The Rolling Stones singer and living rock icon Mick Jagger turns 77 years young today, and the man who has spent over five decades on the band’s nonstop adventure doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Jagger has lived long enough and well enough to actually prove himself wrong, finally finding that most elusive and ethereal of concepts, satisfaction, but it certainly wasn’t always this way. Jagger was born to humble parents during wartime in Kent, England in 1943. His father was a teacher, as his father, Basil “Joe” Jagger, had been before him, and it was expected that the youngest Jagger would follow in their footsteps. With a stern mother, Mick got away from home as quickly as he could, eventually running into a long-missed former classmate and friend Keith Richards in university. Jagger’s life would never be the same.
In 1961, the friends moved in together in an apartment in the Chelsea district of London and formed The Glimmer Twins. Jagger answered the call to perform and left his economics studies to join the band, which eventually became The Rolling Stones. His fusion of English phrasing with his attempts at emulating the southern drawls of his blues heroes resulted in a distinctive nasal tone that, when propelled with all his force, could move mountains and cut through the crash and clamor of a rock band in full tilt mode. As a group, they were certainly more buttoned-down in their early years.
Scroll down to listen to the band perform an early version of “Come On” as recorded live for the BBC on September 23rd, 1963.
The Rolling Stones – “Come On” – 9/23/63
Their live performances quickly made Jagger and The Rolling Stones pop chart sensations. They and their British contemporaries, including their supposed rivals, The Beatles, were preparing for a British assault on America. Thanks to appearances on popular American variety shows like the ones hosted by Ed Sullivan and Mike Douglas, the Rolling Stones found a massive audience for their blues, rock, and pop music.
Revisit a few of their more memorable U.S. TV appearances below:
The Rolling Stones – “Not Fade Away” – The Dean Martin Show (1964)
The Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – The Ed Sullivan Show (1966)
[Video: The Ed Sullivan Show]
By the time the 1960s moved into the ’70s, Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones had a global fanbase as they entered what is referred to as their “Golden Age.” After their dabbling in overt psychedelia on Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967) was met by negative reactions, the band responded with a string of their most critically and commercially successful works, including Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile On Main Street (1072), which, along with their high-energy live performances, solidified their reputation as one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
Check out a few of their most classic tunes live and raw below:
The Rolling Stones – “Street Fighting Man” (1969)
The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter” (1969)
The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar” (1971)
[Video: Circus Magazine]
The Rolling Stones – “Tumbling Dice” (1972)
[Video: Woogie The Cat]
There was a lot made in the media of the friendly rivalry between The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Mick was always playful about it in the press, but he surely had to feel like the argument was settled when The Beatles went their separate ways and he and his mates kept on keeping on, producing an entire decade worth of rocking and relevant music. Though their style would morph musically over the years to incorporate newer technology and shifting tastes, Jagger’s charisma has remained unchanged by Father Time. Check out some of the band’s more memorable performances from the 1970s and 1980s, below:
The Rolling Stones – “Angie”
[Video: The Rolling Stones]
The Rolling Stones – “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)”
[Video: The Rolling Stones]
The Rolling Stones – “Start Me Up”
[Video: Ronald Rock]
Happy Birthday Mick!