Mick Jagger turns 80 years old – DW – 07/25/2023

It’s hard to believe that Mick Jagger has turned 80. He’s come a long way since his rebellious early days and infamous incident in the summer of 1965, when he and bandmates Keith Richards and Bill Wyman were fined for urinating on the wall of a London gas station.

Today, Jagger is one of the richest rock stars in the world, valued at more than $500 million.

The 1965 London episode solidified the Rolling Stones’ bad boy image, which ultimately served them well: It helped distinguish themselves from their Beatles contemporaries, who were seen as the clean boys next door.

Soon after, the band’s song “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” became a worldwide hit and the anthem of an entire generation.

Jagger has a reputation for being deliberately provocative. However, his diligent work ethic contrasts with the public image of a chaotic rebel.

Today, even Jagger himself can no longer separate his intentional stage from what has become reality. He likes to downplay the band’s scandalous era, saying they’re just a teen band with no bad boy image.

That rebellious image, however, had serious consequences for one team member: For Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, the wild era of drugs and alcohol led to an early death. He drowned in his swimming pool in 1969, at the age of 27.

Image of five conservatively dressed men posing on the stairs.  They were identified as the Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones 1964: Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian JonesImage: Avalon/Retna/King Collection/image alliance

Rolling Stones and a train station

With Jones and their mutual friend Keith Richards, Mick Jagger started the Rolling Stones after performing on a contract as a singer in Alexis Korner’s London-based blues band Blues Incorporated.

Legend has it that Jagger and Richards met at a train station in their hometown of Dartford, Kent. On that day in 1961, Jagger was on his way to London, where he was studying at the London School of Economics.

On the platform, he ran into his schoolmate Richards, who was also waiting for the train. The two discovered that they both liked American blues and decided to meet to produce music together. About a year later, the Rolling Stones were born.

From the early days of the band, Jagger and Richards wrote their biggest hits together. When songwriting groups were born, they were perhaps compared to John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles. They complement each other on stage, too: Jagger is known for his energetic and exhilarating dance moves, bouncing around, and hip swinging, while the stoic Richards serves up the band’s one-of-a-kind guitar riffs.

Black and white photo of the Rolling Stones performing in the German city of Cologne in 1962.
The Rolling Stones perform in Cologne, one of many international concerts to appear together over their decadesImage: Malte Ossowski/SVEN SIMON/image alliance

The stones in Germany

It was in 1965 that Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones took to the stage in Germany for the first time, giving a concert in the city of Münster on September 11. The audience was excited, just as the fans had been on previous tours in the UK and the United States.

Four days later, just 20 minutes after their concert at the Waldbühne in Berlin, fans stormed onto the stage, the Stones left and chaos ensued as police attempted to use force to contain the situation. Waldbühne was completely destroyed and had to be renovated. The media coverage at the time shocked conservative West Germans.

Private Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger’s private life is as colorful as his stage antics. In 1970, he told a German magazine Fast music that he did not intend to settle into a bourgeois life with his wife and children.

A year later, he married Bianca Perez-Mora Macias. His first daughter, Karis, was born the same year – but to singer Marsha Hunt. Jagger’s first marriage lasted until 1979 and the divorce cost him about $2.5 million.

His relationship with former model Jerry Hall, lasted from 1977 to 1999. Other relationships followed, such as that with American fashion designer L’Wren Scott.

A man in a suit with dark glasses poses with a young girl in red.  They were identified as Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, 80, and his 36-year-old partner, Melanie Hamrick.
Mick Jagger and current partner Melanie Hamrick, with whom he has a sonImage: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/image alliance

He has been dating 36-year-old former ballerina Melanie Hamrick since 2014. The couple have a 6-year-old son and when British media recently spotted Hamrick wearing a sparkly ring on her finger, she admitted they were engaged.

However, in a statement sent independence On July 2 of this year, a representative for the Rolling Stones frontman said reports that Jagger and Hamrick were engaged were “untrue”, and described them as “false rumours”.

All in all, the rock star had 8 children with 5 different women. His eldest daughter is 52 years old. He has 5 grandchildren and is also the great-grandfather of 2 grandchildren.

Outside the band

In 1985, Mick Jagger released his first solo album, “She’s the Boss”, which hit the hearts of fans. This was followed by subsequent albums, including the 2007 “Best” collection.

He has collaborated with many artists since 1972, including the likes of Carly Simon, Tina Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis and David Bowie.

The late Tina Turner and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger perform at the Live Aid concert in 1985.
Tina Turner and the late Jagger perform at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia in 1985Image: AP

Jagger also makes occasional film appearances: His debut role was in 1970’s “Ned Kelly.” He played a 1930s Berlin drag performer in the TV series “Bent,” about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. His latest role is in the 2019 crime thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy”.

German film director Werner Herzog once said of Jagger: “People have never appreciated him as someone who can become very popular as an actor.”

Not the end of the road

In 2003, Mick Jagger was knighted by then-Prince Charles – but the decision was not without scandal. Richards has publicly criticized Jagger for being pro-establishment. Queen Elizabeth also disapproved of Sir Mick, who spent time in the same social circles as her late sister, Princess Margaret. She thought he was a bad influence and didn’t attend the ceremony.

In 2019, Jagger underwent a successful heart valve replacement. And in 2022, the Rolling Stones mark their 60th anniversary with the Sixty tour. Sadly, it was the first European tour without Charlie Watts, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 80.

Interviewed on Swedish radio station P4, Jagger said: “I don’t intend this to be my last tour. I love touring. I don’t think I would if I didn’t like it.”

Mick Jagger turns 80 on July 26. For now, it looks like the iconic musician hasn’t reached the end of the road yet.

Image of a man with two arms outstretched, one hand holding a mic.  He was identified as Rolling Stones leader Mick Jagger.
Jagger is seen here performing at Hyde Park in London in July 2022Image: Suzan Moore/empics/photo alliance

This is an updated version of a German article last published in 2018.


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