Symphony for the satan: Mick Jagger’s 80 best moments, on his eightieth birthday

Symphony for the satan: Mick Jagger’s 80 best moments, on his eightieth birthday

1 The boy maketh the person. Eva Jagger stated of her son: “I at all times had the sensation that Mike could be one thing. He was a really adventurous boy when he was youthful, however then later he turned involved in cash. It at all times struck [me] as odd. Cash doesn’t normally curiosity little boys, nevertheless it did Mike.”

2. Mick Jagger was at all times Mick Jagger. In 1959, he appeared on ATV’s Seeing Sport, in a sequence on climbing for younger folks, filmed in Tunbridge Wells, The presenter, John Disley, holds Jagger’s (“Michael’s”) foot as much as present his footwear. The younger Jagger appears up at him with full disdain.

3. The Stones’ origin story is peerless. Keith Richards encountering his childhood good friend Jagger at Dartford Station in 1961, the latter carrying copies of The Better of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry’s Rockin’ on the Hops, and the pair falling in collectively once more immediately.

4. Jagger invented the thought of a frontman. Not a solo singer. Not a band member. A frontman. Everybody since has been imitating him, a method or one other.

5. He – and the Stones – have been British rock’s first genuine ethical menace.

6. Take a look at clips of the Stones from 1964. Jagger had the best hair on the earth.

1964’s best hair … The Rolling Stones, l-r: Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Invoice Wyman and Brian Jones. {Photograph}: Alamy/Koko/Reuters

7. Liam Gallagher isn’t match to put on a parka within the presence of the wonderful David Bailey shot of Jagger hugging his fur-lined hood to his face in 1964.

8. Look, too, on the clip of the Stones doing Little Crimson Rooster on Prepared Regular Go! that yr. See how Jagger stares the digicam down, defying anybody to query him.

9. Alternatively, take a look at his twitching-leg dance to their model of Chuck Berry’s Round and Round. You wouldn’t imagine a person jerking his leg may very well be so sexual.

10. “You do are likely to current a yobbish picture.” One interviewer recommended this to him because the Stones have been breaking by means of. “Moronic, I believe, is a greater phrase,” he replied, deliciously.

11. For the sheer unbridled pleasure and aggression of early Stones, take heed to She Stated Yeah: Jagger’s howling, yowling vocal backed by a band who sound like a rampaging military.

12. “Once I’m watchin’ my TV / And a person comes on and tells me / How white my shirts could be / However, he can’t be a person ’trigger he doesn’t smoke / The identical cigarettes as me.” Wonderful writing, given (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was solely the Stones’ second self-penned single.

13. To not defend songs reminiscent of Silly Woman or Beneath My Thumb, however maybe by saying the quiet half about rock – its misogyny – out loud, Jagger at the very least provoked a method of critically inspecting lyrics that continues to today.

14. “I wanna see the solar blotted out from the sky.” Suppose the Stooges and the Velvets introduced nihilism to music? Hearken to Paint It, Black.

15. Nice rock stars mission self-importance. And also you don’t get extra magnificently useless than Jagger singing “Inform me a narrative about how you like me,” on Have You Seen Your Mom, Child, Standing within the Shadow?

16. His clean and affectless vocal – particularly within the falsetto – on We Love You, which makes it sound as if he would gladly substitute the phrase “hate” as a substitute, is a marvel.

17. The makeup and headwear combo – “Guys, it’s 1967, we’ve received to look FAR OUT!” – in a clip from 2000 Mild Years from House.

18. No different rock singer has ever been the topic of a chief column within the Occasions, decrying Jagger’s jail sentence for possession of medication. The column – written by the paper’s editor, William Rees-Mogg (father of Jacob), in 1967 – was headlined: Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?

19. Having been requested to alter the lyric of Let’s Spend the Evening Collectively for the Stones’ look on the Ed Sullivan present, Jagger confirmed his disdain by comically rolling his eyes when he got here to the refrain.

Jagger during a TV appearance.
Jagger throughout a TV look. {Photograph}: Ray Inexperienced/Hulton Getty

20. Per week later, the band made their debut on Sunday Evening on the London Palladium. Jagger – even when threatened with being thrown off the present – insisted the Stones be the primary act ever to not seem with the remainder of the forged on a revolving podium on the finale.

21. Being the solely man in recorded historical past to look nice in a bandana within the Baby of the Moon video from 1968 (it’s additionally a really underrated Stones music).

