Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger

Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger

by Christopher Andersen


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#1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen tears the mask from rock’s most complex and enigmatic icon in a no-holds-barred biography as enticing as Jagger himself.

Is he Jumpin’ Jack Flash? A Street Fighting Man? A Man of Wealth and Taste? All this, it turns out, and far more. By any definition, Mick Jagger is a force of nature, a complete original—and undeniably one of the dominant cultural figures of our time. Swaggering, strutting, sometimes elusive, always spellbinding, he grabbed us by our collective throat a half-century ago and—unlike so many of his gifted peers—never let go. For decades, Mick has jealously guarded his many shocking secrets—until now. As the Rolling Stones mark their 50th anniversary, #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen tears the mask from rock’s most complex and enigmatic icon in a no-holds-barred biography as impossible to ignore as Jagger himself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451661453
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 03/05/2013
Pages: 364
Sales rank: 375,937
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Christopher Andersen is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen New York Times bestsellers, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages worldwide. A former contributing editor of Time magazine and longtime senior editor of People magazine, Andersen has also written hundreds of articles for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, Life, and Vanity Fair. Andersen has appeared frequently on such programs as the Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Entertainment Tonight, Dateline, CBS This Morning, Extra, Access Hollywood, The O’Reilly Factor, Fox & Friends, Hardball, Larry King Live, E!, Inside Edition, and more.

Read an Excerpt


  • ♦      ♦      ♦

    When Justin Timberlake chronicled his painful breakup with Britney Spears in 2002’s “Cry Me a River,” Lizzy Jagger showed the autobiographical video to her father. “You see the scene in the video?” she asked. “That actually happened, Dad.” Mick Jagger knew instinctively that the rules that applied to other stars did not necessarily apply to him. “If I wrote about what my life is really about, directly and on the money,” Mick said, “people would cringe.”

    No matter to the millions of fans who spanned the generations, and for whom the term “Jagger swagger” defines what it means to be truly hip and cutting edge—not just fifty years ago when Mick first stepped onto a stage with the Rolling Stones, but today. As the Stones approach their half-century milestone, such contemporary artists as Ke$ha, Kanye West, and the Black Eyed Peas pay musical homage to Jagger—none more memorably than Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera, who added their voices to the mounting crescendo of musical tributes with “Moves Like Jagger.” First performed on the hit NBC reality TV show The Voice in June 2011, “Moves Like Jagger” zoomed to number one. With the aid of a hit video featuring the lanky, tattooed Levine, a seductive Christina, and riveting archive footage of a fleet-footed Mick—the true star of the production—“Moves Like Jagger” dominated the musical landscape for the rest of the year.

    Is he Jumpin’ Jack Flash? A Street Fighting Man? The Midnight Rambler? A Man of Wealth and Taste? All this, it turns out, and far, far more. By any definition, Mick Jagger is an original, one of the dominant cultural figures of our time. Swaggering, strutting, sometimes sinister, always mesmerizing, he grabbed us by our collective throat a half century ago and—unlike so many of his gifted peers—never let go.

    Jagger is arguably the last of the rock titans, although even that description sells him short. Over the past half century—from the tumultuous sixties and hedonistic seventies to the booming eighties and no-holds-barred nineties to hardscrabble 2012—Mick seeped into the pores of the culture in a way few others have.

    To baby boomers and subsequent generations, Mick was a fun-house mirror reflection of every phase, fad, movement, and trend. Once the Beatles paved the way with their squeaky-clean brand of youthful rebellion, the Stones gloried in being dirty, scruffy, raunchy, and rude. Students took to the streets to protest the war in Vietnam, and Mick supplied them with rage-filled anthems.

    No group epitomized the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll ethos of the psychedelic era more than the Stones. And when the occult was added to the mix, Mick wrapped himself not in some mystic’s robes but in Lucifer’s crimson cloak.

    His macho street fighter image behind him, Mick became an avatar of androgynous chic, wearing mascara and lipstick and exploring his bisexual side. This, in turn, morphed seamlessly into the disco era, when Mick slipped his bony frame into white satin jumpsuits, bathed himself in glitter, and belted out dance hits between hits of cocaine.

    The “Just Say No” eighties of Ronald Reagan brought another shape-shift for Jagger. Now Mick was a family man, and staunchly antidrug. “Why,” he now claimed with a straight face, as if the previous thirty years hadn’t happened, “I never really did any of those things.”

    As it turned out, more than Mick’s lips were larger than life. Everything he did both on and off stage seemed to be bigger, faster, louder. As the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, he sang, pranced, strutted, vamped, and yes, swaggered, before more people than anyone in history. By 2010, of the ten highest-grossing concert tours of all time, the Rolling Stones occupied spots one, three, four, five, and nine.

    Then, of course, there were the records—an astounding 250 million albums sold—and the annual polls never failing to rank the Rolling Stones as the greatest rock-and-roll band of all time. Which, logically, made Mick the number one rock vocalist of all time.

    Offstage Mick did not disappoint, living the sybaritic life of an arrogant, self-obsessed, seemingly out-of-control rock star to the hilt. The public dramas and private heartaches were detailed meticulously by a ravenous press, along with the wretched excesses of Mick’s private life: the lavish homes and limousines, the private jets and yachts, the drugs, the women—and sometimes the men. But especially the women.

    Along the way, Mick used skills he learned as a student at the London School of Economics to help the band earn billions and make its members all absurdly rich—in Mick’s case, to the tune of $400 million. He also slavishly pursued his dream of being accepted into the highest circles of British society—a quest that, in time, earned him a knighthood.

