The Troubled History Of Mick Jagger

Few people walking this earth are more famous than Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones icon has been fronting one of the most successful bands in rock history since 1962, and even time itself has shown precious few signs of slowing the man down. However, being a professional rock legend for so long comes with the built-in occupational hazard of leaving a trail of destruction behind you. After all, while a rock star who is able to spend well over five decades in the highest echelons of fame must remain interesting, this doesn't mean that they have to play it nice

As such, the man who has famously sung about sympathy for the devil and a tendency to paint everything black has often seemed to practice in his personal life what he preaches onstage. The singer has trudged through many turmoils and tragedies, many of which have been of his own making. Without further ado, let's take a look at the troubled history of Mick Jagger.

Mick Jagger and the death of L'Wren Scott

Imagine being an incredibly talented and successful person who has no shortage of accomplishments. Unfortunately, your significant other happens to be one of the most famous people in the world, so no matter what you do, you're doomed by history to be a footnote — a passing mention in the many biographies written about them. For L'Wren Scott, a popular stylist and fashion designer for Hollywood's high and mighty, this scenario played out in a particularly tragic manner. As The Guardian tells us, Scott was a wealthy, successful and popular fashion designer in her own right, but she also happened to be in a relationship with one Mick Jagger. Unfortunately, her luxurious lifestyle and happy facade evidently hid an internal turmoil, and in 2014, she hanged herself in her apartment. 

Jagger was on the road with the Stones at the time, and stated that he was "struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way." Unfortunately, the tragedy largely overshadowed the fiercely independent Scott's own achievements in the public eye, and these days you'd be hard pressed to find a story about her that focuses on her own accomplishments instead of her untimely death and relationship with the Rolling Stones frontman.  

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Mick Jagger's infamous interview

These days, the Rolling Stones might seem like a bunch of forever-touring great-granddads that some stagehand has to prop upright, but back in the day they were one of the (if not the) most dangerous bands out there, to the point that even a single, casual Mick Jagger interview could contain quotes that would destroy almost any other band's career. As Today reminds us, one of Jagger's more infamous interviews happened in 1978, when the 35-year-old singer was discussing the sexist notes of their Some Girls album. 

According to The National, Keith Richards had already been courting controversy by saying that the album was called Some Girls because the band simply "forgot all their ... names." Jagger couldn't resist adding fuel to the fire in an interview with Today, where he proudly promised that the Stones' next album would be even "more racist and sexist." It's probably safe to say that 2018's Jagger is not particularly proud of the unsavory comments his three decades younger self made, seeing as he has since tuned down the hate speech in his interviews. 

Mick Jagger and the queen

It can be easy to forget that much like many other English old-school rockers, Mick Jagger has a knighthood. As The Telegraph reports, Sir Mick Jagger received the honor way back in 2003, but the process was not without its speed bumps. Knighthoods are traditionally given by the queen, but in Jagger's case, Her Majesty Elizabeth II wanted none of it. The ruler of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms reportedly considered the Rolling Stones frontman an unsuitable candidate for knighthood, and it's said that she plainly stated she didn't have "the stomach" to personally present the honor. In fact, she had already (allegedly) blocked Prime Minister Tony Blair's attempts to get Jagger on the Honours List numerous times. 

The queen appears to have had some personal reasons behind her distaste, as she disapproved of Jagger's close relationship with her sister, Princess Margaret. It probably didn't help that the Stones singer has a history of anti-establishment opinions: He has said that "anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope," and even called Elizabeth II the "Chief Witch." In the end, however, Jagger got his knighthood ... from the Prince of Wales. It just so happened that Queen Elizabeth had scheduled a knee surgery for that exact day, and some say she even commented to a doctor: "I would much rather be here than at Buckingham Palace knighting a certain party." We get it, Liz. You're not a fan.

Mick Jagger's cheating ruined his marriage to Jerry Hall

It's pretty widely known Mick Jagger is something of a ladies' man, but as The Irish Independent tells us, pretty much every report of his lechery is an understatement. Broom closet affairs with Brigitte Bardot and Tina Turner, opulent backstage parties that would "make Caligula blush" — the man's life has been a constant conveyor belt of women that he's generally discarded as soon as he has grown bored with them, to the point that it's estimated he has slept with over 4,000 women. Jagger's female therapist (who, of course, he ended up having an affair with) had this to say about the singer: "He's like a sex vampire. Being with all these different people makes him feel young and gives him all this energy. He can't stay faithful. He has to get that satisfaction from bedding a lot of women at the same time."

