We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Monday, 2 July 2012

Life - Keith Richards

I wrote ‘Satisfaction’ in my sleep. I had no idea I had written it, it’s only thank God for the little Philips cassette player … Mick wrote the lyrics by the pool in Clearwater, Florida, four days before we went into the studio and recorded it.

Title: Life

Author: Keith Richards

Pages: 630

Publisher: Phoenix an imprint of Orion

Source: Bought

The Synopsis

A true and towering original, he has always walked his own path, spoken his own mind,and done his own thing.

Reluctant outlaw, rock 'n' roll's unparalleled hellraiser, and one of the greatest guitar gods of all time, Keith Richards has forged a life that most of us can only imagine--and often envy. And amazingly he's lived to tell about it. Now, at last, in his own words, the ultimate rock Icon gives us the definitive rock autobiography.

In Life, in his own raw, fierce voice, the man himself tells about life lived fast and hard in the creative hurricane--from his early days as a young boy growing up in a council estate, listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, to taking the guitar to its absolute limit and joining forces with Mick Jagger to form The Rolling Stones.

With unflinching honesty, he reveals all the highs and lows of rock 'n' roll, from the meteoric rise to fame and the notorious drug busts to the women, drinking, and heroin addiction that made him infamous. The living legend chronicles how he created the revolutionary, high-octane riffs that defined "Gimme Shelter" and "Honky Tonk Woman," his affair with the equally infamous Anita Pallenberg (the mother of three of his children), and the tragic death of Brian Jones. From falling in love with Patti Hansen to his tumultuous relationship with Mick, we follow Keef on the ultimate road trip we have all longed to know more about--of an unfettered, fearless, on-the-edge life lived to the fullest.
The Review

The synopsis that you find on Goodreads is so inept - when it comes to describing the marvellous book that is Life by Keith Richards. And since there is not one on the book itself, I had to take this synopsis from Keith's website, because there is no way I could have done it better.

I was blown away from page 1. Before reading life I had thought that I am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne was the best memoir/auto biography ever, but boy was I wrong. Not that Ozzy's book isn't amazing, Keith's book is just more amazing. It took me more than a month to read Life, and that is in no way a criticism, there was just sooooooooo much to take in in each chapter, that it would be impossible to read this book quickly, and do it justice at the same time.

LSD: "There’s not much you can say about acid, except God, what a trip!"

Keith's writing is wonderful, and I love that this book, much like Ozzy's shows you that there is more to the musician than just a former drug user and music maker. This book shows you how truly clever Keith Richards is, and how well read he is. But  to have seen all that he has seen and to have lived through all that he has, it is impossible to write a book that would not blow the reader away. To read this book  is to travel through time and see how the world and the music industry has changed. I learnt so much, the start of rock 'n roll, as you see it in your minds eye, the start of the drug trade, the madness that surrounded the Rolling Stones, the way that the Stones have impacted and changed the music industry, the writing duo that is Richards/Jagger, the home life of the Rock Star - this book has taught me more than I could ever hope to learn about these things from academic papers.

I also learnt a lot about other musicians, including John Lennon, who I really adore. And this is an interesting fact, the house that Gatsby lived in in the first Great Gatsby movie with Robert Redford? That was Keith's place! How cool is that?

I will say that one of the highlights of this book for me was seeing Keith's personal library, I just love it when popular people are bookish. Keith also retells of a bookish accident, when some heavy tomes fell down onto him. I guess that shows that books can get violent too.

The Life lessons you get from this book, and the insightful quotes of Keith Richards are not things to be taken lightly, and he is not to be scoffed at, this is an example who has lived mindfully, learning many lessons along the way. I am so glad to have been able to read this book, because it has changed me, and I have really learnt a lot from it. I just hope that one  day I'll be able to meet Keith Richards, and get him to sign my book!

There is not anything that I can say that will do this phenomenal book any justice, all I can do is urge you to get yourself a copy and read, and be blown away by the awesomeness that is Keith Richards, and if you think that this book is a bit much for you, you can always get the audio book which is narrated by Johnny Depp.


  1. I'm really surprised the drugs have not killed him yet. Thank God he's still around.

  2. Keith Richards for President! Nice review.

  3. Thanks Keith for a blissful life shared....


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