Photo: Georges Biard / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Born: July 26, 1943
Age: 76 years
Born Place: Dartford, United Kingdom
Education: London School of Economics
- film producer
Spouse: Bianca Pérez-Mora Macias (m. 1971; div. 1978)
Sir Michael Philip Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is an English singer, songwriter, actor, and film producer who gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones. Jagger’s career has spanned over five decades, and he has been described as “one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll”. His distinctive voice and energetic live performances, along with Keith Richards’ guitar style, have been the trademark of the Rolling Stones throughout the band’s career. Jagger gained press notoriety for his romantic involvements, and was often portrayed as a countercultural figure.
Jagger was born and grew up in Dartford, Kent. He studied at the London School of Economics before abandoning his academic career to join the Rolling Stones. Jagger has written most of the Rolling Stones’ songs together with Richards, and they continue to collaborate musically. In the late 1960s, Jagger began acting in films (starting with Performance and Ned Kelly), to a mixed reception. He began a solo career in 1985, releasing his first album, She’s the Boss, and joined the electric supergroup SuperHeavy in 2009. Relationships with the Stones’ members, particularly Richards, deteriorated during the 1980s, but Jagger has always found more success with the band than with his solo and side projects.
In 1989, Jagger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2004 into the UK Music Hall of Fame with the Rolling Stones. As a member of the Stones, and as a solo artist, he reached number one on the UK and US singles charts with 13 singles, the Top 10 with 32 singles and the Top 40 with 70 singles. In 2003, he was knighted for his services to popular music.
Jagger has been married (and divorced) once, and has also had several other relationships. Jagger has eight children with five women. He also has five grandchildren and became a great-grandfather on 19 May 2014, when his granddaughter Assisi gave birth to daughter Ezra Key. Jagger’s net worth has been estimated at $360 million.
Michael Philip Jagger was born into a middle-class family in Dartford, Kent on 26 July 1943. His father, Basil Fanshawe “Joe” Jagger (13 April 1913 – 11 November 2006), and grandfather David Ernest Jagger were both teachers. His mother, Eva Ensley Mary (née Scutts; 6 April 1913 – 18 May 2000), born in Sydney, Australia, of English descent, was a hairdresser and an active member of the Conservative Party. Jagger’s younger brother, Chris (born 19 December 1947), is also a musician. The two have performed together.
Although brought up to follow his father’s career path, Jagger “was always a singer” as he stated in According to the Rolling Stones. “I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some kids sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio–the BBC or Radio Luxembourg–or watching them on TV and in the movies.”
In September 1950, Keith Richards and Jagger were classmates at Wentworth Primary School, Dartford prior to the Jagger family’s 1954 move to Wilmington, Kent. The same year he passed the eleven-plus and went to Dartford Grammar School, which now has the Mick Jagger Centre, named after its most famous alumnus, installed within the school’s site. Jagger and Richards lost contact with each other when they went to different schools, but after a chance encounter on platform two at Dartford railway station in July 1960, resumed their friendship and discovered their shared love of rhythm and blues, which for Jagger had begun with Little Richard.
Jagger left school in 1961 after passing seven O-levels and two A-levels. With Richards, he moved into a flat in Edith Grove, Chelsea, London, with guitarist Brian Jones. While Richards and Jones planned to start their own rhythm and blues group, Blues Incorporated, Jagger continued to study business on a government grant as an undergraduate student at the London School of Economics, and had seriously considered becoming either a journalist or a politician, comparing the latter to a pop star.
Brian Jones, using the name Elmo Lewis, began working at the Ealing Club — where a “loosely knit version” of Blues Incorporated began with Richards. Jagger began to jam with the group, eventually becoming featured singer. Soon, Richards, Jones, and Jagger began to practise on their own, laying the foundation for what would become The Rolling Stones.
Jagger has been married (and divorced) once and has also had several other relationships.
From 1966 to 1970, Jagger had a relationship with Marianne Faithfull, the English singer-songwriter/actress with whom he wrote “Sister Morphine,” a song on the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album Sticky Fingers. He pursued a relationship with Marsha Hunt from 1969 to 1970. Jagger met the American singer and, though Hunt was married, the pair began a relationship in 1969. The relationship ended in June 1970, when Hunt was pregnant with Jagger’s first child, Karis. She is the inspiration for the song “Brown Sugar,” also from Sticky Fingers.
