Mick Jagger - Biography
Mick Jagger's legend as lead singer for the Rolling Stones, as well as the world's most notorious front man, is an inarguable fact. His place in the history of pop music already complete. During a particularly prickly patch in the Stones' career, which many speculate was brought on by Jagger's want to establish a separate persona from his famous group, he launched his solo career.
Starting with the debut She's The Boss (1985), Mick took all of his gesticultaions and attitudes and leather lunged directives with him, producing a commercially successful LP that gave the man an enormous singular presence in pop culture, the LP producing 3 top ten hits, including the US #1 smash "Just Another Night." The LP was accompanied bu a full length video film Running Out Of Luck, which finds Jagger drunk, beaten by drag queens, and left in the middle of Brazil to find his way back to civilization,. It is a truly inspired panorama of surreal, bizarre, garish reflections of the man's most camp, excessive, ridiculous poses. Long out of print, it is well worth seeking out for the committed Jagger fan. Both his performance at Live Aid (ripping off Tina Turner's leather skirt during a rousing duet on "It's Only Rock N Roll") and with David Bowie on their coked up cover of the Motown standard "Dancing In The Streets" upped his public profile so intensely, that a follow up to his debut was required.
Let's Work (1987) suffered from bad publicity at the outset, as Jagger had refused to tour for the Rolling Stones' Dirty Work (1986) LP in favor of working on this second solo record, invoking the ire of his long time writing partner Keith Richards. Even though the LP included many amazing musicians-most notably Jeff Beck on guitar, the LP failed to resonate with the public, not even charting in the Top 40. Lead single "Let's Work" was regarded as a well meaning Jagger throwaway, camp and loose and fun in many ways, but lacking the weight or full breasted bluster of his first solo outing. Much of the record is over produced, bloated, and full of modern day synth programming that tends to sound more like product than actual music. Jagger toured both Australia and Japan, promoting it only in places it was received best. He soon returned to the Stones camp, reconciling with Richards, going on to build the Stones brand as the single strongest commercial entity in pop music history. Their tours would become supreme money makers, securing the Stones once and for all as the biggest working rock band of all time.
1993 saw Jagger back at it, this time working with ace producer Rick Rubin, recording arguably his finest solo record. Wandering Spirit is a near flawless collection of all that makes Jagger appealing. From trashed out rockers ("Wired All Night," "Put Me In The Trash," "Don't Tear Me Up," "Mother Of A Man,") to disco ("Sweet Thing"), R&B covers (James Brown's "Think," Bill Withers' "Use Me,") to folk traditionals ("Handsome Molly"), faux gospel ("Out Of Focus") and strong ballads ("Hang On To Me Tonight," "Angel In My Heart"), the LP glides and glistens on the wings of Mick's larger than life persona. The record proved to be a commercial success, as well as an artistic one, showing that after nearly 30 years Jagger still had the goods to give it this good. The LP was also commercially sucessful- #12 on the Billboard charts, eventually reaching Gold record status by the RIAA.
It took another 8 years before Jagger found time away from his Stones activities to record another solo record. Goddess In The Doorway (2001) represents the man's many sides neatly, with the lead single "God Gave Me Everything I Want," co-written and produced with Lenny Kravitz, a most appropriate calling card, being one of the man's finest cock rock outings. The hook, the chorus, the verse, the bridge- every inch of the song exposing Jagger's best later day ideas. The rest of the record plays out accordingly, if not too excitedly- some dance tracks, a few ballads, some rockers- a bunch of special guests- from Aerosmith's Joe Perry to The Who's Pete Townshend. To coincide with the LP's release, Jagger filmed a television special called Being Mick, focusing on the making of the record, as well as the man's lifestyle, which includes hanging out at haughty parties and lunches with other rich bitch rock stars like Elton John and Bono, checking in with a throat doctor, traveling around the globe with his kids, etc. The special is worth viewing for all Jagger fans, as it gives you an entertaining portrait of a man in the midst of work, play, and more work, which includes his co- producing a film and watching cricket matches with his brother and father.
Jagger continues to tirelessly tour with the Stones, in addition to working on outside projects, like the band Superheavy he formed with David Stewart (Eurythmics), recording music for the remake of Alfie (2004), or being knighted by the Prince of Wales- which now makes him know as Sir Mick Jagger. A fitting title indeed.