Unfortunately for Jagger, this attitude has bled into other walks of his personal life and caused irreparable damage. Notably, his long relationship with a remarkably patient and forgiving Jerry Hall ultimately ended in her filing for divorce after Jagger tore down the final barriers of her trust by getting a Brazilian model pregnant in 1999. According to The Journal, Jagger's response was to argue that they were never actually married because their luxurious 1990 wedding ceremony in Bali was never legally valid, and they hadn't registered the marriage afterwards. The court later voided the marriage. 

Mick Jagger's recent health troubles

Despite the fact that Mick Jagger has been reliably rocking the world since the 1960s, he has also ... well, rocked the world since the 1960s. The man was born in 1943 and is still touring, so it makes sense for his age to show in at least some way. Even so, when the NME reported in early 2019 that the Rolling Stones had to postpone tour dates because of the singer's illness, it was strange to see the machine grind to a halt. 

Fortunately, this delay turned out to be a temporary one. Jagger, who was 75-years-old at the time, was extremely apologetic about letting mere health issues stop him, and promised to get back on the road as soon as possible. This is actually pretty amazing, considering that according to the NME, the singer eventually revealed what had been ailing him: A minor inconvenience called heart valve replacement surgery. He recovered, and was on his feet less than two weeks after the initial announcement.

Mick Jagger and the Altamont tragedy

Few events in the history of popular music cast a darker shadow than the Rolling Stones' disastrous free concert at Altamont. As The Telegraph tells us, the Altamont Motorway was a grey, joyless area that was far from the intended Woodstock-style experience, and the vibe among the audience was hostile. Mick Jagger was punched in the face as soon as the band's helicopters landed. What's more, the Hells Angels who were acting as a security force of sorts at the concert were an imposing presence, and the performing bands had to witness the gang members' attitude slowly but steadily graduate from violent to lethal. 

By the time the Rolling Stones took the stage, the crowd was rowdy and the Hells Angels were handing out beatings. What's worse, everyone — including his own bandmates — expected Jagger to use his frontman powers to stop the violence. Unfortunately, bassist Bill Wyman says the singer's demeanor remained "timid," and ultimately, the violence escalated to the point where one audience member pulled out a gun ... and the Hells Angels stabbed him to death as the horrified band members looked on. 

As Rolling Stone notes, four people ultimately died at the disastrous concert, which some say marked the ending point of the 1960s. Jagger later said about the tragic event: "I thought the scene in San Francisco was supposed to be so groovy. It was terrible. If Jesus had been there he would have been crucified."

A motorcycle gang planned to murder Mick Jagger

Every famous person has enemies, but Mick Jagger's antagonists have been quite a bit more hostile than the average hater. According to The Telegraph, the tragic events of the 1969 Altamont Speedway concert, where the group of Hells Angels who were reportedly acting as security killed a 18-year-old member of the audience, made Jagger decide against using the services of the motorcycle club ever again. One group of Hells Angels didn't particularly care for getting the cold shoulder treatment from the singer, so they decided to kill him. Their plan was to attack the singer's holiday residence in Long Island, New York from the sea, so they could avoid the security at the front of the building and sneak in through the beachfront garden. Luckily for Jagger, the plan was foiled by an unexpected storm, which threw all the Hells Angels overboard. Though they all survived, it appears that the experience was enough to deter them from their Jagger-killing ways, as it looks like this was their only attempt on the singer's life.  

Strangely, Jagger himself was apparently never informed about his would-be killers. The assassination plot only came to light in 2008, when a FBI agent revealed it for a British TV series. The news subsequently made it to the press, and we can only imagine the Rolling Stones frontman's face when he picked up the morning paper that day. 

Mick Jagger's rocky relationship with Keith Richards

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards might be among the most wildly successful songwriting partnerships in history, but as Barry Egan of The Irish Independent puts it, their personal history can at times be described as a "civil war between two biggest ego maniacs in the business." The first signs of serious trouble came around 1983, when they were recording the Undercover album and utterly refused to be in the studio at the same time, going as far as telling the producer to remove the things the other man had recorded. Later, Richards allegedly took offense to Jagger's "indifference" with the band and the frontman's less-than-rocking solo output, making several swipes at the singer's arrogance on his own solo album in 1988. 

