Book Review: “Life” by Keith Richards

Keith Richards is famous for being THE guitarist in the Rolling Stones. Keith told a very revealing story of his and his beloved Rolling Stones band. A very long story. There are three major themes: 1) music, the craft. 2) drug abuse and the battle, 3) split with Mick Jagar.

On the first part about music the craft. How the music came to Keith Richards was amazing like writing a hit song during his sleep. The 5-string guitar was another invention of his. I came to appreciate all the nuances about resonance and harmony when playing different chords, not that I understood any of it.

The story of this whole on-and-off drug scene during his addiction painted a picture of how difficult it was and is for an addict to quit. It was good that he kept himself to the “pharmaceutical” grade cocaine as possible but it didn’t make it any easier to quit and definitely kept him and his group on the wrong side of the law and having to defend himself against the prosecution.

After reading the book, I became a fan of the Rolling Stones as I researched the songs he mentioned and the intricacy of making the music, including Mick Jagar’s amazing ability to write the lyrics on a yellow pad. It’s almost poetic.

The mental split with Mick Jagar as Mick turned into a control freak and wanted to change, go solo and reinvented himself to a different genre. I can see where Mick is coming from and I also see Keith’s point of view of making the “best” music they know how. In a way, the Rolling Stones is already pretty versatile as their music cut across all different genres including country music, and blues.

Keith’s approach to women is a bit passive, according to him. And with his fame, he didn’t have to do much.

Overall, I have learned many things about the Rolling Stones, like getting their band’s name from Muddy Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone” and his admiration for blues and jazz music. Keith has lived an amazing life. Given his drug abuse and many brushes with law, it’s amazing he could still clean himself up and kept up with a very productive life.

This is a good chronicle of the famous Rolling Stones band, the longest running band. If you’re a Rolling Stones fan or enjoy rock and roll music, this is a book for you. I definitely enjoy reading/listening to the audiobook and familiarized myself lots of Rolling Stones songs.

Hope Keith Richards continue to write music and bring joy to the world. Go Rolling Stones!