Born Michael Phillip Jagger on July 26, 1943, in Dartford, England, Mick Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, has become a rock legend, delighting fans for more than four decades. Leaving the London School of Economics to start a band with Keith Richards, Jagger took the Rolling Stones to the top of the music world with major hits like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Angie" and "Miss You," propelling the band and himself to a status unknown by most performers.
Early Life and Musical Influences
Singer, songwriter, actor and producer Michael Phillip Jagger was born on July 26, 1943, in Dartford, England. As the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger has become a rock legend known for his gritty, blues-influenced songs and charismatic stage presence. He has delighted a legion of fans for more than four decades.
The oldest son of a teacher and a homemaker, Jagger was a good student and popular among his classmates. He developed an interest in American blues and R&B music at an early age and got his first guitar at 14. As a teenager, Jagger started collecting blues records from the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. He and his friend Dick Taylor soon started a band together called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys with Jagger as its singer.
In 1960, Jagger was accepted to the London School of Economics. He lived at home and commuted into the city to attend classes. Also working on his band, Jagger soon added a new member, guitarist Keith Richards. The two had known each other growing up in Dartford. Exploring London's emerging blues scene together, Jagger and Richards spent some time at the Ealing Club. There they saw Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated play and were wowed by guitarist Brian Jones, who made guest appearances with the group. After a while, Jagger also appeared as a guest vocalist with Blues Incorporated.
Forming the Rolling Stones
Jagger, Richards and Taylor soon joined up with Jones, who wanted to start his own group. Pianist Ian Stewart was also an early member of what would become the Rolling Stones. By 1963, Charlie Watts had joined the band as its drummer and Taylor departed, replaced by Bill Wyman. Stewart, however, stayed on to serve as road manager, as well as playing and recording with the band. Under the direction of their manager Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones were marketed as a group of wild and rough rockers. The group's wild style helped them land a deal with Decca Records. Jagger was a key ingredient in the band's growing success, attracting audiences with his stage antics and sex appeal.
At first, the group mostly recorded cover versions of other people's songs, but Richards and Jagger, along with their bandmates, soon emerged as a powerful songwriting team—occasionally using the pseudonym "Nanker Phelge" for some of their early work. The Stones first made the British charts in 1964 with a cover version of Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now." That same year, the band released their debut album and toured the United States, having their first American hit with "That Girl Belongs to Yesterday." More hits soon followed, including the chart-topping "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Paint It Black" along with albums like Out of Our Heads (1965) and Aftermath (1966).
In 1967, Jagger's personal life made headlines. He and his girlfriend, singer Marianne Faithfull, were among those arrested during a police raid of Richards's country home in England. During their search, police officers found drug paraphernalia and illegal substances. Both Jagger and Richards were tried and convicted for drug-related offenses, but their sentences were dropped on appeal. Two years later, Jagger and Faithfull were arrested for drug possession after authorities raided Jagger's London home.
By the end of the decade, Jagger and the rest of the band were enjoying huge success. Beggars Banquet was released in 1968 and featured a straightforward rock style. One of its singles, "Jumpin' Jack Flash," hit the No. 1 spot on the U.K. charts and reached the top 5 in the U.S.
In 1969, the Stones went through several big changes. Jones left the group that June after his many drug arrests prevented him from leaving the country for a U.S. tour. He was replaced by 20-year-old guitarist Mick Taylor. Jones was found drowned in his pool less than a month later. The coroner's report found that Jones was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of his death, and ruled his passing as "death by misadventure." In response to Jones's untimely demise, the Stones performed a free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969, two days after their former bandmate's death. Originally scheduled as an opportunity to present their new guitarist, the group dedicated the concert to Jones.
Before the concert began, Jagger read excepts from Percy Shelley's "Adonais," a poem about the death of a friend. Stagehands released hundreds of white butterflies as part of the tribute, and the Stones played one of Jones's favorite songs: "I'm Yours And I'm Hers."
Tragedy struck again several months later when the band launched their highly anticipated Let It Bleed (1969) album. To promote the record, the Stones organized a free concert at Altamont Speedway in northern California for that December. While the band was playing "Under My Thumb," a young man in the audience was stabbed and killed by a member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang. The tragic event was captured on film and featured in the documentary Gimme Shelter.
More Hit Albums and Branching Out
Outside of the band, Jagger was branching out in acting. He played the title character, a legendary outlaw, in the film Ned Kelly (1970), and for In Performance (1970) Jagger played a reclusive rock star. Neither film made much of an impression on movie audiences.
While screen success escaped him, Jagger remained a popular rock star. The Stones had several hit albums in the 1970s and early '80s, including Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main St. (1972), Some Girls (1978), Emotional Rescue (1980) and Tattoo You (1981). But by the mid-1980s, the relationship between Jagger and Richards had become increasingly strained. Jagger focused much of his energy on a solo career with mixed results. While his first effort, 1985's She's the Boss, sold well enough to go platinum, his second album Primitive Cool (1987) failed to interest music buyers.
In 1989, the Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jagger and Richards decided to work together again around this time, resulting in Steel Wheels (1989), which reached the No. 3 spot on the U.S. album charts. To promote the record, the band toured extensively.
Jagger tried his hand at another solo record, 1993's Wandering Spirit, which was met with lukewarm enthusiasm. The following year, he fared much better with the Stones's next effort, Voodoo Lounge (1994). The record received strong marks from critics, winning a Grammy for best rock album.
In between recording Bridges to Babylon (1997) and A Bigger Bang (2005) with his band, Jagger again aspired to establish himself as a solo artist with 2001's Goddess in the Doorway. He also developed a career for himself as a film producer, working on such projects as The Women (2008) and the forthcoming animated work Ruby Tuesday. Once viewed as a rebellious rocker, Jagger was the picture of decorum when he received a knighthood from Elizabeth II in 2003.
Historic Concert in Havana
The Stones made history on March 25, 2016, when they played a free concert to 500,000 people in Havana, Cuba, where their music previously had been banned by the country’s Communist regime for being subversive. The concert followed a historic visit from U.S. President Barack Obama just days prior, which was part of an effort to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba.
"We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too," the band said in a statement.
The show at Havana’s Ciudad Deportivo sports arena was the band’s first concert in Cuba and part of its 2016 South American tour.
Jagger is a father of seven children. He has a daughter named Karis Hunt Jagger, born November 4, 1970, with actress Marsha Hunt. Around this time, Jagger became involved with Bianca Perez Moreno de Macias. The couple was married from 1971 to 1980 and welcomed daughter Jade Sheena Jezebel on October 21, 1971.
In 1990, Jagger wed longtime girlfriend, model Jerry Hall. They had four children together: sons James Leroy Augustin (born August 28, 1985) and Gabriel Luke Beauregard (born December 13, 1997) and daughters Elizabeth Scarlett (born March 2, 1984) and Georgia May Ayeesha (born January 12, 1992). Their relationship ended in 1999 after Hall discovered that Jagger had an affair with model Luciana Gimenez Morad. After an initial dispute about paternity, Jagger was established to be the father of Morad's son, Lucas Maurice Morad, who was born on May 18, 1999.
Jagger also was romantically linked to designer L'Wren Scott, who launched a fashion brand in 2006. In March 2014, it was reported that Scott had been found dead at the age of 49 from an apparent suicide. According to reports, Scott hanged herself. At the time of her death, Jagger was on tour in Australia with his bandmates.
In July 2016, news broke that Jagger was going to be a father again at the age of 72. He and his 29-year-old ballerina girlfriend Melanie Hamrick welcomed a son on December 8, 2016. The couple began dating in 2014.
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