Picks and Pans Review: According to the Rolling Stones

updated 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

By Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood

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Keith Richards is not just a wonder of rock and medical science; he also proves a hilarious raconteur in this oral autobiography. If Mick Jagger is circumspect, practically everything Richards says is quotable: "You want to make a record no matter what it takes," he recalls of the band's beginnings, "even to the point of wearing houndstooth suits." Richards talks about his drug abuse and the boys make clear their feelings toward guitarist Brian Jones, who was fired just before his 1969 death. "There's a demon in me," Richards says, "but I only own up to having one of them. Brian probably had 45 more.... He was so self-important, maybe because he was so short."

They also merrily riff on each other—drummer Charlie Watts, exaggerating but slightly, says of Jagger, "Anybody else would be lynched: 18 wives and 20 children and he's knighted, fantastic!"—discuss the mid-'80s feud that nearly scuttled their act and invite various associates to chime in frankly: Jagger had "a ruthless element," says art-scene pal Christopher Gibbs. The stabbing of a fan at the 1969 Altamont concert is dispensed with quickly, and there is little on the private lives (Richards glosses over his theft of Jones's girlfriend Anita Pallenberg), but for fans, here's proof that you can sometimes get what you want.


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