Sir Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is a Golden Globe and Grammy Award
winning English singer, songwriter and occasional actor, best known for his work
as lead vocalist of The Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones started in the early 1960s as a rhythm and blues cover band with Mick as frontman. Mick and guitarist Keith Richards developed a songwriting partnership and by the mid-1960s the group had evolved into a world-class rock band. Frequent conflict with the authorities, including alleged drug use, and his romantic involvements ensured that during this time Mick was never far from the headlines, and he was often portrayed as a counterculture figure. In the late 1960s Mick began acting in films (starting with Performance and Ned Kelly), to mixed reception.
In the 1970s, Jagger, with the rest of the Stones, became tax exiles, consolidated their global position and gained more control over their business affairs with he formation of the Rolling Stones Records label. During this time, Mick was also known for his high-profile marriages, first to Bianca De Macias, and later to Jerry Hall. In the 1980s Mick released his first solo albums. He was knighted in 2003.
Mick was born into a middle-class family at the Livingstone Hospital, Dartford, Kent, England. His father, Basil Fanshawe ("Joe") Jagger, and his paternal grandfather, David Ernest Jagger, were both teachers. His mother, Eva Ensley Mary Scutts (13 April 1913 – 18 May 2000), an Australian immigrant to England, was a hairdresser and an active member of the Conservative Party. Mick was the elder of two sons and was raised to follow in his father's career path.
In the book According to the Rolling Stones, Mick 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."
Academically successful, he attended Dartford Grammar School where he passed 3 A-levels, before entering the London School of Economics on a scholarship. As a student, Mick frequented a London club called "The Firehouse". At the age of 19, Mick began performing as a singer. Mick had no formal musical training and did not know how to read music.
In the early 1950s Keith Richards and Mick Jagger (who as a youngster preferred to be known as "Mike") were classmates at Wentworth Primary School in Dartford, Kent. Having lost contact with each other when they went to different schools at the age of 11, Richards and Mick resumed their friendship in 1960 after a chance encounter and discovered that they had both developed a love for rhythm and blues music. They moved into a flat in Chelsea with a guitarist they had encountered named Brian Jones. While Richards and Jones were making plans to start their own rhythm and blues group, Mick continued his business courses at the London School of Economics. Although he studied for a degree in accounting and finance, with a minor in physical education, he attended for less than a year and did not graduate, leaving instead to pursue a musical career.
In their earliest days the members played for no money in the interval of Alexis Korner's gigs at a basement club opposite Ealing Broadway tube station (subsequently called "Ferry's" club). At the time the group had very little equipment and needed to borrow Alexis' gear to play. This was before Andrew Oldham became their manager. The group’s first appearance under the name The Rollin' Stones (after one of their favourite Muddy Waters tunes) was at a jazz club called the Marquee Club on 12 July 1962. The lineup did not at that time include drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman. By 1963, they were finding their stride as well as popularity. By 1964 two unscientific opinion polls rated them as England's most popular group outranking even the Beatles.
By the autumn of 1963, Mick had left the LSE in favour of his promising musical career with the Rolling Stones. The group continued to mine the works of American rhythm and blues artists such as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, but with the strong encouragement of Andrew Oldham, Mick and Richards soon began to write their own songs. This core songwriting partnership would flourish in time; one of their early compositions, "As Tears Go By", was a song written for Marianne Faithfull, a young singer being promoted by Loog Oldham at the time. For the Rolling Stones, the duo would write "The Last Time", the group's third number-one single in the UK (their first two UK number-one hits had been cover versions). Another of the fruits of this collaboration was their first international hit, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". It also established The Rolling Stones’ image as defiant troublemakers in contrast to The Beatles' "lovable moptop" image.
Mick told Stephen Schiff in a 1992 Vanity Fair profile:
“ I wasn't trying to be rebellious in those days; 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, but someone older might have thought it was just the most awful racket, the most terrible thing, and where are we going if this is music?... But all those songs we sang were pretty tame, really. People didn't think they were, but I thought they were tame. ”
The group released several successful albums including December's Children
(And Everybody's), Aftermath, and Between the Buttons, but their reputations
were catching up to them. In 1967 Mick and Richards were arrested on drug
charges and were given unusually harsh sentences: Mick was sentenced to three
months' imprisonment for possession of four over-the-counter pep pills he had
purchased in Italy. On appeal Richards' sentence was overturned and Jagger's was
amended to a conditional discharge, but the Rolling Stones continued to face
legal battles for the next decade. Around the same time internal struggles about
the direction of the group had begun to surface.
After the band's acrimonious split with their second manager, Allen Klein, in 1971, Mick took control of their business affairs and has managed them ever since in collaboration with his friend and colleague, Rupert Löwenstein. In progress
In 1985 Mick released his first solo album She's The Boss produced by Nile Rodgers and Bill Laswell, featuring Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Jan Hammer, Pete Townshend, and the Compass Point All Stars.
In 1988 he produced the songs "Glamour Boys" and "Which Way to America" on Living Color's album Vivid. In progress
Mick celebrated The Rolling Stones' 40th anniversary by touring with them on the year-long Licks tour in support of their career retrospective Forty Licks double album.
On 26 September 2007, Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones made $437 million on their A Bigger Bang tour, which got them into the current edition of Guinness World Records for the most lucrative music tour. Mick has refused to say when the band will finally retire, stating in 2007: "I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours. We've got no plans to stop any of that really."