22. “I used to be born in a crossfire hurricane / And I howled on the morning drivin’ rain.” Jagger doesn’t get sufficient credit score for writing so most of the lyrics that outline rock’s perspective.

23. Bands being meta about themselves is at all times a deal with. The Stones have been in on the trick early on Jigsaw Puzzle: “And the guitar gamers look broken / They’ve been outcasts all their lives.”

24. Was Jagger the primary rock star whose songs made followers wish to learn particular books? Sympathy for the Satan launched a technology to one of many twentieth century’s nice novels, The Grasp and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.

25. Jagger is the one middle-class Englishman from Kent who may sing “I met a gin-soaked bar-room queen in Memphis / She tried to take me upstairs for a journey” with out it sounding like cosplay.

26. There’s no higher nickname than the one shared by Jagger and Richards: the Glimmer Twins, a reputation they adopted after the pair – with Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg – went on a cruise on the finish of 1968, and an older couple stored demanding to know who they have been. “Simply give us a glimmer,” the spouse stated.

Performing live.
Performing stay. {Photograph}: RB/Redferns

27. Jagger will get mocked as rock’s greediest man. The truth is, he was the primary man to insist musicians be paid what they have been value. Again in 1969, earlier than the Hyde Park live performance, he was outlining the realities of touring: “You play the ABC Wigan. It holds 2,000 folks. Do two homes, 4,000 folks. They pay a median of 10 shillings, which is £2,000. Of which £1,000 goes to the supervisor of the theatre or the promoter … £1,000 which is left goes to the publicity, the teams who’re supporting the invoice, you find yourself with 300 and one thing kilos. It prices £150 to get there. Divide it by 5, it leaves you with … I imply, actually.”

28. Every part about You Can’t At all times Get What You Need is ideal. The lyric, the music – and the second Jagger is available in, wearily: “I noticed her right this moment on the reception …”

29. Everyone knows Gimme Shelter is likely one of the best rock songs ever (think about the daring of writing a refrain that opens “Rape! Homicide!”), however you possibly can hear Jagger’s enthusiasm in it, too – his “Woo!” within the background beneath Merry Clayton is a delight.

30. At the same time as he piled into American idioms, Jagger insisted on his Englishness. “I received nasty habits,” opened Stay With Me. “I take tea at three.”

31. From a 1969 US press convention: “You sang you couldn’t get no satisfaction. Are you extra glad than whenever you final came visiting right here?” “Do you imply financially, sexually or philosophically?” “Financially and philosophically glad …” “Financially glad, sexually glad, philosophically making an attempt.”

32. If you wish to see Jagger’s vulnerability – not a trait he’s extensively related to – watch the documentary Gimme Shelter, and see his response as he realises the Stones’ present at Altamont is spiralling uncontrolled.

Mick Jagger in Ned Kelly, 1970.
Mick Jagger in Ned Kelly, 1970. {Photograph}: Masheter Film Archive/Alamy

33. You possibly can’t fault Jagger’s honesty. After showing in Tony Richardson’s movie Ned Kelly, within the title function, he pronounced: “That was a load of shit. I solely made it as a result of I had nothing else to do.”

34. Turner, in Nicolas Roeg’s Efficiency, stays the very best movie function written for a rock star, and Jagger offers the finest movie efficiency ever by a rock star. By a mile.

35. “I believe I bust a button on my trousers, hope they don’t fall down … You don’t need my trousers to fall down, do you?” As between-songs banter on stay albums goes, this gem – from Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out – beats, “Hiya London!” arms down.

36. Additionally: “Charlie’s good tonight, innee?”

37. He’s not a soul singer, a rustic singer or a blues singer, however Jagger managed all three in a heartrending efficiency on Wild Horses.

38. A lot of what the Stones did between 1968 and 1972 is ideal, and one may simply as properly listing all of the tracks from that period (besides Stray Cat Blues) and be executed with it. However we’ve got to select and select, so go and take heed to Moonlight Mile, the place his imperfection is ideal.

39. On France, whereas the Stones have been recording Exile on Major Road: “France is all proper. So long as you may get out. There’s fuck-all stay music right here, there’s Jacques Brel and digital music. Even the accordion gamers are lifeless.”

40. “The sunshine bores the daylights out of me.” What a line, from Rocks Off.

