to hand. Come off it, man!

It's best to remember him as the guy who gave us all those great riffs in the 60s/70s. That's where the fascination lies in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No need to lock up your daughters...., 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Paperback)
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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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars big disappointment, 20 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Hardcover)
I used to really like Keith Richards but after reading this my opinion of him has changed.
Musically it's very comprehensive and that is why I gave it 2 stars. The rest of the book made me cringe; he comes across as a kind of sad, jaded and dated character. He talks like a 70s footballer in terms of women. It seems all women are "chicks" or "bitches" (unless they're his wife or girlfriend). He refers to himself more than once as "Sir Galahad". He uses this term whilst justifying his relationship with his "best friend's girl" (Anita Pallenberg) Reckoning it was wrong to make the first move himself but perfectly ok to reciprocate her advances whilst his "best friend" (Brian Jones) was in hospital. (Keith "saved" her apparently - although the violence and general madness of Jones' and Pallenberg's relationship didn't appear one-sided) It's a weak argument and indicative of his wearying justifications regarding everything from why he never died from a drug overdose (and his dismissive attitude to the various friends he lost to drugs), to his musings on Mick Jagger; resorting to commenting on the small size of Mick's penis
It was two "tales" in particular that really finished off any admiration I once held for Keith. The russian roulette story (a troubled 17 year old kid's death reduced to a rock and roll anecdote) and his comments on the cot death of his newborn son. (I don't know where the little bugger's buried. I don't even know if he is buried!)
In conclusion I found the narrative to have no emotion, humilty or warmth and was left with the feeling that Keith Richards should have left us all with a bit of mystery.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars patchy, unreliable, but entertaining, 7 Jun 2011
By 
Graham R. Hill (Ilkley) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Paperback)
I suspect that anyone who has read other memoirs of this type will have come to the conclusion that they are not to be taken literally. The narrator - through his ghostwriter - will want to present his side of the story and show himself in the best light as he sees it. Richards seems to be striving to put a positive gloss on his years as a junkie by offering a portrait of himself during that time as some sort of knife-wielding, gun-toting, quick-shooting desperado. Unfortunately for him he simply comes across as ridiculous. Although not as silly as he looks when ranting on about shepherds pie.

It seems perverse to criticise Keith Richards' autobiography for containing too much sex and drugs, but nevertheless I would have liked more rock and roll; although Richards points out more than once that the roll is, in some unspecified way, more important than the rock. I don't mean technical stuff - what detail there is, for example, on the subject of open tuning went completely over my head - but just a bit more about the music. As the author himself points out "Playing the music is the best I can do, and I know it's worth a listen."

The main theme running through the book is his relationship with Mick Jagger and it is these parts that I found the most entertaining. Whether Richards is being catty about Jagger's "tiny todger" or describing him as the "closest of brothers" he is doing so with genuine emotion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Third time lucky?, 4 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Paperback)
This is my third attempt to get a review on this book posted. Apparently, I disliked it and the author so much, I made comments that might cause offense.

OK - I think Keith Richards' book is surprisingly well-written, but amazingly out of touch with reality. Keith thinks so much of himself, and so little of others. As a guitarist, he is severely limited (he can't play at all anymore -look at his arthritic hands!). Yet by stealing from Chuck Berry and Ry Cooder (among others) he made up a number of catchy riffs.

The Stones were an image band - like the Beatles - whose talents never lived up to the hype. Their great patch - Jumpin Jack Flash to Exile - was a lot shorter than their career. I think Jimmy Miller, their producer over these albums deserves a lot more credit than Keith can muster. Richards puts out a lot of deluded, self indulgent praise on himself and others, denigrates many and seems to have lived an interesting, terrible life.

The fact remains that they were pretty, rebellious white English boys who played blues much less well than Muddy Waters - but succeeded beyond their dreams as a result of hype, the British invasion junk and pure racism.I enjoyed them between 1968-1972, and that's that. Nothing they did after this, and little they did before this, had great merit.

That such a group produced such a man capable of such terrible, selfish behavior -who writes with venom about many of his so- called lovers and friends - is not something to be proud of.

Life is a woeful tale of an arrogant, destructive man.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He's not the chosen one!, 23 April 2011
By 
SACB (Middlesex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Hardcover)
I bought the book because of all the good reviews on this site. Easy mistake to make!

Like other reviewers I enjoyed the first 200 pages but it is around then he starts to come across as lacking any humility. He has been lucky and instead of being glad for it he lauds it as though he is the chosen one!

I enjoy the Stones' music and i prefer to think of them minus this book as the bruiser comes across as so dislikeable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected better, 22 Sep 2013
I thought the opening scene was great......it just seemed to become less interesting. I have to admit that I never finished it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keef shines a light on the ultimate rock memoir, 29 May 2012
By 
Mr. Tristan Martin (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Hardcover)
I guess all memoirs depend on the reliability of the narrator. Life, as "written" by Keith Richards (in all probability, it was dictated to his journalist friend, James Fox, who subsequently knocked it in to shape), seems about as honest as these things get.

From his early childhood in Dartford, to that fateful chance meeting on a train with Mick Jagger, through the highs and lows of being in one of the most successful rock and roll bands of all time, Keith lays it all out before us. Some sections of it, are of course more interesting than others. His thoughts on his and Mick's respective solo careers (decent versus poor, respectively) is not as fascinating as, say, the Rolling Stones on tour in the United States in the early 1970s, or his relationship with Mick Jagger or Gram Parsons. Keith's love of blues and country is also detailed, his growing enthusiasm for open-G tuning, the myths and the truths of a man who has become legend while still alive. "Keef" lived the rock and roll lifestyle before it became a cliche, possibly even creating the template for it. He gives respect to those that came before him and acknowledges that the Stones are but one link in a long musical chain.

The big concern before this book was released is exactly how much Keith would actually remember, given his herculean pharmaceutical intake. He acknowledges this straight on, as he writes on the back of the dust jacket, "Believe it or not I haven't forgotten any of it." I suspect that his friend James Fox perhaps had a hand in prompting some recollections, possibly with judicious use of period press cuttings. Maybe.

Written in a conversational style, Keith's character really shines through and for the bulk of the book, he is an engaging, witty and self-aware companion - he writes that from an early stage, the British press characterised him as some kind of vagabond folk hero and it is an image he has been playing up to ever since.

In short, if you love the Stones, this book is essential.
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Life: Keith Richards
Life: Keith Richards by Keith Richards (Paperback - 26 May 2011)
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