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Justin Bieber Vs. Keith Richards: Comparing The Memoirs

Stop The Presses!

Quick.Which music star says this in his new autobiography: "You can't alwaysget what you want. But if you're lucky, you get what you need"?

If you guessed Keith Richards, guess again. It's actually Justin Bieber! (See p. 36... we wouldn't lie.)

Whetherthe 16-year-old pop superstar knows he's quoting the Stones, orbrilliant minds just think alike, is anyone's guess. But Bieber's First Step 2 Forever: My Story just barely preceded Richards' Life into bookstores, and we couldn't help but compare and contrast these two high-profile memoirs.

We'renot quite ready to wonder aloud if the 66-year-old rocker is Bieber'sreal grandpa, but amid the obvious differences, we couldn't help noticea shocking number of similarities. Here's how they align and differ oneverything from girls to God:


Bieberstarts his book by addressing "the greatest fans in the world," saying"every one of you is 'My Favorite Girl' for a different reason"-noteven allowing for the possibility of any male fans.

Richardswrites: "At first our audience were female-driven, until towards theend of the 1960s, when it evened out. These armies of feral,body-snatching girls began to emerge about halfway through our firsttour... Nothing like a good 10, 15 minutes of pubescent femaleshrieking to cover up all your mistakes... They didn't (care) that Iwas trying to be a blues player."


Bieber:"Another question people ask me all the time is if my career will fallapart if my voice changes. 'There's no if about it,' (vocal coach) JanSmith said right from the start. 'Puberty happens. We'll work throughit.' I'm not worried. She got Usher through it, too... I'm not Peter Pan.I'm growing up and my voice will change."

Richards: As a schoolboy, he and some pals hadgone to sing at a choir competition between schools, and performed infront of the queen. But puberty did end this particular careerdirection. "Your voice breaks, (when you're) age 13, and (thechoirmaster) gave the three of us the pink slip." 


Richards: "December 18, 1943. According to my mother, Doris, that happened during an air raid siren."

Bieber also associates his birth with a siren-of song. "Theday I was born, March 1, 1994, Celine Dion was solid at #1 on theBillboard Hot 100 with 'The Power of Love.' Not a bad song to startyour life on."


Bieber:"My mom teeters behind us, rocking skinny jeans and high heels... BeforeI was born, she started going to church. That became super-important toher... Mom is a trip and she sacrificed everything for me."

Richards' mum sacrificed his pet cat and mouse, literally. "Shekilled all my pets when I was a kid. She didn't like animals; she'dthreatened to do it and she did it. I put a note on her bedroom door,with a drawing of a cat, that said 'Murderer'... Doris' reaction was theusual: 'Shut up. Don't be so soft.'"


Bieber:"My parents broke up when I was 10 months old... My dad was away at worka lot of the time, and yeah, that sucked for me sometimes. It suckedfor him, too."

Richards: "AsI took the lid off the box, a fine spray of (his father's) ashes blewon to the table; I couldn't just brush him off, so I wiped my fingerover it and snorted the residue."


Bieber: "Thesuccess I've achieved comes to me from God... God forgives us six hundredtimes a day, and he doesn't sit around busting heads about it."

Richards:"There's nobody in my family that ever had anything to do withorganized religion... Thank God, otherwise Sundays would have been evenmore boring than they were... Idon't want to see my old friend Lucifer just yet. He's the guy I'mgonna see, isn't it? I'm not going to the Other Place, let's face it."


Richardsbought the 45 of "Heartbreak Hotel" in the mid-'50s. "I'd never heardElvis before. When I woke up the next day, I was a different guy."

Bieber:"It got to be 2000, 2001, and you know what that means. Beyonce... Then,all of a sudden, it was like I opened my eyes one day and noticed thatthe world is full of beautiful girls, and I've had a hard time thinkingabout anything else ever since."


Richards, an Englishman, devotes two pages of his book to his recipe for bangers and mash.

Bieber, a Canadian, advocates for maple syrup and Caramilk bars.


Richards was deeply influenced by blues guitarist Jimmy Reed's style. "Ittook me years to find out how he actually played the 5 chord, in thekey of E ... [I]nstead of making the conventional barre chord, the B7th,which requires a little effort with the left hand, he wouldn't botherwith the B at all. He'd leave the open A note ringing and just slide afinger up the D string to a 7th. And there's the haunting note,resonating against the open A."

Bieber: "If you know the basic form of five or six barre chords, you can play pretty much any song in the universe. "


Bieber: "Oncewe sneaked out and went bike-riding at 2 in the morning, and the copspicked us up and took us home. My mom came unglued about that, and Iwas grounded for a few weeks, but that gave me time to work on my barrechords and a couple good guitar riffs and learn some new songs."

Richards:"There's a knock at the door, I look through the window and there'sthis whole lot of dwarves outside, but they're all wearing the sameclothes! They were policemen, but I didn't know it... 'Wonderful attire!Am I expecting you? Anyway, come on in, it's a bit chilly out.'... I'dnever been busted before and I was still on acid."


Bieber,on one of his closest pals: "We call Ryan 'Buttsy' which probably isn'tRyan's favorite thing, but sorry, dude, if you got 'butt' in your name,how are people not going to jump on that?"

Richards started derisively calling Mick Jagger "Brenda" after spotting a novel written by Brenda Jagger in a bookstore. "Itwas in the beginning of the '80s when Mick started to becomeunbearable. That's when he became Brenda, or Her Majesty, or justMadam." It took years for Jagger to realize that when his bandmateswere joking about "Brenda," they meant him. He was not pleased.