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the men's rocky relationship threatened to break up the band numerous times over the years, and as of 2015, Richards said that a lot of their problems stem from the fact that the men have always been a little unsure of where they stand with each other. According to the man known as "The Human Riff," the core reason for the pair's issues comes from Jagger's control freak tendencies and the need to be "numero uno" all the time. Richards, meanwhile, interjects when Jagger starts making decisions he feels are bad for the Rolling Stones, and admits he sometimes wakes up at night to write down lines he can use to put the singer in place.

Mick Jagger's trouble with the law

As Ultimate Classic Rock tells us, most members of the Rolling Stones have been arrested on occasion, and Mick Jagger was no exception. In fact, he and partner in crime Keith Richards were the first band members to have troubles with the law, when the police raided a drug-fueled party at Richards' home in 1967 and arrested the pair. Jagger was originally sentenced to three months in prison (Richards got a full year), but an appeal managed to dismiss the sentences two months later. In 1968, Jagger was arrested at another drug bust, this time with girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. In 1972, Jagger and Richards were arrested in Boston after an altercation with a photographer. This time the mayor of Boston himself bailed them out so they could make it to a scheduled concert in time. 

In an interview with The Irish Independent, Jagger describes the 1967 arrest, trial, and the brief stint he actually spent in jail then as an unpleasant, "kind of nasty" experience, especially because the press mercilessly covered the case, which became a notorious clash between the powers that be and the youth culture of the Swinging Sixties.    

Mick Jagger and drugs

It's not exactly a secret that the Rolling Stones have done more than their share of drugs over the years. Though notorious drug user Keith Richards tends to get the brunt of attention on this front, Ultimate Classic Rock tells us Mick Jagger was also arrested for possession two times in the late 1960s, and only avoided a three-month jail sentence via an appeal. 

However, The Telegraph reports that according to Jagger's ex-partner Jerry Hall, the singer wasn't content with just smoking the occasional joint. Hall says that at the beginning of their relationship in 1977, Jagger told her that he once spent a year taking LSD every single day, and that he was also smoking heroin. The "disgusted" Hall immediately told Jagger to either get clean or forget about her, and apparently, the singer did indeed ditch the drugs. Interestingly, Jagger has been known to criticize Richards' heroin use in interviews, so the fact that he's been a fan of heroin himself makes the singer seem more than a little hypocritical. Then again, at least he knows what he's talking about.

The death of Mick Jagger's father

In 2007, Mick Jagger's father, Basil "Joe" Jagger, died. The Telegraph tells us that the rock star and his Puritan physical education expert father (who Reuters mentions helped popularize basketball in Britain) had a lot more in common than you'd initially assume, and Jagger indeed credits his father as his biggest influence. It was Joe who got young Jagger to enlist in a choir, and who loaned his aspiring singer son money to buy the equipment for his first band, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. In fact, Jagger's father is also responsible for his most famous aspects as a performer: His massive lips (courtesy of genetics) and his tireless, athletic performance style (thanks to the workout regime Joe taught him at an early age). Joe Jagger even gave young Mick his first appearance on television when the two featured on an episode of the BBC's Seeing Sport together, demonstrating rock climbing and camping skills.

Jagger learned of his father's death just hours before a Rolling Stones concert in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the shocked singer took to the stage, allegedly saying that his father would have wanted that. He was ever the consummate professional, though his stage demeanor was described as "unusually chatty."  

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull

Mick Jagger might have had his share of trysts and flings, but even he had his hands full with singer Marianne Faithfull. As The Express tells us, Faithfull dated no less than three Rolling Stones members (along with other music luminaries such as David Bowie), and the four years she spent with Jagger were turbulent, drug-fueled, and scandalous, eventually ending when Faithfull miscarried Jagger's child and left him. Oh, and she also cheated on him with Keith Richards, who was quite irked by the fact that Jagger had slept with his girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg. 

In recent years, Faithfull has shared some of her memories from the era, and she doesn't exactly present Jagger in a positive light. According to The Telegraph, she says that her sultry aura and provocative antics during the 1960s were mostly an act hiding her insecurities and discomfort in the company of men, and that she needed drugs and alcohol to tolerate intercourse. Despite this, she says her night with Richards was a memorable experience ... while keeping carefully quiet about Jagger, who therefore presumably falls in the "needing drugs and alcohol" category. Things got even worse for Jagger's horizontal credibility in 2011, when The Independent tells us Richards made some pretty disparaging comments about the size of singer's, uh, equipment and how unhappy Faithfull was with it. When someone asked Faithfull about the accuracy of the guitarist's comments, she merely stated: "Not quite, but nearly." Ouch.