Top 10 Rock Tell-All Autobiographies

Craig's Hlist just cracked into his copy of Life, by Keith Richards. It's the first time that the Rolling Stones guitarist and god among men has taken time to document his rock and roll journey for anyone. Sure there have been Stones oral histories from the band, but this is Richards' chance to speak out.

As far as rock autobiographies go, it's one of the most sought-after tomes in a long, long time. The book is almost two inches thick and filled with two sections of rare pictures, in addition to the tell-all passages where Richards laments the fractured relationship he has with singer Mick Jagger.

The druggy sections are unapologetic, with no moral or lesson to not do them. Richards merely states that doing drugs worked for him but may not work for you. Sort of like, "Don't try this at home, but if you do, it can be pretty fun and you may enjoy it,"

Rock memoirs encompass a good 75 percent of what we read for fun, so we know good ones when we see them. Some are mostly spotty, like Vince Neil's recent Tattoos & Tequila, where he is constantly selling something in between telling the Motley Crue tales you already heard in The Dirt.

Joey Kramer's recent book, Hit Hard, is a good window into the life of the timekeeper behind Aerosmith. You also find out how much of an asshole Steven Tyler was to the drummer early on in the band's formation, and Kramer's own coke addiction is a prominent motif.

Patti Smith's recent Just Kids is up for a National Book Award next week. The book traces her early career and her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and should be an excellent gift for the sullen teenage girl in your family who needs a fire lit under their creative melting pot.

Some make you become obsessed with the supposed depravity of the author for years on end, until you grow up and realize that it's probably not all that true and was a part of a marketing scheme, like Marilyn Manson's Long Hard Road Out of Hell. It's still entertaining, if not a little comical now.

What are your favorites? Here are ours.

10. Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume 1

Zimmy takes a step out and takes glances at his life. It's not linear, but is a glimpse into the man's psyche.

9. Johnny Cash, Cash

This one could change your life and make you wanna walk with Jesus, it's that good. His earlier memoir from 1983 is good too.

8. Aerosmith, Walk This Way

Since the band is near implosion, we want them to write another book right now to catch the fireworks on paper.

7. The Beatles, The Beatles Anthology

This is a huge sucker - coffee-table size and full of great pictures and insight from the remaining Beatles.

6. Motley Crue, The Dirt

This autobiography, with the help of rock writer Neil Strauss, has become the go-to book for any band starting out and wanting to tear up the road one groupie at a time.

5. Kurt Cobain, Journals

Journals was a look inside the private notebooks of the Nirvana frontman and his short 27 years on Earth. Plenty of drawings, lyrics, and heartbreaking personal asides

4. Pamela Des Barres, I'm With The Band

This is The Dirt for groupies, and an excellent portal into the world of the pretty girls behind the scenes who make everything better.

3. Tina Turner, I, Tina

With Kurt Loder, Tina Turner told the story of her life with Ike, the abuses, and her successes. The book was the basis for What's Love Got To Do With It? In 1993.

2. Henry Rollins, Get In the Van

This is the chronicles of Henry Rollins' time in Black Flag, from his days before the band slinging ice cream, to the sad, anticlimactic end in 1986. Be sure to get the audio book too.

1. Richard Cole, Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored

Richard Cole was Zep's road manager for the whole of their touring life from 1968 till 1980. This one will singe your brain.


Dave Navarro, Don't Try This At Home

Marilyn Manson, Long Hard Road Out of Hell

Ice-T, The Ice Opinion: Who Gives A Fuck?

David Lee Roth, Crazy From the Heat

Nikki Sixx, The Heroin Diaries

Tommy Lee, Tommyland

Ozzy Osbourne, I Am Ozzy

Lemmy Kilmister, White Line Fever

John Densmore, Riders On the Storm

Eric Clapton, Clapton

Brian "Head" Welch (Korn), Save Me From Myself

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty