Mick Jagger, the legendary lead singer of The Rolling Stones, one of rock and roll’s most iconic and longest-running bands, celebrated his 74th birthday on Wednesday, July 26. Though Jagger — whose full name is Michael Philip Jagger — was born into a middle class English family in Dartford, Kent, with a schoolteacher father and a mother who was active in Conservative Party politics, he came to be known as one of rock’s greatest rebels.
In fact, when Jagger received a knighthood in 2003, Queen Elizabeth II — at least according to a widely circulated rumor — refused to preform the ceremony herself, due to her revulsion at Jagger’s wild man image.
“The Queen looked at Mick Jagger’s name on that list, and there was absolutely no way in the world that she was going to take part in that. So she simply arranged to be elsewhere,” according to the book Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger by Christopher Andersen. The monarch scheduled a knee surgery for the same day as Jagger’s knighthood, according to the book.
Forming the band that became The Rolling Stones in 1962, with guitarists Keith Richards — a longtime friend dating back to primary school — and Brian Jones, Jagger and his group by 1964 rose to stand second only to The Beatles as Britain’s most popular rock and roll band.
But while the two groups were promoted as arch-rivals, with the Stones presented as “bad boys” and The Beatles as lovable, well-behaved “mop tops,” in reality members of the two bands formed solid friendships. The rivalry was mainly the product of clever promotion by their respective managers.
Here are five more fascinating facts about the now-74-year-old Rolling Stones frontman.
Jagger And Keith Richards Have Been Friends For 67 Years
Jagger and Stones guitarist Keith Richards became one of the most prolific and successful songwriting partnerships in the history of rock music, scoring their first No. 1 hit in 1965 with “The Last Time,” followed quickly by “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” a few months later, which became their first No. 1 on both the British and American pop charts.
But Jagger and Richards had first met as Dartford primary school students in 1950, when Jagger would have been 7-years-old and Richards only 6 (turning seven that December). Four years later, Jagger went to the grammar school level, losing touch with his friend — only to reconnect with Richards after a chance meeting in a train station in 1960. A year later, the two friends moved to London and became roommates as they struggled to launch their music careers. But Jagger, hedging his bets, continued to attend the prestigious London School of Economics until his band began to see some success.
He Was the Target Of An Assassination Attempt in 1975
After the infamous Altamont Speedway incident in 1969, which saw Jagger and the Stones hire the violent motorcycle gang known as the Hell’s Angels to provide security at a massive outdoor, free concert — only to have the Angels brutally murder a Stones fan at the concert — Jagger turned his back on the Angels, refusing to use their “services” again.
As revenge, the Hell’s Angels staged an elaborate plot to murder Jagger. According to a 2008 BBC documentary, a group of Hell’s Angels in the summer of 1975 boarded a boat and sailed toward Jagger’s luxurious vacation home in the ultra-wealthy region of Long Island, New York, called The Hamptons. But the Angels proved better bikers than boaters, all falling overboard when a storm hit before they reached Jagger’s holiday estate. Whether Jagger ever knew how close he came to death at the hands of the Hell’s Angels remains unclear.
Jagger is the Father of Eight Kids — Including a 1-Year-Old
The sexual exploits of the Rolling Stones frontman have made him as legendary as his songwriting and singing over the years. While married twice, Jagger’s eight children, who range in age from 46 to under one year, are the products of five different mothers. Perhaps the best-known of the Jagger brood are 25-year-old supermodel Georgia May Jagger, whose mother is former model Jerry Hall — one of Jagger’s two wives — and actor James Jagger, 32, who has starred in several British films and was featured in the recent HBO series Vinyl. Jagger also fathered his son James with Jerry Hall.
The Stones frontman’s other six kids are: Elizabeth Jagger, 33, a model whose mother is also Hall; Jade Jagger, 46, the only child from Mick’s marriage to Bianca De Macias Jagger; Lucas Maurice Morad Jagger, 17, who was fathered by Mick Jagger with Brazilian model Luciana Gimenez — while Jagger was still in a relationship with Hall; Karis Jagger, 47, Mick Jagger’s first child whose mother is singer Marsha Hunt, the inspiration for the Rolling Stones song “Brown Sugar”; Gabriel Jagger, 19, the last of Mick’s four children with Jerry Hall, who split with Jagger when Gabriel was only a year old; and finally, Deveraux Octavian Basil Jagger, who was born in December of 2016 to the then-73-year-old Mick Jagger and his 29-year-old companion Melanie Hamrick, a ballerina who is younger than all but two of Jagger’s previous children.
Jagger Has Also Built a Film Acting Career
While Jagger has appeared in numerous films and TV programs as himself, he has also had starring roles in several dramatic films — perhaps most famously, the surreal Nicolas Roeg-directed 1970 British film, Performance. Though at the height of his own fame at the time, Jagger portrays “Turner,” a faded and decadent rock star who plays host to a violent gangster in hopes that the danger involved with provide a spark that will reignite his desire to perform.
Jagger had made his debut earlier in 1970 as the real-life outlaw Ned Kelly in the film of the same name. His most recent starring role came in 2001 as Luther Fox, the boss of a male escort service in The Man From Elysian Fields.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes and messages, I’ve enjoyed reading through them today and playing some music! pic.twitter.com/seWmCsgcsB
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) July 26, 2017
Jagger Has Written His Autobiography — But Refuses To Publish It
In 2010, Richards published a tell-all autobiography, Life, that quickly sold more than 1 million copies and became one of the bestselling rock music books of all time. But Jagger has also reportedly penned his own autobiography — though he refuses to publish the book.
In February of this year, British publishing magnate John Blake wrote an article in The Spectator magazine, in which he claimed to be in possession of a 75,000-word manuscript written by Mick Jagger himself, telling his own version of his life story and the story of The Rolling Stones.
Calling the manuscript “the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Blake said that Jagger wrote the book at the urging of Stones bass player Bill Wyman — but that despite a million dollar advance, a publisher rejected the book for being “light on sex and drugs,” Blake said, adding, “in the early 1980s, when it was written, shock and awe was a vital part of any successful autobiography.”
Though Blake believes that the book, which he says was likely written in collaboration with a ghostwriter, would be a financial goldmine, Jagger’s lawyer refuses to grant permission to publish the autobiography and Jagger has not confirmed that the book is actually his.
[Featured Image by Joe Bangay/Getty Images]