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
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
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
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
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
Bridges To Babylon, which includes the hit
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Rolling_Stones,_The/Anybody_Seen_My_Baby.ra m">"Anybody Seen My Baby?"
m">"Anybody Seen My Baby?"(RealAudio excerpt). Upcoming stops include
July 27 in
July 29 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and July 31 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Richards recently told Playboy magazine the following about Jagger's
"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