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4.3 out of 5 stars48
4.3 out of 5 stars
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
If there's a person out there whose life needed to be chronicled, it's Keith Richards. And you know what's really amazing? He actually remembers it, despite all those drugs. So as you could probably guess, his "Life" is an amazing read -- Richards glides through his own eventful past with grace, charm and a slightly sarcastic sense of humor.

Richards was the "choirboy to school rebel" raised in Dartford, where he began to blossom at the birth of rock'n'roll. And after some false starts in other areas, his love of music began to gel into something when he met Mick Jagger (they bonded over their shared love of American blues music), and ended up forming a band called the Rolling Stones.

You know how it goes: they became the creative heart of the Rolling Stones, who started off as a penniless little blues band and turned into the wildest rock stars of the sixties and seventies. Richards' life became wrapped up in stardom, his sensual avant-garde lover Anita Pallenberg, and a heroin addiction -- until he inevitably yanked himself back up, found new love, and survived despite the odds.

I've always had a soft spot for Keith Richards -- he's had a crazy, colorful, dramatic life full of scandal and raw talent, but by all acounts, he's a nice guy. And "Life" doesn't disprove that -- Richards is less interested in telling all than in exploring the interesting parts of his life.

His style is laid-back and contemplative, as if you were just sitting in his living room listening to the old rocker reminiscing about his life. He talks a LOT about music (creating it, listening to it, playing it), encountering fascinating people, and carefully painting portraits of the many places he's travelled to.

Richards himself seems like an unpretentious, blunt guy with a positive outlook, who freely admits his mistakes because they're in the past. He also has nice things to say about almost everybody, although some things (Brian Jones beating Anita) make him pretty mad. But he doesn't shy away from bleaker times, such as when he recounts how his son Marlon had to help him during his druggiest days.

And he has a sarcastically witty streak -- he says that he was "kind of proud" to be the #1 on death lists for ten years running. "I was really disappointed when I went down the charts. Finally dropping down to number nine. Oh my God, it's over."

If you weren't a fan of "Keef" before this, his unpretentious and fascinating "Life" might just win you over. It's a rich rollercoaster of pain, music and love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 31, 2011
"Life" is about the music, the friends and family and the drugs and not the fame. His story begins in childhood growing up just outside of London in the working class town of Dartford, Kent. There he made mischief exploring the local environs and putting cardboard in the spokes of his bicycle as many of us did back in the days of freewheeling childhood. Eventually he was introduced to the guitar by his grandfather and developed a love for the blues, which he shared with Mick, a guy he knew from the neighbourhood. Dedication to his craft obviously played a decisive role in the emergence of the Rolling Stones as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time however Mr. Richards gives Fortune an equal claim to his success. For example, Brian Jones was first considered leader of the band yet Andrew Oldman, their producer sent Keith and Mick into a kitchen to write the first Rolling Stones and the rest is history. His loyalty to friends might help explain the longevity of the Rolling Stones band. Instead of being incensed by Mick Jagger's attempt at a solo career, Keith was hurt. He believed that Jagger had fallen in love with his own image and thus had lost touch with the music. Keith too wrote and performed as a solo artist however he always left an opening in his heart for Mick to return. Keith remained with his first wife until her love was completely overtaken by drugs and he's been with his second wife for 30 years. He's had the same manager for decades and he's provided support and companionship to his father ever since they reunited in 1982. Bobby Keys has been a buddy of his from the beginning. Ironically, drugs might have played a role in Mr. Richards success. He never seemed to care about fame and glory very possibly because he was too busy looking for his next fix, dodging the police, playing concerts, and writing songs for their next album. He didn't have the time or energy to listen to all the people who might have thought he was an entity greater than the rest of mankind. Fortunately, Keith says that he could afford only the best quality drugs that were not laced with poison and so did not cause him permanent damage. Mr. Richards tells a story of hard work and luck and someone who truly loves his craft.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
Keith Richards is not just a brilliant guitarist and song writer... his book is clever and funny, and surprisingly thoughtful. He includes stories about growing up in England and struggling before the Stones hit it big. Some tales of Keith's exploits are written by his famous friends. There is more to Keith than meets the eye; he is not afraid to speak his mind about anything...and anyONE!Life
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2011
Although there aren't really any surprises in this book Keith Richards has told a story about rock bands, guitars, drugs, chicks and loyalty. This is a man who is still in awe of the talent he started out emulating to the talent he became. No excuses made for the wild side of his life there are still a few lessons to be learned by this humble rock God. This a great read if you are a fan of any kind of music!
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on November 5, 2014
Ok. NOW I get it - the clothes, the drugs, the women, the music...I understand. This autobiography takes you into the world of Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones, sexdrugsnrocknroll, the 60's70's80's and counting, in such a way as I never expected. His memory is phenomenal (who'd expect that?), he is fearless about what he reveals (no surprise there), and the writing is really very good. At the end of the book I came away with a much deeper understanding of the days of my youth, of people of another walk of life than my own, greatly entertained, and with a much greater respect for the man after having seen his character in the round. Back in the day I thought 'Why Keith? Why?'. And now I know.
A great read.
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on February 22, 2014
Though I purchased the book for my husband, who likes rock and roll music, I read it as well.
I was blown away by the very honest and often hilarious adventures of Keith Richards. The book also gives a tremendous insight in the world of the Rolling Stones band. How they started out, his personal relationship with Mike Jagger and other musicians.
He certainly was one of the best guitar players of his genre. He talks with surprising honesty about his first marriage, the love for his current wife and his children. He relays the years of partying, drug use etc. but left all that behind him years ago.
All together a very interesting auto biography which I can highly recommend.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2010
Keith Richards is quotable, frank, complex, and at times laugh out loud funny. I always wondered why I liked this old, chauvinistic, partying rockstar. I can identify with this story of survival and dealing with, in true rockstar fashion, being an outcast by mainstream and agencies of her Royal Majesty.

On their Redlands bust: "But the dark side of this was discovering that we'd become the focal point of a nervous establishment.... I was in jail because I'd obviously pissed off the authorities. I'm a guitar player in a pop band and I'm being targeted by the British government and its vicious police force, all of which shows me how frightened they are. We won two world wars, and these people are shivering in their goddam boots."

I lived vicariously, while reading this book, seeing life through the eyes of an anti-establishment rockstar and it was awesome!

Also, you if you do love the music, this book reads like the best playlist - EVER!
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on January 10, 2011
As a lifelong Stones devotee, I was elated to receive this book and it did not disappoint. Many surprises in here, even for a guy like Keith Richards. How he survived that much poison in his body over such an extended period of time is nothing less than incredible. The friction he describes between himself and Mick is eye-opening, even shocking. I found myself rushing to the local music stores to flesh out past CD's and videos I may have missed. A great read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who ever listened to and enjoyed a Rolling Stones track.
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on October 3, 2013
If you're into rock 'n' roll history and/or the Stones, this is one to choose. It's the closest I've encountered to being on a par with the Miles Davis autobiography (a superb book by an extremely important and highly influential music figure). As with Mr. Davis, Mr. Richards is fearlessly and unapologetically honest and possessed of a keen memory, and best of all, it feels as though you're in conversation with the man.
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on January 25, 2011
Life by Keith Richards is an amazing read as it chronicles the beginning of black music to white people by white English young musicians back to North America. Very well written and edited. Learn where Mick got his dance moves (James Brown) and Keith's life to this point makes fascinating/entertaining and educational for musician's and others whom grew up with Stones/Beatle music.
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