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Mick Jagger is one of the most recognisable and influential British musicians of the modern era. As lead singer and songwriter for The Rolling Stones, a prolific and much sought-after collaborator, a successful producer and a lauded solo artist in his own right, Mick has set and maintained the gold standard for popular performance and creativity for nearly five decades.
Michael Philip Jagger was born in 1943, in Dartford, Kent. A good student, Mick attended grammar school and then won a place at the prestigious London School of Economics. As has been well documented, he was a childhood friend of future Stones bandmate, guitarist and co-writer Keith Richards, with whom he lost touch during adolescence, before a chance meeting on the platform of the local railway station in 1960 brought them back together in their late teens. Discovering a shared passion for American rhythm and blues and rock’n’roll, they started hanging out, playing records and then making music.
They were playing drop-in, walk-on, pick-up parts in the British blues boom of the early sixties, as part of blues legend Alexis Korner’s scene, when they fell in with guitarist Brian Jones and keyboardist Ian Stewart, joining the former’s band The Rolling Stones in June 1962, where they were soon to be joined by Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman. The rest wasn’t silence.
As Stones front man, Mick Jagger became one of the faces and voices of the 1960s. As co-songwriter with Keith Richards, he was responsible for an extraordinary series of hit singles and albums, from ‘Get Off My Cloud’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, to Beggars Banquet and Exile On Main Street. The Rolling Stones matched The Beatles for musical virtuosity and star quality, playing the dark side Yin to the Fab Four’s Yang, with Jagger the high profile representative of this exalted role.
Mick was also prime mover behind the band’s move towards independence from the music industry, with the launch of their own Rolling Stones Records label in 1971and subsequent move into arena and stadium concerts. This perspicacious anticipation of changing taste in the music public helped turn The Rolling Stones into the world’s top concert attraction, leading to a series of record-breaking tour over the last four decades.
As a collaborator, Mick has duetted with Tina Turner, Peter Tosh, David Bowie, The Jacksons and Bono, and worked with a vast host of other musicians including Carly Simon, Ry Cooder, Living Colour, Lenny Kravitz, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame. The Jagger-Stewart composition ‘Old Habits Die Hard’, which originally appeared on the soundtrack of the 2004 remake of Alfie, starring Jude Law and directed by Charles Syer, won the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
Mick Jagger has released 15 solo singles and 5 solo albums, including She’s The Boss in 1985, Wandering Spirit in 1993 and Goddess In The Doorway in 2001. His vocal work, like his songwriting, defies categorisation. From menace, excitement, and dangerone moment, to soulful balladeering the next, Mick has always been about the songs and the music first, the style and genre second. The blues are and always have been his first love; but there have been many other affairs along the way.
He has brought a similar range and intensity to his film work. Performance, directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg in 1968, is probably the standout reference, but his performances in the title role of Tony Richardson’s Ned Kelly, in 1970, and in Geoff Murphy’s sci-fi film Freejack in 1992, are also attention-worthy.
Jagger’s filmography also includes cameos in Bent, Sean Mathias’ 1997 film adaptation of the controversial Martin Sherman play, and The Man From Elysian Fields, directed by George Hickenlooper in 2002, as well as the World War II drama Enigma, directed by Michael Apted, which he co-produced in 2001. The same year, his Jagged Films company produced Being Mick, a revealing documentary about the singer.
Acknowledged for his business acumen and success in developing and exploiting the Rolling Stones brand, Mick Jagger is also a noted sports fan, particularly cricket. He was knighted in 2003 styled Sir Michael Jagger, appropriately enough for Services to Music.
More can be found at RollingStones.com.
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