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.