Mick Jagger

Today is the 55th birthday of Michael Phillip Jagger -- or Mick -- lead

singer of the Rolling Stones. Jagger was born in Dartford, Kent, England,

and was raised in an upper-middle-class family. In

the fall of 1961, Jagger was at the Dartford train station, on his way to

classes at the London School of Economics, carrying some R&B

records he had acquired via mail order from Chicago; at the station, he ran

into Keith Richards (who had been learning to play guitar). Though they had

gone to elementary school together, the two had traveled in different

circles until then. Jagger's armful of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry

records piqued Richards' interest and the two formed a musical partnership

that lasts to this day.

Soon, guitarist Brian Jones had joined the two. Together, they founded the

Rollin' Stones (the "g" was added in 1963) and began playing gigs in July

1962. The band really started its rise in 1963, when drummer Charlie Watts

and bassist Bill Wyman rounded out the lineup. On June 7, 1963, the Rolling

Stones entered the pop-music world with their first single, a cover of

Berry's "Come On."

The Stones were initially successful in England but didn't fully capture an

American audience until the release of the single "Satisfaction" in June

1965. They quickly gained a huge following in the U.S., fueled by

performances on the "Ed Sullivan" television show.

The group's rebellious reputation was enhanced when Jagger, Jones and

Richards were arrested in 1967 on drug charges; Jagger was sentenced to

several months in prison (though the charges were eventually reduced).

Further darkening the group's image was Jones' mysterious death in 1969 in

his swimming pool, as well as a free concert that same year at San

Francisco's Altamont

Raceway, where an audience member was murdered (captured in the film "Gimme


Jagger, always in love with the spotlight, took full charge of the Stones

after Jones' death. Along with Richards, he had written the

band's songs for years. Jagger capitalized on his frontman status, talent and

business savvy to keep the success of the Stones rolling for an unparalleled

30-plus years.

In 1971, Jagger married socialite and model Bianca Perez Morena de Macias;

the two had daughter Jade

before they divorced near the end of the decade. His other children include

Karis Hunt (with actress Marsha Hunt, to whom Jagger paid a

paternity settlement in 1975); and Elizabeth Scarlett, James Leroy

Augustine, Georgia May and Gabriel Luke Beauregard -- all with model Jerry

Hall, whom he married in the early '90s.

In the mid-'80s, Jagger's relationship with Richards hit an all-time low and

the group's future was very much in doubt. This led to both artists trying

individual careers. Jagger has made several attempts at a

solo career, releasing three albums. The most recent was 1993's

Wandering Spirit, which included the minor hit "Sweet Thing," on

Atlantic Records.

Jagger and Richards eventually patched things up. The band still pulls in

its legions of fans -- the Stones' current tour was one of the top-grossing

acts in America

in 1997/98.

Jagger has always flirted with a movie career. He starred in the 1970 films

"Performance" and "Ned Kelly," and in 1992's "Freejack" and 1997's "Bent."

Jagger recently optioned the script for "Enigma," which he is co-producing

with "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels. Other projects that

Jagger may produce or star in include "The Map of Love," a film about Welsh

poet Dylan Thomas and his stormy relationship with his wife; "Tania," based

on Argentinean revolutionary Che Guevara's romantic relationship with an

East German operative; and "All the King's Horses," the story of a

disenchanted reporter whose life is saved by a reportedly dead CIA agent.

The Rolling Stones are currently touring Europe in support of their most

recent album,

Bridges To Babylon, which includes the hit


m">"Anybody Seen My Baby?" (RealAudio excerpt). Upcoming stops include

July 27 in

Gelsenkirchen, Germany,

July 29 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and July 31 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Richards recently told Playboy magazine the following about Jagger's

musical skills:

"He is brilliant. For example, he plays the mouth organ like no one else.

And that came to him naturally. Apart from one exception, he is the only

one in England who could do it that way. Well, it's a bit like singing. You

push air out of your mouth. Either through the organ or in words. But

joking apart, Jagger's got it. I keep telling him: Why don't you sing the

way you play the organ?! It would then sound, how should I put it, less


Other birthdays: Bobby Hebb, 57; Dobie Gray, 56; Roger Taylor (Queen), 49;

Gary Cherone (Extreme/Van Halen), 37; and Headliner, a.k.a. Tim Barnwell (Arrested

Development), 31.