Happy Birthday to Mick Jagger, who turns 70 years old today (July 26th). Jagger, will always be best known as being's rock's preeminent frontman and co-songwriter with partner Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones' greatest works.
Jagger, who over the years has also dabbled with acting and producing, told us that for a project to truly be successful, it needs to connect with its entire prospective audience: "When you put out a piece of work, you want to have, first, you want to feel 'I like it' and the rest of the musicians, band, whatever, have to like it -- everyone has to like it. And then your friends have to like it, and then you want the public to like it, and you want the critics to like it, so it can work on many levels. So you can be very happy with an album, but nobody else (laughs) likes it -- that's not a success. But it's a big success if you get all of those groups liking it."
Out now is Under Their Thumb -- How A Nice Boy From Brooklyn Got Mixed Up With The Rolling Stones And Lived To Tell About It, by rock writer Bill German. German, who's best known in music circles as being the editor of the legendary Stones fanzine Beggars Banquet, explains that Jagger has always put distance between him and the public as a means of survival: "He is more famous than the others, and I think he values his time more because of that, or he puts up more of a wall around himself. Because if the three of them, Mick, Keith, and Woody, let's say, were walking down the street, who's gonna be recognized the most I would say? Like, if you ask you grandmother or your mother to name one member of the Rolling Stones, it's going to be Mick Jagger. So there's going to be more demands on his time from fans and the medium -- there's more demands on his time from the business people, because he's the guy that's handling the business. So, I think maybe that's why he's a little standoffish."
Keith Richards says that no matter what the circumstance -- or how much the press plays up their skirmishes -- both he and Mick Jagger have always known exactly what time it was with one other: "Mick and I have always had little jousting matches. Always. It only became public when we had nothing to do (laughs). So, I say, as long as we work, we're cool. I mean, we've known each other so long, it's unbelievable. I've seen him selling ice creams outside the library in my hometown. I know Mick."
After 50 years in the public eye, we asked Mick Jagger what he recalls about his and the Stones' early fame: "You kind of always say that it was great to get the band going the very first time, because you start to be successful the first year or first couple of years and like, all your little teenage dreams (laughs) are sort of coming true. And so, you feel very young and you're very ambitious and you're starting to be successful and that feels very good. Like, getting your first job, isn't it, y'know?"
Jagger -- who is a father of seven -- says that the ultimate job of any parent is rear their kids to being fully self-sufficient: "The thing is about children is just teaching them to be independent, look after themselves. That's the challenge. That's the whole idea of it, it is that they are helpless at the (laughs) beginning, and then as they go on, and they learn to feed themselves and it's hard, sort of, letting go as a parent with that. That's one of the problems that's actually the parent's problem, is y'know, letting go of the child to some extent."
The Stones returned to Hyde Park earlier this month for two performances on July 6th and 13th. The shows were the first time the group played the Park since their historic 1969 free concert only days after the death of ousted co-founder Brian Jones. During that performance, the band released hundreds of white butterflies in honor of Jones. Recently, Jagger was asked to compare the 1969 gig to the band's return to Hyde Park, telling NME, "Well the stage was less crowded. The funny thing is when you see the '69 one it's all your mates onstage sitting down. But this time I saw some of my kids sitting on the side of stage. It's like chalk and cheese really."
Jagger added: "It's in the same place so it's very memorable but when you get out there you don't really think about it. When you're there and you're getting ready, you take that in. But once you get out there, it's a gig, so you can't be thinking, 'Oh this is where we were last time,' or, 'That's the Post Office tower'. If you do that, you just blow everything. You can't think about reflections or where you are. The only thing you can do is concentrate on your performance."
It took over 40 years for the Stones to play Hyde Park again so it was only natural to ask Jagger he planned to perform there again. He said, "Not this year . . . I haven't given it any thought and nor has it been offered. But I'd love to do it. It's a great gig. I did enjoy it. It was beautiful . . . It turned out to be so wonderful with the sun going down behind the park. It was a perfect London evening."
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