In 1970, he met Nicaraguan-born Bianca Pérez-Mora Macias. They married on 12 May 1971 in a Catholic ceremony in Saint-Tropez, France, and had one child, Jade. They separated in 1977, and in May 1978 she filed for divorce on the grounds of his adultery. During his marriage to Pérez-Mora Macias, Jagger had an affair with then-Playboy model Bebe Buell from 1974 to 1976.
In late 1977, Jagger began dating American model Jerry Hall; they moved in together and had a total of four children. They attended an unofficial private marriage ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, on 21 November 1990, and lived at Downe House in Richmond, London. During his relationship with Hall, Jagger had an affair with Italian singer/model Carla Bruni, from 1991 to 1994. She went on to become the First Lady of France when she married then-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. Jagger’s relationship with Hall ended after it was discovered that he had had an affair with Brazilian model Luciana Gimenez Morad, Jagger’s unofficial marriage to Hall was declared invalid, unlawful, and null and void by the High Court of England and Wales in London in 1999. Jagger’s subsequent relationship was 2000 to 2001 with the English model Sophie Dahl.
Jagger had a relationship with fashion designer L’Wren Scott from 2001 until her suicide in 2014. She left her entire estate, estimated at US$9 million, to him. Jagger set up the L’Wren Scott scholarship at London’s Central Saint Martins College.
Since Scott died in 2014, Jagger has been in a relationship with American ballet dancer Melanie Hamrick. Jagger was 73 when Hamrick gave birth to their son in 2016.
Jagger has eight children with five women. He also has five grandchildren, and became a great-grandfather on 19 May 2014, when Jade’s daughter Assisi gave birth to a daughter.
On 4 November 1970, Marsha Hunt gave birth to Jagger’s first child, Karis Hunt Jagger. Bianca Jagger gave birth to Jagger’s second child, Jade Sheena Jezebel Jagger, on 21 October 1971.
Jagger had four children with Jerry Hall: Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Scarlett Jagger (born 2 March 1984), James Leroy Augustin Jagger (born 28 August 1985), Georgia May Ayeesha Jagger (born 12 January 1992), and Gabriel Luke Beauregard Jagger (born 9 December 1997).
Luciana Gimenez Morad gave birth to Jagger’s seventh child, Lucas Maurice Morad Jagger, on 18 May 1999. Melanie Hamrick gave birth to Jagger’s eighth child, Deveraux Octavian Basil Jagger, on 8 December 2016.
Jagger’s father, Basil “Joe” Jagger, died of pneumonia on 11 November 2006 at age 93. Although the Rolling Stones were on the A Bigger Bang tour, Jagger flew to Britain to see his father before returning the same day to Las Vegas, where he was to perform that night, after being informed his father’s condition was improving. The show went ahead as scheduled, despite Jagger learning of his father’s passing that afternoon. Jagger’s friends said that the show going on was “what Joe would have wanted”. Jagger called his father the “greatest influence” in his life.
Jagger was honoured with a knighthood for services to popular music in the Queen’s 2002 Birthday Honours, and on 12 December 2003 he received the accolade from The Prince of Wales. Jagger’s father and daughters Karis and Elizabeth were in attendance. Jagger stated that while the award did not have significant meaning for him, he was “touched” by the significance that it held for his father, saying that his father “was very proud”.
Jagger’s knighthood received mixed reactions. Some fans were disappointed when he accepted the honour as it seemed to contradict his anti-establishment stance. A report in UPI in December 2003 noted, Jagger has no “known record of charitable work or public services” although he is a patron of the British Museum. Jagger was on record as saying “apart from the Rolling Stones, the Queen is the best thing Britain has got,” but was absent from the Queen’s Golden Jubilee pop concert at Buckingham Palace marking her 50 years on the throne. Charlie Watts was quoted in the book According to the Rolling Stones as saying, “Anybody else would be lynched: 18 wives and 20 children and he’s knighted, fantastic!”