41. Sticking with Exile on Major Road, two examples of Jagger’s singing. First, the wracked desperation of Let it Unfastened. The phrases don’t matter, the sensation does.

42. Second, the proper phrasing of Tumbling Cube, which supplies the band’s lazy swing its sense of momentum and propulsion.

Promoting the Sticky Fingers album in 1971.
Selling the Sticky Fingers album in 1971. {Photograph}: Michael Ochs Archives

43. The Stones’ 1972 tour of the US was legendarily decadent – they refused to launch Robert Frank’s movie documenting it, Cocksucker Blues – a lot in order that even the US TV host Dick Cavett was moved to ask Jagger what the plates of tablets backstage have been. “Nutritional vitamins A, B, C and salt,” he replied.

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44. Once you learn Jagger sings backing vocals on Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, you can’t unhear them. Because even doing backing vocals, low in the mix, he is unignorable.

45. Goat’s Head Soup is the most underrated Stones album. Jagger’s performances on the ballads – Angie and Winter – are unimpeachable. He has never lacked commitment.

46. It’s Charlie Watts getting swamped in bubbles we all remember, but look how much fun Jagger is having in the video for It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It).

Mick Jagger performing in 1973.
Mick Jagger performing in 1973. Photograph: Fin Costello/FC

47. Jagger’s 70s stage outfits are a law unto themselves. Borat’s mankini was surely inspired by some of the singlet-based items sported by Jagger.

48. Spending the last 45 years not being Keith Richards. People may view Keith as the spirit of the Stones, but for the vast majority of their career they simply would not have existed without Jagger’s drive and determination. Would you trust Richards to run a business?

49. If there had been a film about a spoof Rolling Stones, would John Lennon have appeared in it mocking himself? Jagger made a memorable appearance in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash: “We were the south’s answer to the Rutles at that time.”

50. Eighty seconds into Miss You, where Jagger – on a vocal performance that is essence of Jagger – gets a call from a friend who intends to come round at 12 with “some Puerto Rican girls that’s just dyyyyyyyyyyyyying to meetchu”.

51. Mick Jagger does not give a fuck what you think. When it was put to him that the 1978 album Some Girls was replete with both sexism and racism, he replied: “The next one’s gonna be more sexist and more racist and it’s gonna be a whole bunch better.”

52. And the other side – that same year Jagger put his money where his mouth was regarding his love of reggae, and signed Peter Tosh to Rolling Stone Records, duetting with him on (You Gotta Walk) Don’t Look Back.

53. One of the great things about the Stones’ versions of American music was the hint of sarcasm that Jagger’s voice brought to his own lyrics – try the almost parodically brilliant writing and delivery of Far Away Eyes: “I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield / Listening to gospel music on the coloured radio station / And the preacher said, ‘You know, you always have the Lord by your side’ / And I was so pleased to be informed of this / That I ran 20 red lights in his honour / Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord.”

54. Interviewer to Jagger, during the US tour in support of Some Girls: “Do you have any regrets?” “No, except when I was 13 I couldn’t get any girls. But that problem’s over now.”

55. It’s easy to think of Jagger as a gimlet-eyed money man, rather than a music lover. But there’s footage of the band rehearsing Respectable in 1978, where Jagger just appears full of joy at the very fact of being in the band.

Performing in 1983.
Performing in 1983. Photograph: Denis O’Regan/PA

56. His falsetto on Emotional Rescue.

57. The first 15 seconds of the video for Start Me Up, where Jagger appears only to realise he is in fact Mick Jagger as the guitar chords kick in, and comes to life like a battery-operated toy.

58. And, also from Tattoo You, the video for Waiting on a Friend – probably the last time Jagger and Richards bothered trying to convince the world they still liked each other. It’s remarkably touching.

59. Inventing the modern concept of stadium rock – a big production, a show rather than a concert – with the Still Life tour in 1981.

60. So the Clash sang fearlessly about political violence in Latin America, did they? Try Jagger’s twice-as-tough lyric on Undercover (of the Night), coincidentally the last genuinely great Stones single.

61. Also from the Undercover album, the magnificent video nasties rap on Too Much Blood: “I get scared there’s a bloke running around with a fuckin’ chain saw. Oh! Oh! Oh! No, he’s gonna cut off me … Don’t saw off me leg! Don’t saw off me arm!” Great video, too.

