jfifeadams, September 15, 2011 (view all comments by jfifeadams)
I, like many of us, love living vicariously through the biographies of others. I suffered with Jeannette Walls as she came of age in abject poverty, giggled as I read about the lives of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein in Stein's fake Toklas bio and learned about a world of musical love from Dylan in his Chronicles. Never, however, have I enjoyed masticating someone's life as much as I did when reading Keith Richard's Life. The self-incinerating homes! The rendezvous with McCartney! The recipe for bangers & mash! Besides all this, he and his co-writer Fox do a great job at going straight to the source and getting extended quotes from everyone except for Mick. Ah, Mick. Clearly, Richards had an axe to grind, but that's great fun, too!
If you are a classic rock or blues fan or can't get your fill of Sixties and Seventies culture, you really need to pick this book up. I could go on and on about how well Richards can set a scene, how well edited it is (except for the last 20 pages or so) and how much I loved seeing the F-word in a recipe, but that's just extra. Go and read this f-ing book already!
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Lisa Brown, June 30, 2011 (view all comments by Lisa Brown)
Listened to this on audiobook actually, and all the narrators did an excellent job (although I'd recommend listening at 2x speed for the most part (even 3x at the end)). Some really interesting stuff in here for any music fan: the backstory of how Keith and Jagger first met, the Rolling Stones' various influences, the progression from tiny clubs in the U.K. to the playing support on the first U.S. tour to headlining to super stardom and beyond. Plus you get to hear Richards' first-hand account of his gradual descent into/out of/into/&c heroin addiction, and he even addresses some of the larger-than-life myths surrounding him.
My favorite parts are probably those that deal with the relationship between KR and MJ, the interspersed first-hand accounts of the myriad characters the Stones have encountered along the way, and especially the glimpses behind the scenes of the band's songwriting and recording process. Kudos to Keith for being honest about his history as a parent as well.
Back Bay Books -
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"[A] high-def, high-velocity portrait of the era when rock 'n' roll came of age, a raw report from deep inside the counterculture maelstrom of how that music swept like a tsunami over Britain and the United States....Mr. Richards has found a way to channel to the reader his own avidity, his own deep soul hunger for music and to make us feel the connections that bind one generation of musicians to another. Along the way he even manages to communicate something of that magic, electromagnetic experience of playing on stage with his mates, be it in a little club or a huge stadium."
by David Remnick, The New Yorker,
"[A] slurry romp through the life of a man who knew every pleasure, denied himself nothing, and never paid the price."
by Hillel Italie, Associated Press,
"The ultimate Keith Richards album."
"Rollicking and raw."
by The Wall Street Journal,
"What kind of celebrity autobiography is his Life? A remarkable one."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"[Richards] not only has the best tunes, he also knows how to tell the best tales."
by The Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Compelling, endearing, insightful, action-packed, graceful, generous-spirited, unflinching, and funny."
by Richard Corliss, Time,
"A vivid self-portrait and, of the Stones and their musical era, a grand group portrait...spellbinding storytelling."
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