Monday, November 15, 2010

1/2 way through book review - Life by Keith Richards

This is one of those books where I can't stop thinking about it, and I even want to be sitting at the computer as I'm reading it, in order to look up and learn more about what I'm reading.  And it's all I want to talk about, much to the chagrin of those around me.  And I'm only about 1/2 way through.  And part of me doesn't want it to end.  So that's why I have this blog.

One day last week, I woke up from the weirdest dream about the Stones, and about Keith in particular.  I'm SO not getting into that right now, but suffice it to say, Gimme Shelter was stuck in my head when I woke up that morning.  I was in the middle of reading The American by Martin Booth at the time, but over the course of listening to the Stones all day at work, I quickly decided that I wouldn't be reading that anymore, because Keith Richards' new autobiography, Life, had been subliminally working its way into my dreams, screaming to be read.  It had been on my shelf for only about three days before this happened.  Severe.  And there's a reason: it's SO GOOD.

Seriously, though, I'm awestruck by the depth and passion of Keith's love of music.  And I know that he's an artist and a songwriter, but I'm also loving the way that he expresses himself.  The writing is so conversational that I sometimes find the book hard to put down.  He goes off on these tangents and asides, and it's just wonderful to read.  From the very start, I've been rebuilding the roots of my appreciation for music through this book.  Most of what I've been looking up as I read has been some of the music that he cites as influences, and I've been ordering CDs from the library like mad this week.  Jimmy Reed.  Chuck Berry.  John Lee Hooker.  B.B. King.  I've been listening to the Muddy Waters albums that I already owned a lot, and to Big Al Carson covering a lot of classic blues.  Blues and R&B has pretty much been my MO for the past week.  And lots of the Stones, of course. 

I've said before how much I think knowing the background to what you're listening to gives you a whole new appreciation, and this is like that on crack.  I even like the Stones a ton more now that I ever used to, which was bound to happen, but I was already a pretty big fan.  I've always been a fan, but this is ridiculous.  Did you know Keith wrote the main structure of "Satisfaction" in his sleep?  Literally.  He used to sleep with his guitar and with a tape deck by his bed, and he woke up in the morning to see the tape was full - played it back and there was "Satisfaction" plus about 40 minutes of him snoring.  I also just learned the background to "Ruby Tuesday," and now that song kind of breaks my heart.  And the pictures in the book are great.  Turns out Keith was pretty hot back in the day.  Maybe that's just me.

I don't know.  This is me just about half way through reading this brick of a book.  And while I'm finding it hard to put down and I just want to devour the whole thing, I also don't really want it to end.  More to come when I finally finish it.


  1. Wow, I keep passing this book at Target and I always stop to look at the cover, it's so striking. I will definitely pick it up now on your rec!

  2. I think I will do the same!! Thanks!!