62. Getting punched in the face by Charlie Watts in Amsterdam in 1984, for referring to him as “my drummer” – a punch so well-timed that one account suggests Jagger landed on a smoked salmon platter and nearly slid out of the hotel window into a canal.

63. It’s 1985. The Smiths are the hottest young band in Britain and Meat Is Murder has just come out. What does Jagger think? “I’m not sure I wanna hear a whole album about meat.”

64. Mick Jagger can sell anything. Just watch the video for Dancing in the Street, in which his total commitment to Being Mick Jagger forces Bowie to try to look interested in an awful record.

65. It’s a terrible song, but the video for 1986’s One Hit (To the Body) allowed Jagger and Richards to publicly act out their mutual antipathy, a daring thing for a band who were still notionally a functional unit.

66. The best Jagger solo album is 1993’s Wandering Spirit. The single Sweet Thing was surprisingly dirty funk, with Jagger’s vocal going to places he rarely dared any longer with the Stones.

67. Keith Richards isn’t the world’s hardest impersonation, but it doesn’t stop it being funny seeing Jagger send up his bandmate’s incomprehensible drawl on Saturday Night Live in 1993.

68. There aren’t many repeat listeners to 1994’s Voodoo Lounge, which is perhaps why so few people noticed Jagger perhaps telling the truth about himself on Out of Tears: “And I just can’t pour my heart out to another living thing / I’m a whisper, I’m a shadow, and I’m standing up to sing.”

69. Rock music’s definitive word is “baby”. No one has ever wrung more out of those two syllables than Jagger, from the percussive, commanding “bay!bee!” of Let’s Spend the Night Together to the drawn-out slurred “byyyeebuuuuy” of Anybody Seen My Baby?

70. Jagger has never shied from drag, even as the years crept on. There’s an incredible 1996 photo of him and former partner Jerry Hall dressing in a gender reversal. No one this priapic has ever seemed so at home with femininity.

Performing at the Super Bowl in 2006.
Performing at the Super Bowl in 2006. Photograph: Shaun Best/Reuters

71. It was in the work, too – in 1997, Jagger played the transvestite Greta in the film adaptation of Martin Sherman’s play Bent. This was not a role you might expect a pillar of the establishment to take. He has never been an artistic coward.

72. Also in 1997, Jagger pioneered live-streaming of cricket, buying the rights to the Sharjah Trophy tournament, in part – so he said – so he could watch it himself on the internet.

73. Jagger could give anyone lessons in perseverance. Back in 2001, after his solo album Goddess in the Doorway chalked up first-day sales of 954 (it “trailed Des O’Connor in the charts”, noted the Independent), there were suggestions he should pack in the music: “It is hard to see how, at this late stage, he can ever sing or prance his way out of that one,” the Observer said. Who’s laughing now?

74. Is any other major star so completely unconcerned with what the rest of the celebritysphere thinks of them? In the Being Mick documentary, he mocks Kate Winslet, reading out a statement in a prissy voice: “Ay em very sorry not to be there to celebrate the premiere of Enigma.” Winslet was the star, and Jagger was the producer. Bridges to Babylon? More like burning Bridges to Babylon.

75. Jagger’s a singer and a musician, not just a performer, and it’s startling to see him playing without performing – a wonderful clip from a 2003 soundcheck sees him playing Worried About You to an empty stadium, not having to show off.

76. You couldn’t exactly say Jagger had aged gracefully, but he has aged knowingly. “Once upon a time I was your little rooster,” he sang on Rough Justice, the opening track from 2005’s A Bigger Bang. “Now am I just one of your cocks?”

77. No one with an ego has ever displayed greater forbearance than Jagger in the wake of Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, complete with digs at the singer’s “tiny todger”.

Performing live in Stockholm, 2022.
Performing live in Stockholm, 2022. Photograph: Ali Lorestani/TT/Rex/Shutterstock

78. If you think Jagger is a self-parody, he’s one step ahead of you. Watch his 2012 Saturday Night Live appearance, where he’s deciding what moves to make as guest host. (John Mulaney is very funny on the experience of writing for Jagger on SNL.)

79. Jagger calls the harmonica “my favourite instrument”. Listen to his fantastic playing of it across 2016’s Blue & Lonesome, especially I Gotta Go. An exciting harmonica solo!

80. Of course the single greatest moment in Jagger’s performing career came in June 2019 at Twickenham stadium, when he asked: “Anyone ’ere from Slough?” Reader, as a Sloughvian, I cheered.

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