Mick Jagger

Also Credited As:

Michael Philip Jagger, Michael Philip Jagger
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Biography

Arguably one of the most influential singers in the history of rock and roll, Mick Jagger brought street smarts, an encyclopedic knowledge of rhythm and blues, and a stage presence that blew apart established concepts of self-confidence and sex appeal as the lead singer of The Rolling Stones. Jagger was also the band's primary lyricist, and with longtime partner and foil Keith Richards, helped to pen some of the greatest rock songs of the 20th …
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Job Title

Actor, Producer, Writer, Music, Other

Born

Michael Philip Jagger on July 26, 1943 in Kent, England, GB

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Arguably one of the most influential singers in the history of rock and roll, Mick Jagger brought street smarts, an encyclopedic knowledge of rhythm and blues, and a stage presence that blew apart established concepts of self-confidence and sex appeal as the lead singer of The Rolling Stones. Jagger was also the band's primary lyricist, and with longtime partner and foil Keith Richards, helped to pen some of the greatest rock songs of the 20th century, from "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Gimme Shelter" to "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Miss You" and countless others. For several generations of rock fans, he embodied the rock singer in its most complete form, as equal parts warrior-king, soothsayer, charlatan and shape shifter. And if his personal life occasionally strayed into the gossip pages, and his solo efforts lacked the band's electricity and drive, Jagger could be forgiven for most of his sins by virtue of his influence on hundreds of aspiring musicians who saw the truth about rock and roll in his sinuous moves and seductive lyrics.

Born Michael Philip Jagger on July 26, 1943, he was the eldest of two sons born to teacher, Basil Jagger, and his wife, Eva Ensley Jagger, a hairstylist and active member of the Conservative Party. Jagger's parents intended for their son to follow in his father's career footsteps, but his true interests lay in singing. He was an active member of his church choir, and studied singers' technique and stage presence on radio and television and in films. As a schoolboy, Jagger befriended a classmate at Wentworth Primary School named Keith Richards, but the pair lost touch with each other. In the ensuing years, Jagger began to develop a fascination for American rock and roll and rhythm & blues, and briefly fronted his own band, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. As before, he held a particular fascination of singers, especially the rock pioneer Little Richard, whose outrageous, sexually ambiguous presence would serve as a defining role model for his later career. However, unlike many future rock musicians, Jagger had an inherently practical side as well as a head for finance, and studied accounting and business at the London School of Economics while indulging his music passions after hours.

In 1960, he ran into Richards by chance while the two were waiting on a train platform. Jagger noticed that Richards was carrying several blues records, and the ensuing conversation reignited their friendship. It also sparked the inspiration for the pair to start a band, initially named the Rollin' Stones, which they commenced in earnest in 1961. After teaming with guitarist Brian Jones and piano player Ian Stewart, the duo added bassist and future Pretty Things member Dick Taylor and drummer Tony Chapman (later Mick Avory). After several lineup changes, which saw Bill Wyman replace Taylor and Charlie Watts take over the drummer's seat, the band added the grammatically correct "g" to their name and made their debut at London's Marquee Club in 1962.

The group quickly gained a following among young listeners, especially those who responded to their set lists of songs by Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and other black R&B performers. Though at first, Jagger lacked the physically commanding stage presence of these talents, he was animated enough, and possessed a keen enough understanding of their delivery, as well as the blues idiom of the whole, which helped to propel the band ahead of most other R&B-influenced outfits. When The Rolling Stones made their initial tours of America in 1964 and 1965 - at the height of worldwide Beatlemania - they were frequently paired with established or up-and-coming black acts, and he studied their stage behavior to develop his own stage persona. Tina Turner's highly kinetic, tireless and sexually suggestive stage presence would be a particular influence on him in later years.

