Keith Richards’ book “Life”


Keith Richards’ book “Life” (2010)

564 pages from the pen of Keith Richards!  (At least this edition of the book – there’s a trade paper of it about these days, maybe be a few less pages…)  Purchase and read only if you have some time on your hands.  It took me several long-time reading sessions to get through it.

Having been a Rolling Stones fan for the last 40+ years, this was a reasonably easy book to read.  I do recommend the 2 books by Andrew Loog Oldham (“Stoned” and “2Stoned”) on the same topic.

Obviously, this book is not for everybody.  Keith quickly confirms all of your worst feelings about one’s ability to write and perform under the influence of narcotics.  If you want visual proof, try and see the DVD “Stones In Exile” – not pretty, but it’s very informative about the situation surrounding “Exile On Main Street” having been recorded in France.

Corrupted by record collectors as a youth, Richards forms a band with the other guy he saw who had more records than he himself had.  Never a sure thing, this band records mainly cover versions for quite a while.  The penny dropped first for their manager, the aforementioned Andrew Loog Oldham, who “locked them in a kitchen” and told them “I’ll let you out when you start writing your own songs”.  The rest is “his story”.

Keith tosses off that the guitar riff for “Satisfaction” is down to the introduction of a fuzz box effects device.  We find out about Keith’s long term affinity for sax player Bobby Keys (still alive, as of this writing).  The way Keith tells it, he & Mick Jagger were always hounded by the clueless ‘drug squad’ of the constabulary.  “Who breaks a butterfly on the wheel?”

I must be honest – I am not a big fan of the Rolling Stones albums after “Exile On Main Street” (or before “Some Girls”).  This leaves “Goats Head Soup”, “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and “Black and Blue” as the bleak spots in the Stones’ discography.  It cou;d be argued that you don’t really need to hear any Stones’ albums after “Dirty Work” or “Steel Wheels” – but I certainly found some of them to be “amusing”!  It’s nothing short of a miracle that Keith hasn’t croaked already!

I saw The Rolling Stones live a few times during the 1990’s – and duly picked up “Bridges To Babylon” and “A Bigger Bang” (2005) – which did get a vinyl release as a massive 3 or 4 LP set!

But I have purchased virtually all of The Rolling Stones album yet again in the last 2 or 3 years – as SA-CD’s – the ABKCO titles, their best work, IMHO.  So, I continue to listen.  “Dandelion” is still probably my favorite Rolling Stones track.  It’s nifty that Keith would choose to spill so much dirt in his initial offering.  Will he ever write another book?  Possibly, but…I’m not holding my breath for it.

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