A biography and cultural examination of the Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger's spectacular life and the cultural revolution he led.
As the Rolling Stones' legendary front man Mick Jagger remains an enigma. He hasn't given an in-depth interview for a decade and a half and never commented on his friend and partner, Keith Richard's often critical biography. Drawing on firsthand recollections from rockers, filmmakers, writers, radicals, and other artists who have been transformed by Mick Jagger's work, acclaimed music journalist Marc Spitz has created a unique examination of the Jagger legacy, debunking long held myths and restoring his status as a complicated artist. Combining biography with cultural history, Jagger unfolds like a captivating documentary, a series of episodes tracing the icon's rise from his childhood in middle-class postwar London to his status as a jet-setting knight.
A culturally astute, often funny, and painstakingly researched read, Jagger offers a far richer portrait than biographies published previously. The book reveals much about his relationships (with Marianne Faithfull and ex-wives Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall); his complex, creative partnership with Keith Richards; his friends like John Lennon and David Bowie; and enemies like Hells Angels leader Sonny Barger. Spitz goes even deeper, exploring Jagger's many roles: an authentic soul man; powerful social commentator; sexual liberator; would-be movie star; and yes, sometimes, a shrewd businessman with an enthusiasm for much younger women. The myth of Mick is examined and rebooted for the twenty-first century.
As Spitz (Bowie: A Biography) writes: "When we think of the Rolling Stones, we think of the heart and we think of the groin. We don't dwell on the brain." In this biography, Spitz shows how Jagger's shifting personas influenced public perception, while keeping the band culturally relevant. Spitz discusses the band's appearance on the T.A.M.I. Show (when they were forced to follow James Brown), Jagger's relationships with Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger, and Jerry Hall, and the tragic Altamont, but examines these moments from a cultural rather than a historical context, illustrating how these public spectacles affected his reputation and personality. The gifted and insightful Spitz wisely chooses to eschew a linear, year-by-year chronicle of minutiae, instead assuming deep reader familiarity with Jagger, the Stones, and the band's key albums. This shorthand enables him to cover tremendous ground, while re-examining Jagger as a musician and a person. However, Jagger doesn't emerge as a particularly sympathetic character. In a choice between Mick and Keith, most readers would still rather be Keith.