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Click for availability and more information Life, by Keith Richards, with James Fox
 
Even if you're not a Rolling Stones fan, you should still read Life by Keith Richards with James Fox (2010). I'd read Mick Jagger by Philip Norman (2012) earlier, and wanted to compare the two. So I downloaded the e-Book onto my iPad and away I went!

The Richards book is about twice as long, but provides an in-depth look at what has been called "the greatest rock and roll band of all times." Richards describes his early childhood. He grew up in a lower class family, and was the victim of bullying. He explains how his grandfather intentionally left a guitar hanging around so Keith would get interested in music. Surprisingly, he was a Patrol Leader in a Boy Scout Troop, but was summarily dismissed due to his tough disciplinary tactics! He was also part of a glee club until he was replaced.

Keith explains how he met Mick Jagger, who came from a more middle class family, while taking the train to school. They soon discovered they had the same interest in American rhythm and blues. Years later they would put together a band and travel all over England to perform - many times for very little or no money. Eventually they hired a manager who promoted them. Unfortunately, as happened with so many early (especially Black) rock groups, their manager got greedy and pilfered their money. Fortunately, Mick was very sharp financially, and he found a new manager who was very fair.

I like this book because it has so many levels. It talks about the relationship between the band-mates, guitar techniques developed and used by Richards (great for you musicians) and the celebrities they ran into. It wasn't all fun and games as Richards, in particular, developed a strong drug habit and had to go "cold turkey" repeatedly. Also, the authorities were constantly hassling them, arresting them in the middle of the night and even planting drugs on them. They became the "bad boys" to the Beatles' "good boys". Ironically, they became the darlings of the Monarchy, and Mick was knighted for his contribution to music!

I'd always thought Keith Richards was a burned-out drug addict; but after reading this book, I realize he's very intelligent, and a gifted story teller! I'm serious. If you don't believe me, give it a try. Just pick it up and browse it. I guarantee you'll be hooked!
-Carl

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This page contains a single entry published on August 9, 2013 4:55 PM.

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