In his autobiography, “Life,” Keith Richards lays out his life for the world to see.
From his childhood fascination with the blues, to the founding of the Rolling Stones with his childhood friend Mick Jagger, to the women he has loved and lost, to his becoming an elder statesman in the world of rock ’n’ roll in his sixth decade — Richards leaves absolutely no stone unturned.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was an only child of parents who pretty much left him to his own devices in Dartmouth, England, a town that was still picking up the pieces after the devastation of World War II. And that would be a theme for Richards throughout his life — a man left to his own devices — sometimes for the good, most of the time for the bad, but always a source of constant entertainment and adventure for anyone around him.
This rambling journey through his life is written in such a way that the reader has no doubt that this is the voice of Richards. Although a bit disjointed in spots, Richards is brutally honest about his lifelong attraction to drugs and booze, his on again/off again relationship with his mate Jagger, and his unfailing dedication to music.
In addition to Richards’ remembrances, he pulls in a bit of help from his family, friends and fellow musicians, giving them a chance to share their side of some of Richards’ adventures.
Some of the most touching sections appear when Richards talks about his children, a son and daughter with actress Anita Pallenberg and two daughters with his wife Patti Hansen. His love and adoration for his kids shines through his stories of them and is impressive to behold.
Photographs of Richards from childhood through the present day are scattered throughout the book, documenting his rise to fame and notoriety. Richards also sprinkles tidbits of surprising information throughout his story that many people might not know or remember. It was a bit surprising to read of his love of gorgeous and talented singer Ronnie Spector — he would have married her if she had not had Phil Spector on the scene. He loves to cook, with bangers and mash (sausage and potatoes) and shepherd’s pie being his specialty. He was good friends with John Lennon and Gram Parsons and was devastated by both of their deaths.
Although in his late 60s now, Richards shows no signs of slowing down, even after nearly dying after falling from a tree in Fiji in 2006. As long as there is music to be made, and as long as the Rolling Stones still have a bit of breath in their bodies, you can bet that Keith Richards will be there, wailing away on his guitar as only he can do so well.
Not a bad life after all.