By the mid-sixties, The Rolling Stones had developed into one of England's leading bands. Their scruffy looks and penchant for blues and raunch made them an alternative to the fresh-scrubbed Beatles, but it was the songwriting team of Jagger and Richards that truly fueled the group's stratospheric ascent. Initially, the group leaned on American R&B to build their albums and performances, but their teenaged manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, pressured them to come up with their own material. By 1964, the duo's material was overtaking their covers on the charts, and in 1965, they scored their first U.K. and international No. 1's with "The Last Time" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," respectively. As with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Jagger and Richards frequently divided the responsibilities of lyrics and melody between them, though on several occasions, one person handled both duties, as Jagger did on "Brown Sugar" and "Sympathy for the Devil," while retaining the partnership credit. The duo also shared Lennon and McCartney's penchant for stinginess in regard to letting others write material for their albums, a fact that drove Bill Wyman to strike out on his own solo career and eventually leave the band in the early '90s.

As the band developed its image as musical outlaws, so too did Jagger create his own reputation as one of Britain's most notorious lotharios. Among the famous women he counted as his conquests in the 1960s were model Chrissie Shrimpton and actress-singer Marianne Faithfull, who endured a lengthy and emotionally turbulent relationship with him throughout the 1960s. Though she scored a hit with a cover of the Jagger/Richards tune "As Tears Go By," she would be better known to the public as the woman in Jagger's company when the police raided Richards' flat in 1967 and arrested the bandmates for possession of pills. A highly publicized trial followed, during which Jagger was handed down a sentence of three months in jail. Appeals from the pop music community and its fans helped to overturn the sentence, which was amended to a conditional discharge. Faithfull would later fall into drug addiction and homelessness after Jagger left her in 1970, but rebounded in the 1980s with a revitalized career.

The end of the 1960s saw The Rolling Stones reach their creative zenith with a quintet of albums that many fans and critics regarded as among the best rock and roll music ever recorded - 1968's Beggars Banquet, 1969's Let It Bleed, 1970's Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, 1971's Sticky Fingers and 1972's Exile on Main Street, which seemed to perfectly encapsulate the joys and terrors of that tumultuous period. The band recorded some of its most enduring hits for these albums, including "You Can't Always Get What You Want, "Street Fighting Man," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Gimme Shelter," "Wild Horses," and "Brown Sugar," but conflict from both in and outside the Stones camp threatened to tear them apart on numerous occasions. The accidental death of Brian Jones in 1968 and the disastrous 1969 free concert at Altamont, which was captured on film in the harrowing documentary "Gimme Shelter"(1970), set the tone for much of the next half-decade: Jagger and Richards' relationship, once almost familial, began to unravel under the weight of drug addiction and artistic differences. Their acrimony spread to the other band members as well, with Jones' replacement, Mick Taylor, receiving much of Richards' misplaced ire. Veteran player Ron Wood was eventually brought in to serve as much as mediator between Jagger and Richards as the band's rhythm guitarist. The band's finances were also in disarray, thanks to the stiff British tax system, which forced Jagger to relocate to the south of France, and their manager, Allen Klein, who successfully sued them to retain the rights to most of their songs written before 1971.

With the Stones in disarray, Jagger attempted to strike out on his own as an actor. He gave an impressive turn as a former rock star that swapped personalities with a sadistic gangster (Edward Fox) in hiding in Donald Cammell's "Performance" (1970). He received solid reviews for his work, but the majority of his later film roles would elude such praise. "Ned Kelly" (1970), about a 19th century Australian outlaw, was largely dismissed, and he was forced to abandon Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" (1982) when the film's epic production delays conflicted with the band's touring schedule. When not pursuing film roles, Jagger kept company with the nightclub scene in New York and Los Angeles, romancing such famous women as singer-songwriter Carly Simon, who was rumored to have penned "You're So Vain" about him, as well as Bebe Buell, Janice Dickinson and Margaret Trudeau. He also began hobnobbing with celebrities from the entertainment and art world, and it was in this circle that he met Nicaraguan-born partygoer Bianca Perez-Mora Macias, whom he would marry in 1971. The couple's seven-year union produced a daughter, Jade, but was frequently rocked by Jagger's infidelities, which resulted in a divorce in 1978. Jagger then took up with model Jerry Hall, with whom he had a two-decade-long relationship that produced four children.