Jagger's relationship with band mate Keith Richards is frequently described as "love/hate" by the media.
Richards himself, in a 1998 interview, has said:
“ I think of our differences as a family squabble. If I shout and scream at him, it's because no one else has the guts to do it or else they're paid not to do it. At the same time I'd hope Mick realizes that I'm a friend who is just trying to bring him into line and do what needs to be done. ”
Mick has also had an intermittent acting career, most notably in Nicolas
Roeg's Performance (1968) and as Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (1970). He
composed an improvised soundtrack for Kenneth Anger's film Invocation Of My
Demon Brother on the moog synthesizer in 1969. He appeared as himself in The
Rutles film All You Need Is Cash in 1978. In the early 1980s, Mick was cast as
Wilbur, a main character in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. However a delay and
the illness of main actor Jason Robards in the film's notoriously difficult
production resulted in his being unable to continue due to schedule conflicts
with a band tour; some of the footage of his work is shown in the documentary
Burden of Dreams. He developed a reputation for playing the heavy later in his
acting career in films including Freejack (1992), Bent (1997), and The Man From
Elysian Fields (2002).
In 1995, Mick Jagger founded Jagged Films with Victoria Pearman:
“ To start my own projects instead of just going in other people's and being involved peripherally or doing music. ”
Its first release was the World War II drama Enigma in 2001. That same year,
it produced a documentary on Mick entitled Being Mick. The program, which first
aired on television 22 November, coincided with the release of Goddess in the
In 2008, the company began work on The Women, an adaptation of the George Cukor film of the same name. It was directed by Diane English. Reviving the 1939 film has met with countless delays, but Jagger's company was credited with obtaining $24 million of much-needed financing to finally begin casting. English told Entertainment Weekly:
“ This was much easier in 1939, when all the ladies were under contract, and they had to take the roles they were told to. ”
The Rolling Stones have been the subjects of numerous documentaries, including Gimme Shelter, which was made as the band was gaining fame in the United States. Martin Scorsese worked with Mick on Shine A Light, a documentary film featuring the Rolling Stones with footage from the A Bigger Bang Tour during two nights of performances at New York's Beacon Theatre. It screened in Berlin in February 2008. Variety's Todd McCarthy said the film:
“ Takes full advantage of heavy camera coverage and top-notch sound to create an invigorating musical trip down memory lane, as well as to provoke gentle musings on the wages of aging and the passage of time. ”
He predicted the film would fare better once released to video than in its
limited theatrical runs.
Mick was a producer of and acted in the short-lived comedy The Knights of Prosperity. The premise was that a group of inept, blue-collar thieves want to get rich quick, so they plot to rob Mick Jagger. In fact, the sitcom's working title was Let's Rob Mick Jagger, which was later renamed. Mick guest starred in the premiere episode, which aired in 2007 on ABC.
Mick is renowned for his multiple high-profile relationships. He has been married twice.
In 1970 he began a relationship with Bianca De Macias, whom he married on 12 May 1971 in a Roman Catholic ceremony in Saint-Tropez, France. Bianca filed for divorce in 1978 and they were officially divorced in 1979 on the grounds of his adultery.Bianca later said "My marriage ended on my wedding day".
In 1978 he began seeing model Jerry Hall, while still married to Bianca. After a lengthy cohabitation and several children together, the couple married on 21 November 1990 in a Hindu beach ceremony in Indonesia. Mick later contested the validity of the ceremony, and the marriage was annulled in 1999. This was subsequent to Jagger's affair with and the pregnancy of model Luciana Gimenez.
Mick has also been romantically linked to other women: Chrissie Shrimpton, Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Marsha Hunt, Pamela Des Barres, Uschi Obermaier, Bebe Buell, Carly Simon, Mackenzie Phillips, Janice Dickinson, Carla Bruni and Sophie Dahl, among others. He is currently in a relationship with fashion designer L'Wren Scott.
Mick has seven children by four women.
In 2008 it was revealed that members of the Hells Angels had plotted to murder Mick in 1975. They were angered by Jagger's public blaming of the Hell's Angels, who had been hired to provide "security" at the infamous Altamont Free Concert in December 1969, for much of the crowd violence at the event. The plot was cancelled after the boat they were to use to access his Long Island home capsized in a storm.
Mick is an avid cricket fan. He founded Jagged Internetworks so he could get coverage of English Cricket. Mick Jagger also introduced Paul Getty to cricket.
His personal fortune is an estimated £225m.
On 12 December 2003, Mick was knighted for Services to Music, as Sir Michael Mick 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.
As United Press International noted, the honor is odd, for unlike other knighted rock musicians, he has no "known record of charitable work or public services." Mick was absent from the Queen's Golden Jubilee pop concert at Buckingham Palace that marked her 50 years on the throne.
Charlie Watts, engaging in a bit of hyperbole in According to the Rolling Stones, said, "Anybody else would be lynched: 18 wives and 20 children and he's knighted, fantastic!" The ceremony took place in December 2003. Jagger’s father and daughters Karis and Elizabeth were in attendance.
Jagger's knighthood also caused some friction between him and band mate Keith Richards, who was irritated when Mick accepted the "fucking paltry honor". Richards said that he did not want to take the stage with someone wearing a "coronet and sporting the old ermine. It's not what the Stones is about, is it?" Mick Jagger retorted:
“ I think he would probably like to get the same honor himself. It's like being given an ice cream—one gets one and they all want one. It's nothing new. Keith likes to make a fuss.
This Mick Jagger Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub