Life Hardcover – Oct 26 2010
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: It's hard to imagine a celebrity memoir--or any memoir for that matter--that is as easy to drink in (so to speak) as Keith Richards's Life. Die-hard Stones fans will love tales of the band's ascension from the "interval" band at the Marquee to the headliners at Super Bowl XL; guitar gearheads will scramble to sample the one lick that has eluded Richards for 49 years; and historians and romantics alike will swoon over the raspy, rambling, raucous detail of this portrait of the artist in situ. Yes, some tales are told, but Life is refreshingly not gossipy, mean-spirited, or sordid--or at least not more than the truth demands. Richards is as comfortable in his bones as a worn pair of boots, and Life captures the rhythm of his voice so effortlessly that reading his tale is like sharing a pint with an old friend--one who happens to be one of the most iconic guitarists of all time. --Daphne Durham
From Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author and international conference speaker Bevere (Driven by Eternity and Bait of Satan) is known for his trademark theme of believing in God for the impossible. Fans won't be disappointed by the similar all things are possible tone in this book on the need to integrate the principle of honor into every aspect of life, both functionally and spiritually. Bevere's focus on the biblical doctrine of honoring those governing authorities, whether in the civil, church, family, and social arena, is substantiated through scripture. Still, many in non-charismatic evangelical churches will take issue with the author's presumptive stance on ministers' right to receive double honor in the form of material wealth. Recounting the numerous times he has witnessed opulent gifts and preferential treatment bestowed upon him and other Christian servants as outward signs of being honored, Bevere provides an endless litany of hotel accommodations, presents, and the like. This reads as distasteful and greedy when contrasted with the fact that even Christ had nowhere to lay his head. The principle of honor is a worthy one, but Bevere's approach deteriorates too frequently into a what's-in-it-for-me tenor. (Nov. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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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.
When I decided to read this book, I was interested in reading what Keith Richards would have to say about the public aspects of his life as both a talented musician and a drug addict. I was also interested in his view of the successes and excesses of the Rolling Stones. But mostly, I wanted to see something of the man behind the legend.
It's an interesting read: the first part is personal history; the second part is public legend; and the final part is where a more mellow (it's a relative term) Keith Richards exists. Keith Richards has survived the excesses of his past, and his memoir is peopled with many who did not. Some of the legends (curing his heroin addiction through a blood transfusion in Switzerland, and snorting his father's ashes) are explained and can be dismissed. Others - the detailed substance abuse - serve to underline how fortunate Richards was to survive.
Three aspects of the book stand out for me: the historical account of a rock and roll world of excess (in which women were `chicks' or `bitches'); the details of the music Richards made, and those musical heroes who inspired him; and his relationship with Mick Jagger. The historical account is in many ways not new: others have written about the Stones and memoirs of excess are neither new nor uncommon. It's Keith Richards's writing about his musical influences and the process of writing songs and making music, though, which makes this memoir most interesting.
`Life' is worth reading. Not just for fans of the Rolling Stones and those who wondered how Keith Richards has managed to survive, but also for those who are interested in the history of rock and roll music and culture.
A great read.
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