On the Rolling Stones frontman's 75th birthday, FOTO presents glimpses from the early years of a rock icon's life and loves.
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Published July 26, 2018
Published 23 days ago
Few frontmen in the history of rock have ever melded raw sex with a kind of frenetic, bluesy energy quite like Mick Jagger. In fact, Jagger's stage persona — lifted in large part, of course, from black soul singers of the '50s and '60s — is so familiar that he sometimes now seems to be parodying himself as the cocky, self-absorbed rock star: the skinny shimmying hips; the raised clapping hands; the famously pouting lips. But there's something special, too, about Jagger in his off-stage moments — quiet, more thoughtful, but occasionally as unpredictable as when he's performing for tens of thousands. Here, on his 75th birthday, FOTO presents rare photos of Sir Michael Philip Jagger's first few decades of public life and his headline-grabbing romances. (Above: Jagger and Marianne Faithfull at Heathrow Airport, 1968.)
Larry Ellis/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesYOUNG LEGENDJagger and the Stones — Keith Richards is playing behind him — on "The Eammon Andrews Show" in February 1967. The Stones had released the great "Between the Buttons" record less than a month earlier. (Two of the band's most frequently played tracks in the decades to come, "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday," appeared on the American release of the record.) Born in July 1943, Jagger was just 23 years old when this photo was taken — but his charisma and danger-tinged stage presence were already legend.
Larry Ellis/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSHOCK APPEALJagger honed his riveting stage demeanor from an early age: a sneer here, an R&B dance move there, with the occasional lost-Romantic-poet look tossed in for good measure. As he told Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner in a 1995 interview, "I didn't have any inhibitions [in my teens]. I saw Elvis and Gene Vincent, and I thought, 'Well, I can do this.' And I liked doing it. It's a real buzz, even in front of 20 people, to make a complete fool of yourself…. And the thing is, if people started throwing tomatoes at me, I wouldn't have gone on with it. But they all liked it, and it always seemed to be a success, and people were shocked. I could see it in their faces."
Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesTHE MARRYING KIND?Jagger, then 27, with his parents, Eva and Joe, on the eve of his wedding to Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías, in St. Tropez, May 1971. Jagger's was a fairly typical middle-class, English, postwar childhood, and he was expected to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a teacher. (For a time in his teens, he thought he might become a journalist — or even a politician.) But Jagger always loved music and singing, and from a young age set his sights on performing. He met Keith Richards when he was just 7 years old, and by the time the two of them and Stones co-founder Brian Jones were in their late teens, they had moved into a flat together in London and were playing in a rhythm and blues band.Larry Ellis/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesTHAT ROCK STAR MAGICMick Jagger in the green room before the Stones' appearance on "The Eamonn Andrews Show," February 1967. "I'd rather be dead," he once famously said, "than singing 'Satisfaction' when I'm 45." Countless music fans around the world are happy that Jagger didn't stick by that pronouncement: Since he turned 45 in 1988, the Stones have embarked on a dozen world tours, and have played hundreds of shows before millions of fans. And every time Keith Richards plays that classic opening riff of "Satisfaction," the crowd goes wild. (On the wall behind Jagger in the photo above is a picture of the popular British comedian and magician Tommy Cooper.)Dove/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesMICK AND MARIANNEIn the late 1960s, when the Stones became household names, Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull (above left, with Stones guitarist Mick Taylor at right) were arguably the most famous rock and roll couple in the world: young, beautiful, and talented counterculture icons. Faithfull co-wrote the Stones song "Sister Morphine" and has had a long, successful recording and acting career of her own — but from 1966 to 1969, she was known primarily as Jagger's stylish paramour.
Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesWHO BREAKS A BUTTERFLY UPON A WHEEL?Over the years, all the members of the Stones have had brushes with the law — mainly arrests for drug possession. In 1967, Jagger and Richards were busted when police found them with a number of "pep pills" (speed). When Jagger was sentenced to three months for the crime, the conservative Times of London newspaper ran an editorial protesting the harsh punishment, and famously quoted a poem by Alexander Pope to stress how outrageous the sentence was for a minor drug infraction: "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" the paper demanded. Pictured: Jagger and Faithfull in August 1967, after charges against both Jagger and Richards were dismissed on appeal.C. Maher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesOUT ON BAILTwo years later, in May 1969, Jagger and Faithfull were busted for possession of cannabis. Both of them later claimed they had been framed by the cops, and Jagger even swore that the arresting officer was angling for a bribe to make the arrest go away. The charges against Faithfull were eventually dismissed, while Jagger had to pay a fine for possession, despite his allegations of police misconduct. Above: Jagger and Faithfull returning to his flat in Chelsea, after posting bail, May 1969.Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesOUTLAWIn 1969, Jagger went to Australia to make an ill-fated, eponymous biopic about a legendary 19th-century Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly. Jagger (above, in character, with cast mates) played Kelly, while the Academy Award-winning British director, Tony Richardson, helmed the project. But the Stones frontman lacked the acting chops to carry a film about a figure as complicated — and in much of Australia, as revered — as Kelly; neither Jagger nor Richards even bothered to attend the movie's premiere in London a year later. Jagger would go on to act, with varying degrees of success, for the next several decades, often in small roles. But it's likely he will always be most readily associated with one film in particular: In the 1970 crime drama "Performance," Jagger convincingly played a faded rock star, but his explicit sex scenes with Anita Pallenberg (Keith Richards' girlfriend at the time) shocked audiences and are largely responsible for the film's enduring notoriety decades later.
Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesWILD WEDDINGWhen Jagger married Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías (b. 1945 in Nicaragua) in May 1971 in the south of France, it should have been a joyous occasion. Instead, chaos reigned: Jagger charted a jet to fly in famous friends — Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr and others — who, according to journalist David Hepworth, only learned of the impending nuptials the day before the ceremony. The French town of St. Tropez, although used to hosting the rich and famous, was completely unequipped to handle countless hard-partying rock and rollers and scores of aggressive paparazzi. That Bianca, who had met Jagger after a Stones concert in Paris a year earlier, was four months pregnant only added to the feeling of a rushed, ill-considered, and — according to Hepworth's book, "Never a Dull Moment" — seemingly unhinged occasion.Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesLAUGHING THROUGHThe couple share a lighthearted moment during their wedding. The marriage lasted until 1978 (with one child, Jade, born in October 1971), but by most accounts was destined to flame out sooner than later. Jagger was frequently on tour, recording in the studio, or simply away, doing whatever it is that rock stars do when they don't want to be home. For her part, Bianca was making a name for herself as a jet-setter and Studio 54 habitué during its cocaine-celebrities-misbehaving heyday.Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesWHAT NOW?"My marriage," Bianca reportedly once said, "ended on my wedding day" — a sentiment sparked, at least in part, by the fact that Jagger unexpectedly asked her to sign a prenup the morning of the day they wed. After the marriage broke up, with Bianca citing Jagger's infidelity with Jerry Hall as the last straw, the former Mrs. Mick Jagger turned her attention to activism, advocating around the globe for social justice and human rights. Today, she chairs the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. (Pictured: Jagger goofing around with his bride's bouquet.)
Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesPHOTOGRAPH THIS!Jagger hurls a cup at a photographer during a party in October 1984, while a seemingly unfazed Jerry Hall looks on. Jagger and Hall's relationship lasted from 1977 until 1999; they were unofficially married, after an informal ceremony in Bali, from 1990 until they split up. The two had four children together. (Over the years Jagger has had eight kids with five different women. He also has five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.) Though Hall enjoyed several post-Jagger romances and married Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 2016, she has generally fond memories of their decades as a couple. "All of our friends are the same friends, we like the same people," Hall once said of Jagger, explaining why they were so good together for so long. "We got on great. Except he slept with lots of other people, which was horrible. Otherwise, he was perfect."Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images'CALL YOU TOMORROW'A young Mick Jagger relaxes in 1967. Today, he has sold millions of records, with and without the Stones; his net worth is somewhere north of $300 million; he has been knighted. His life in the years since he and his strange, sexy, unnerving energy first lit up the scene in the 1960s has been full — not always happy, perhaps, and not always admirable, but full. In the same interview with Jann Wenner mentioned earlier, when asked to reflect on his life as a rock star, Jagger's reply evokes, perhaps unconsciously, two of the Stones' most famous songs: "Satisfaction" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want." "It would be nice to have another shot," Jagger said. "Instead of me being a rock singer, I could have done something else.... [Rock and roll] is not particularly challenging. So you get intellectually lazy. I don't think anyone is ever satisfied with what they've done."