Richards: "I come from a matriarchy on both sides of my family... Ihave never put the make on a girl in my life... My instincts are alwaysto leave it to the woman... I knew how to operate among women, becausemost of my cousins were women, so I felt very comfortable in theircompany. If they're interested, they'll make the move. That's what Ifound out."

Bieber: "Ihad a great advantage in that I had lived in girl world all my life. Mymom and I had talked about stuff pretty openly, so maybe I understood alittle bit more than the average guy about how girls work."


Bieber: "A certain amount of success with the opposite sex comes down to the simple concept: don't be a jerk."

Richards talks about MickJagger's girlfriends coming to him for advice and comfort. "The tearsthat have been on this shoulder from Jerry Hall, from Bianca, fromMarianne, Chrissie Shrimpton...They've ruined so many shirts of mine. Andthey ask me what to do! How the hell do I know? I don't (have sex with)him!" But when Jagger took up with Richards' longtime girlfriend AnitaPallenberg, Richards got back at him. "While you were doing that, I wasknocking Marianne (Faithfull), man. While you're missing it, I'mkissing it."


Bieber: "Being a Canadian, hockey is our thing. We have it in our blood."

Meanwhile,Richards denies the legend that he had his blood completely replaced ina total transfusion in the 1970s to rid his system of drug toxins.


Richards: "Atthe same time, Anita and I had drifted into heroin. We just snorted itfor a year or two, along with pure cocaine. Speedballs... Mick choseflattery, which is very like junk-a departure from reality. I chosejunk."

Bieber discusses his road crew attending to "cruciallife-dependent matters, like making sure I don't eat any pizza the dayof the show. Singers aren't supposed to have dairy before a show, butI'm a rule breaker. Pizza is just so good!"


Richards:"I don't knock people much (outside my immediate circle), but I've gotto say Chuck Berry was a big disappointment." Also, close friend JohnLennon is described as "a silly sod, in many ways... I don't think Johnever left my house except horizontally."

Bieber:"We met up with Justin Timberlake at his place in Memphis.... I sang 'CryMe a River' for him. 'It takes a lot of balls to sing me my own song,'he said... It was so surreal that he wanted to do a deal with me." Butdespite spending his meeting with Timberlake, openly gawking at JessicaBiel, then-14-year-old Bieber passed over the other Justin and made adeal with Usher instead.


Bieber:"Unfortunately for the bullies, my dad was a former professionalfighter who used to take me to his training sessions... If somebodyshoved me, I shoved back harder."

Richardscarries both a knife and a gun at various points but only ever actuallyuses his fists, on friends and foes. Once, backstage on a '70s tourwhere the Stones were being accompanied by Billy Preston, Richards,claiming that the organ was louder than the band every night, pulled aknife on the famous sideman and threatened to use it if Preston didn'tturn himself down.


Bieber re-broke a foot while opening for Taylor Swift at a London arena. "Inthe middle of a song. In front of 12,000 people. And Taylor Swift. Iwon't tell you the words that went through my head. Meanwhile, the songkept coming out of my mouth... Every step was another spike... Longestthree minutes of my life."

Richards:"There's a scar I have from burning my finger to the bone while playingthe very first number one night. It was my fault. I told everybody,stand back, there's a big pyro to start with, and then I forgot. I wentout there, the fireworks were going off, and a lump of white phosphorussettled on my finger. And it's steaming and burning. And I know I can'ttouch it-if I touch it, I'm going to spread it. I'm playing 'Start MeUp' and I've just got to let my finger burn through to the bone. I'mwatching my white bone for the next two hours."


Richards: "Exile on Main Street hada slow start. It was the kiss of death to make double albums, accordingto the lore of record companies... We stuck to it... saying, if it takestwo albums, that's what we're going to do."

Biebersays it was the idea of his manager and label head "to do a dozen songsplus bonus tracks and divide them between two albums-My World and My World 2.0-releasing them only about four months apart."


Richardsrecalls how, in the '70s, "I was now put on the death list by acheering press... NME put up a top ten of rock stars most likely to die,and put me at number one... That was the only chart on which I wasnumber one for ten years in a row.... I was really disappointed when Iwent down the charts. Finally dropping down to number nine. Oh God,it's over."

Bieber:"Let's take time to answer some crazy rumors... One: I'm not dead. I hadto check on this one. But it turns out I'm alive."


After alluding to umpteen dalliances, Richards adds, "I'mnot Bill Wyman or Mick Jagger, noting down how many I've had... I'venever been able to go to bed with a woman just for sex. I've nointerest in that. I want to hug you and kiss you and make you feel goodand protect you. And get a nice note the next day, stay in touch."

Bieber: "Thatwas the Christmas where I met that girl and made out with her furiouslyfor several days straight and we went on to have the most romanticrelationship in the history of man. Wait... that did not happen. But Idid have fun pranking you while you sat excitedly in your room readingabout it."


Bieber: "Why do you drive on a parkway and park in the driveway? It's messed up."

Richards: "I've been through more cold turkeys than there are freezers."


Richardssings a song to his dying mother in the hospital. After she passes awaythat night, the nurse tells him the next day that mum's last words werethat Richards was "out of tune."

Bieberfails his first attempt at getting his driver's license, and thenrefuses to let his mother drive him home, crying and ranting in therain till he ruins his voice. 

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