Life, Keith Richards

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

I've had this book in the queues for such a long time, one to dip in and out of at those moments when a bit of amusement was required, I thought. Until the day I wasn't dipping, and couldn't put it down.

Told very much in his own voice (I think there was a ghostwriter involved / not sure), this is a rollicking roam through the life, times, trials, triumphs and tribulations of the (to my ears at least) greatest band ever. Full of very funny one-liners and some utterly brutal honesty about a life that's been lived to the edges always.

There's plenty here for music lovers, music players, the reminiscers and the "would remember it all but for being there" readers. There's some slashing down of some of the myths and legends around the Stones and there's some from their side telling of the various drug busts, arrests, court cases and trouble that followed all of them over the years. He's honest about the estrangement with Mick Jagger, his friendship with current and past members of the Band, and the music legends, and everyday people that he's come across in his life.

He's brutally honest about past relationships and somehow he comes across as less of a playboy music legend, and surprisingly touchingly, a really decent bloke who thinks about stuff, loves his family, and keeps it as real as you can when you're Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

One for a lot of readers - not just fans of the Stones.


Year of Publication

With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll taking the chances he wanted, speaking his mind, and making it all work in a way that no one before him had ever done. Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane. And what a life. Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records as a child in post-war Kent. Learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones' first fame and success as a bad-boy band. The notorious Redlands drug bust and subsequent series of confrontations with a nervous establishment that led to his enduring image as outlaw and folk hero. Creating immortal riffs such as the ones in 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Honky Tonk Women'. Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones. Tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the US, 'Exile on Main Street' and 'Some Girls'. Ever increasing fame, isolation and addiction. Falling in love with Patti Hansen. Estrangement from Mick Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. Solo albums and performances with his band the Xpensive Winos. Marriage, family and the road that goes on for ever. In a voice that is uniquely and intimately his own, with the disarming honesty that has always been his trademark, Keith Richards brings us the essential life story of our times.

Review Life, Keith Richards
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, October 5, 2023

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