Rock Through the Ages: Mick Jagger 1948

"I am not a librarian of my own work. It's a good thing not to be too involved with what you have done.- Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones found satisfactionAs the lead singer for the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger is one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll. Jagger fronted the Rolling Stones for over 20 years before he began a solo career in 1985. In a career spanning more than four decades, Mick Jagger has been characterized in many ways--from rock and roll's most demonic performer to one of its keenest business minds.

Michael Philip Jagger was born in Dartford, Kent on the 26th of July  in 1943. Jagger was born into a middle-class family, his father, Basil Fanshawe ("Joe") Jagger, and his paternal grandfather, David Ernest Jagger, were both teachers. His mother, Eva Ensley Mary Scutts, an Australian immigrant to England, was a hairdresser. Jagger was the eldest of two sons and was raised to follow in his father's career path. In the early 1950s Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, who as a youngster preferred the nickname Mike were classmates at Wentworth Primary School in Dartford, Kent. Mick Jagger discovered a love for music, especially early rock & roll and formed a high school band, Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys.

Mick Jagger states "I was always a singer. I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some kids sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio, the BBC or Radio Luxembourg, or watching them on TV and in the movies."  In 1962, Mick Jagger went to the London School of Economics to study for a career in business. Mick Jagger happened to bump into Richards once again (while the two were waiting on a train platform), and when Richards noticed Mick Jagger had several blues records under his arm, they became friends again. Between 1960-1962 The Rolling Stones formed. It comprised of Mick Jagger on lead vocal and harmonica, Keith Richards on guitar, Bill Wyman on bass, Charlie Watts on drums and Brian Jones on guitar.

Mick Jagger says she's the bossThe Rolling Stones first public appearance was a spur-of-the-moment, unpaid show at a tiny jazz club called the Marquee. They had no name for their group, but impulsively decided to call themselves "Brian Jones and Mick Jagger and the Rollin' Stones" after the title of a favorite Muddy Waters song. Popularity  for the Rolling Stones grew rapidly and by 1964 two different polls had named them England's most popular group, outranking even the Beatles. The band's first recordings drew heavily on the music of their favorite performers, including Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, but Mick Jagger and Richards soon began collaborative songwriting and developed their own sound. Their first international hit, "Satisfaction," stands today as their signature song. "I wasn't trying to be rebellious in those days," Mick Jagger insisted, "I was just being me. I wasn't trying to push the edge of anything. I'm being me and ordinary, the guy from suburbia who sings in this band'.

On the strength of such albums as December's Children, Aftermath, and Between the Buttons, Jagger and the Rolling Stones rose to the top, but their unsavory reputation led them into trouble with the law. In 1967 Jagger and two band mates were arrested for drug offenses and given unusually harsh sentences. In 1970 Mick Jagger tried his hand at acting in movies, landing roles in such flicks as Performance and Ned Kelly . Mick Jagger also became a renowned playboy and jet setter among other celebrities. As a result (as well as the Stones' escalating drug abuse), the quality of the Stones' music began to suffer -- while they remained one of the world's top concert draws and beloved bands, they issued albums of varying quality from the mid-'70s through the early '80s.

Around this time, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards conflicted over the musical direction of the band. Mick Jagger wanted to move the band in a more pop and dance-oriented direction while Richards wanted to stay true to the band's rock & roll and blues roots. By 1984, Jagger had begun recording a solo album where he pursued a more mainstream, dance-inflected pop direction. The resulting album, She's the Boss, was released in 1985.

Mick Jagger between the buttonsMick Jagger tried to make his solo career as successful as the Rolling Stones, pouring all of his energy into his second solo album, 1987's Primitive Cool. Although the album received stronger reviews than She's the Boss, only one of the singles, "Let's Work",  scraped the bottom of the Top 40 and the record didn't go gold. Mick Jagger recorded his third solo album with Rick Rubin, who had previously worked with the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The resulting solo album, Wandering Spirit, was released in 1993 and received the strongest reviews of any of Jagger's solo efforts. The album entered the U.S. charts at number 11 and went gold the year it was released. A year after the release of Wandering Spirit, the Stones reunited and released Voodoo Lounge, supporting the album with another extensive international tour.

During the '90s, Jagger also resumed his movie acting career. Mick Jagger has had a lifetime of affairs, starting in the 1960s with Marianne Faithfull, which ended when she had a miscarriage and drug overdose. With Marsha Hunt, an American actress, he had a daughter Karis. He first became involved with Jerry Hall in 1977. Although Jagger married both Bianca and Jerry, he continued to have affairs (it was said that Hall broke up his relationship with Bianca). He also had well publicized affairs with Italian model Carla Bruni in 1992 and Jana Rajlich, another model, in 1996--both while married to Hall. Hall and Jagger finally split when it became public that Lucia Morad, a Brazilian lingerie model, was pregnant with Mick Jagger's child. Hall filed for divorce in 1999.

In a 2003 interview with Irish Independent, Hall said, "I really tried for 25 years. I had the patience of a saint but he's an incurable womanizer and not very discreet. He needs help. I still love him and we're best friends, but I no longer have the heartache if he's unfaithful, thank God."

On 12 December 2003, Mick Jagger was knighted for Services to Music, as Sir Michael Jagger by The Prince of Wales. Mick Jagger's knighthood received mixed reactions. Some fans were disappointed when he accepted the honor as it seemed to contradict his anti-establishment stance. It's fairly obvious that as Mick Jagger, now a grandfather, approaches what might otherwise be the retirement years, he is far from relinquishing the spotlight. Whether as a solo musical performer, with the Rolling Stones, in front of or behind a film camera, it's very clear Mick Jagger will never be satisfied to simply fade away.
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Mick Jagger
Musician
Singer and songwriter for The Rolling Stones