The best parts of this book are the early chapters, before Ronnie Wood achieved fame. Following this, the content is a bit threadbare. I am disappointed that there is not more about the Faces who were a major band in the early 70s. Moreover, they are the only band in which Ronnie Wood was a creative force of any significance. It is no coincidence that in partnership with Ronnie Wood, in the late ate 60s and early 70s, Rod Stewart was at his absolute zenith and became a super star. The book does not shed any new light on the two reasons for the break up of the Faces, Rod’s solo success and the allure of the Rolling Stones for Ronnie, following Mick Taylor’s departure. It is notable that Ronnie does state that he always believed he was destined for the Stones.
Unlike Brian Jones and Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood has always been happy with what is a secondary role in the Jagger/Richards controlled Stones. By his own admission, he was only granted song writing credits when the Glimmer Twins were at loggerheads in the 80s. The books content on the Stones does appear to be very “safe” and one does suspect that the manuscript had to meet with the approval of Mick Jagger.
The book contains inaccuracies which will be evident to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the musical landscape. What is most remarkable is Ronnie Wood’s statement that he was the original choice as Led Zeppelin’s guitarist! Did not Jimmy Page form Led Zeppelin to replace the Yardbirds and fulfil touring commitments. It is fact that Ronnie Wood was appointed by Jimmy Page’s Yardbirds predecessor, Jeff Beck, to play bass when he set up his own band (Rod Stewart vocals and the beginning of the partnership). The book is seriously lacking in information on this crucial time in the late 60s which would have been of great interest. What is evident is that there was a serious divide between Ronnie Wood and Yardbirds /Led Zep manager Peter Grant but we are not enlightened. Is his assertion that he turned down Led Zeppelin delusion, or is he having a laugh? I am fairly certain it is the latter and the laughs continue to this day, judging by his recent rock credibility deflating appearance on the X Factor with One Direction!
I read a few of the reviews here after I'd read the first few chapters of the book and was mystified as to why so many were luke warm .... as I was enjoying this tale. However those reviews ARE spot on.
The early years have a certain charm to them. But once he joins the Stones the book degenerates into endless name dropping anecdotes and blatantly showing off about what a debauched life he's had. Trouble is that showing off isn't well or amusingly written - it is at times just straight out bragging.
By half way I was really struggling to want to complete this endless list of affairs, drugs busts and fawning over his latest beautiful wife. The insights into others like Keef hold some fascination but the tales are so disjointed and rambling that they rarely offer real satisfaction (can't get no!).
Mildly interesting - not essential or gripping (or even funny) reading. I suspect that a ghost writer could have made a much better fist of the undoubtedly 'privileged' adult life that Ronnie has lived.
Ronnie Wood has the reputation for being rock's Mr Nice Guy. A moderately talented musician (and pretty reasonable artist) who has gone a long way by fitting in with the great and the good. Indeed he has done this for so long that he has joined the pantheon of rock legends himself. The good bits of the book are those where Ronnie narrates what it was like to be in at the start of the British rock 'n roll boom of the 60's, the excitement tempered by the grind of constant touring with very little money, only relieved by the excesses of youth. I also like hearing about his art career. From the content side, what is missing for me is detail about the creative side of the Stones, and how Ronnie came to write songs that made it on albums, or didn't - the details about the Stones are no more revealing than available in most other books written by outsiders. However, my biggest downer is nothing to do with the book's structure but relates to Ronnie himself. My long held view of Ronnie the nice guy was exploded completely by this book. The levels of selfishness he displays to family and friends is staggering - over four decades it seems to be a case of "as long as I'm happy then that's all that matters". In some ways Ronnie is quite brave to let us see him warts and all, but I'm not convinced he intended to paint such an unflattering portrait of himself.
As Ronnie Wood says himself, he is the "new boy" of the Rolling Stones -- meaning he's only been a member for more than thirty years.
But he certainly isn't lacking interesting stories. In fact, "Ronnie: The Autobiography" is crammed with good-natured recountings of the wild world of rock'n'roll's golden age. Wood has a mellow, nostalgic style, loaded down with plenty of humour and artwork.
Wood was born to a quirky family of water gypsies, won attention as a child for his artwork, and when he was grown, immersed himself in the rising tide of rock'n'roll. He performed with Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, and nearly became part of Led Zeppelin -- and after the Faces broke up, he was asked to join the Rolling Stones as a replacement for Mick Taylor.
And that was only the beginning -- Wood became part of a tight-knit, well-oiled machine of friends and colleagues, who were soaked in drugs, sex and classic rock'n'roll. He recounts weddings, funerals, divorce, births, drug arrests in Arkansas, exploding septic tanks, cocaine, Monty Python, and lots and lots of music-making...
Reading "Ronnie: the Authobiography" is a little like sitting down with a grizzled rock veteran, having a beer, and listening to him reminisce about his wilder days. Wood seems to have had a relatively stable life compared to his bandmates Jaggger and Richards, but by no means a boring one -- it gets more interesting as soon as he joins up.
As well as art and music, Wood has a knack for words -- he has a pleasant, conversational style, and he puts in all kinds of shriekingly funny stories (and unnerving ones, like Keith chasing him with a knife) in an arch, deadpan manner. He doesn't make excuses for any bad behavior, but just owns up to it and relates it in the most amusing way possible.
What's even more striking about him is that he hasn't really got a bad word to say about anyone. He praises most of the people in this book, but if someone is nasty (like his ex-wife berating him after she drove into a storefront) he simply lets it pass. And he's perfectly willing to make fun of himself, such as smoking meringues and asking Kylie Minogue if she needed to find her parents.
And there are a LOT of people in this book -- Beatles, Stones, Clapton, the guys of Monty Python ("My mum wants you to go!"), Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, and countless others. Not to mention some homage shout-outs to the greats of blues -- Muddy Waters makes an appearance, only to mistake Ronnie for Keith.
Oh, and the book is sprinkled with artwork by Wood -- very good ones too, with a sort of fragmented sensual quality. Even if, say, it's of Keith passed out.
"Ronnie: The Autobiography" is a warm, nostalgic book of a very crazy time in rock history, with plenty of stories that fans will eat up. A great read for rock'n'roll fans.
Received this as a Chrissy present and got started on it straight away. Having been brought up with the music of the 60's I found Ronnie's stories amusing and wasn't surprised at the names that he frequently dropped. There were some great stories and characters around at that time. For me the book starts to wane after he joined the Stones and the drugs and booze kicked in. To keep admitting that you can't remember albums, recording sessions, etc and laughing off or glorifying the drug taking depressed me. Amazing that he continues to remember the names though! I couldn't wait to get through the last half of the book but for the wrong reasons, and it never got any better. Someone mentions selfishness in another review, I can see that and of course current events prove it even further. What a crying shame.
Ronnie Woods, a member of one of the worlds greatest bands, reveals his life story so far. From his gypsy start, to the bands he's played in and his time as an artist. This autobiography is great. I could not put it down once I started reading it. The book is a wonderful read and you can't help but to tell the nearest person some of the stories Ronnie is telling you as you read it. There are many laughs throughout this book, as well as shocks, and by the end of it you'll be wanting to buy yourself a guitar so you can start your own band. Fantastic book.
An incredible story, Ronnie was much more than I expected. 60 years old and still rockin', this man has done it all. From a small house in london to the world's biggest stages, Ronnie has had an hilarious, moving, dangerously exciting six decades and this highly readable memoir will stay with you for a long while. The book rolls you through the ups and downs of his life, his 'relationship' with girls, booze and drugs, his love for music and art and his travels with Rod, Kieth, Mick and the rest of rocks unmentionables.