Jagger’s knighthood also caused some friction with bandmate Keith Richards, who was irritated when Jagger accepted the “paltry honour”. Richards said that he did not want to take the stage with someone wearing a “coronet and sporting the old ermine. It’s not what the Stones is about, is it?” Jagger retorted: “I think he would probably like to get the same honour himself. It’s like being given an ice cream—one gets one and they all want one.”
In 2014, the Jaggermeryx naida (“Jagger’s water nymph”), a 19-million-year-old species of ‘long-legged pig’, was named after Jagger. Jaw fragments of the long-extinct anthracotheres were discovered in Egypt. The trilobite species Aegrotocatellus jaggeri was also named after Jagger.
In the words of British dramatist and novelist Philip Norman, “the only point concerning Mick Jagger’s influence over ‘young people’ that doctors and psychologists agreed on was that it wasn’t, under any circumstances, fundamentally harmless.” According to Norman, even Elvis Presley at his most scandalous had not exerted a “power so wholly and disturbingly physical”: “Presley”, he wrote in 1984, “while he made girls scream, did not have Jagger’s ability to make men feel uncomfortable.” Norman likens Jagger in his early performances with the Rolling Stones in the 1960s to a male ballet dancer, with “his conflicting and colliding sexuality: the swan’s neck and smeared harlot eyes allied to an overstuffed and straining codpiece”.
His performance style has been studied by academics who analysed gender, image and sexuality. Sheila Whiteley noted that Jagger’s performance style “opened up definitions of gendered masculinity and so laid the foundations for self-invention and sexual plasticity which are now an integral part of contemporary youth culture”. His stage personas also contributed significantly to the British tradition of popular music that always featured the character song and where the art of singing becomes a matter of acting—which creates a question about the singer’s relationship to his own words. His voice has been described as a powerful expressive tool for communicating feelings to his audience, and expressing an alternative vision of society. To express “virility and unrestrained passion” he developed techniques previously used by African American preachers and gospel singers such as “the roar, the guttural belt style of singing, and the buzz, a more nasal and raspy sound”. Steven Van Zandt wrote: “The acceptance of Jagger’s voice on pop radio was a turning point in rock & roll. He broke open the door for everyone else. Suddenly, Eric Burdon and Van Morrison weren’t so weird – even Bob Dylan.”
Jagger has been described as “one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll” by AllMusic and MSN, with Billboard sharing a similar sentiment calling him “the rock and roll frontman”. Musician David Bowie joined many rock bands with blues, folk and soul orientations in his first attempts as a musician in the mid-1960s, and he was to recall: “I used to dream of being their Mick Jagger”. Bowie would also offer that “I think Mick Jagger would be astounded and amazed if he realized that to many people he is not a sex symbol, but a mother image.” Jagger appeared on Rolling Stone’s List of 100 Greatest Singers at number 16; in the article, Lenny Kravitz wrote: “I sometimes talk to people who sing perfectly in a technical sense who don’t understand Mick Jagger. His sense of pitch and melody is really sophisticated. His vocals are stunning, flawless in their own kind of perfection.” This edition also cites Jagger as a key influence on Jack White, Steven Tyler and Iggy Pop.
More recently, his cultural legacy is associated with his ageing and continued vitality. Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi said: “We continue to make Number One records and fill stadiums. But will we still be doing 150 shows per tour? I just can’t see it. I don’t know how the hell Mick Jagger does it at 67. That would be the first question I’d ask him. He runs around the stage as much as I do yet he’s got almost 20 years on me.” Since his early career Jagger has embodied what some authors describe as a “Dionysian archetype” of “eternal youth” personified by many rock stars and the rock culture.
Jagger has repeatedly said that he will not write an autobiography. However, according to journalist John Blake, coauthor of the book Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, in the early 1980s, after a slew of unauthorised biographies, Jagger was persuaded by Lord Weidenfeld to prepare his own, for a £1 million advance. The resulting 75,000-word manuscript is now held by Blake, who, he says, was briefly on track to publish it, until Jagger withdrew support.
“Mick Jagger is the least egotistical person,” observed bandmate Charlie Watts in 2008. “He’ll do what’s right for the band. He’s not a big head – and, if he was, he went through it thirty years ago.”