Though Jagger's personal life was on the rebound, his relationship with Richards and The Rolling Stones had continued to sour. A series of perfunctory albums and tours throughout the 1970s, due largely to their inability to agree on the direction of the band, undermined their self-appointed status as the "world's greatest rock and roll band," and by the end of the decade, the former partners were barely on speaking terms. Richards was particularly bothered by Jagger's desire to push the Stones into more commercially acceptable pop and dance territories, which clashed with his blues-based ideas. Frustrated by Richards' immovability, Jagger released a solo album, She's The Boss, in 1985. The soulful, poppier sound struck a chord with listeners, who helped to propel it to platinum status. Jagger made even further strides away from The Stones by recording a hit cover of Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Streets" for the Live Aid organization. Both Jagger and Richards performed at the global benefit, though conspicuously apart from each other, with Richards and Ron Wood backing Bob Dylan, while Jagger pranced alongside his role model, Tina Turner.

Following the release of 1986's Dirty Work, Jagger informed Richards that he would not tour to support the album. This launched a war of words between the two men that lasted several years. Meanwhile, Jagger attempted to capitalize on the success of She's the Boss with 1987's Primitive Cool, but the sophomore release was a failure upon release. Within two years, he was back in the Stones camp, having settled his differences with Richards. The band released Steel Wheels in 1989, and if the record itself was underwhelming, the tour that followed was a major moneymaker, and re-established them as one of the top live acts in the world.

The 1990s saw Jagger at what appeared to be peace with his association with The Rolling Stones, while still making in-roads towards establishing himself as a solo act. He made sporadic returns to acting, most notably in 1997's "Bent," based on the play by Martin Sherman, in which he played a transvestite cabaret performer during the Nazi regime. He also launched his own production company, Jagged Films, which would produce 2001's spy thriller "Enigma" and financed 2008's "The Women." His solo music career continued to have its ups and downs, with 1993's Wandering Spirit reaching No. 11 on the U.S. charts, while 2001's Goddess in the Doorway was largely ignored. And while many assumed that he had finally settled down with Hall, he proved them wrong by annulling their marriage in 1999 shortly after it was announced that he had fathered a child with Brazilian model Luciana Gimenez.

His career as a Rolling Stone continued unabated for much of the late 1990s and early 21st century. The band, which lost longtime member Bill Wyman in the early '90s, continued to release unspectacular albums like 1994's Voodoo Lounge and 1997's Bridges to Babylon, which were supported by epic world tours that raked in millions in ticket sales. As Jagger entered his sixth decade, fans and critics alike marveled at his physical endurance, which allowed him to perform his signature moves largely without stopping for two hours every night. And while performers from Lenny Kravitz and Axl Rose to Perry Farrell and OutKast's Andre 3000 claimed him as an influence, there was also the unavoidable sense that he was leading a band that had seen its best days three decades ago.

In 2001, Jagger received stellar reviews for his turn as the wry but wistful owner of a male escort service in George Hickenlooper's "The Man from Elysian Fields." Two years later, he accepted a knighthood from The Prince of Wales, which naturally spawned gales of derisive comments from Richards and tart ripostes from Jagger. The duo kept their love/hate relationship at bay long enough to celebrate their band's 40th anniversary with the compilation album, Forty Licks (2002) and a 2002-03 world tour. Their 2007 "Bigger Bang" tour put them in the record books for earning $437 million, the second highest tour gross in world history. And while Richards' 2010 autobiography Life took his partner to task for all manner of personal and musical crimes, both men publicly announced that their retirements were far in the future.

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