    For essentially his entire adult life, this vocal enemy of the Establishment has also been cozy with England’s aristocracy—just one in the mind-spinning tangle of contradictions that make up Jagger the man.

    Mick is the suburban English schoolboy who exploded on the scene singing blues from America’s heartland; the gym teacher’s son who became the poster boy for unfettered hedonism; the street tough with the refined tastes of a proper English gentleman; the androgynous dabbler in bisexual love with boundless heterosexual appetites; the knight of the realm who for fifty years has reveled in his worldwide image as rock’s rebel emeritus, the legendary Lothario whose most important and enduring human relationship is with another man who claims not to understand him at all: Keith Richards.

    As the Rolling Stones celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, Jagger remained one of the most written about, talked about, and speculated about people on the planet. Yet, incredibly, he succeeded in cultivating the one thing that all true icons have in common: a powerful mystique.

    It is, in the end, that singular, galvanic force of nature—a charismatic creature who would have achieved stardom with or without the Rolling Stones—who continues to mesmerize, excite, and enthrall us after a half century. Scandal, money, drama, music, fame, drugs, sex, and genius—all this and more are embodied in the man whose very name defines an era. That man is Jagger. That man is Mick.

  • Table of Contents

    Preface xi

    1 "Tell Them to Stick It Up Their Arse" 1

    2 The Glimmer Twins Grow Up, Next Door and Worlds Apart 13

    3 Dirty, Rude, Sullen, Chain-Smoking, Generally Obnoxious-and Brilliant 51

    4 Angels and Demons 85

    5 Under His Thumb 127

    6 "Oh, Shut Up, Keith. Don't Be Stupid" 159

    7 Steel Wheels, Voodoo, and Four Thousand Women 203

    8 The Final Straw: "Angelina, It's Mick. Call Me!" 241

    9 When the Moneymaker's Shaking 271

    10 Hanging with William and Kate/The President of France Is Jealous/Revenge of the Tiny Todger 311

    Acknowledgments 329

    Sources and Chapter Notes 333

    Bibliography 343

    Index 347

    What People are Saying About This

    From the Publisher

    "Jam-packed with juiciness." —Entertainment Weekly

    "Hot tub reading at its very tingliest." —National Post

    "Explosive...You'd have to be fairly high-minded not to be curious." —The Telegraph

    "Breathless." —Bloomberg News

    Customer Reviews

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    Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
    Joan-Mack More than 1 year ago
    As a journalist who covered the Stones in the past, I can attest to the fact that "Mick" is the real deal. And a fun read.
    DrDelilah More than 1 year ago
    What a fun read and just the right distraction from a hot and boring political season! I love the honesty and the celebration that is Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. OMG 50 years!!??
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Exactly the kind of book you'd expect from a former People editor: shallow, catty and vacuous. It's a study in stretching half true snippets to the breaking point. Hard to recommend it to even hardcore Stones fans.
    frosty7530 More than 1 year ago
    At age 70, I have been a hard-core Mick Jagger fan for a long time, since 1965 to be truthful. To watch that man strut onto the stage and open a show is an awe inspireing event. He is a masterful musician who knows all about the blues, academically, theatrically, and most likely, internally. Andersen is an entertaining writer of gossip and fame, fans of Jagger looking for juicy gossip will find pleanty of it in this book. Sadly, what I didn't find, was anything close to the soul of Mick Jagger. It's hard for me to believe that he is nothing more than a great rock musician, totally into drugs, sex and RnR. Andersen does not begin to cover his time spent at the prestigious London School of Economics, though he does dwell at length on his astute business sense. Jagger has been married and partnered with many, but the reader will not get a glimpse of his wives and girlfriends as anything more than sex machines. His children are mentioned briefly, but there is no sense of Jagger the father or grandfather. This was the first biography I've read of Mick Jagger. I hope he tells his own story someday, because the celeb writers drawn to him do not seem to do this man justice. As a fan I find Jagger to be on fire! I can not believe he is this cold, calculating narcist who is somehow, the greatest living Rock legend. I'd love to learn more about the mystical aspects of his life and how they affect his artistry.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    *walked to res 4*
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I felt at times that I was reading a tabloid, but this is well worth the read for any Stones or Jagger fan. Would have loved to hear a little less about the women even though it is a big part of Mick's charm. He is as enigmatic a human as ever was, even if he bared his soul we may never know what makes Sir Mick tick.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This was an interesting read as far as Jagger's life goes--the excesses are many and often unexpected--but it reads like one big expose, tabloid-style. The repeadted excesses described one after the other become overwhelming and repetitive. Perhaps this is inherent in the telling of the life of such a person, but i wish there would have been more insight into the causes of his beghavior, his misogynistic attitudes, his disregard for others, etc. It WAS entertaining, though!
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    Oscarwilde1969 More than 1 year ago
    Zzzzzz...should've been renamed "I, Me, Mine" after the George Harrison song. Read Keith's bio, it's far superior.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Well, as someone who has followed the Stones since the early 1970s, I learned...well, next to nothing from this "new" book. OK, I learned too things. Jagger's daughter was (still is?) dating Sean Lennon. And Keith has bad arthritis, I didn't know that. The rest of it? Ho hum. Recycled stories (Marianne with the candy bar! Mick and David Bowie caught in bed!) Move on, nothing to see here!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Can't believe that mick never got a tsd with all the sex
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Mick could never sing on key, but he sure knows how to wiggle his ass
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Mick Jagger is nothing more than a puke - pure and simple.