Myths you believe about Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger is a rock 'n' roll legend. The singer, whose name is synonymous with the Rolling Stones, has served as the frontman for the iconic band since 1962. Better yet, he's showing no signs of stopping. As Vogue notes, "This is the man who's estimated to cover 12 miles while strutting and shimmying through shows at dizzying speeds." 

Some of the outlandish rumors about Jagger are probably true. As Christopher Anderson's biography, Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger reveals (via Inside Edition), the star once had Madonna as his groupie in the early '80s. Even more salacious? Jagger reportedly also ditched Angelina Jolie in the middle of a date "for a one night stand with Farrah Fawcett." Once widely known for his bad-boy image and incessant partying, Jagger has since calmed down. "It's too debilitating to drink a lot, so I use other relaxation techniques," the frontman once mused (via Vogue). Sure enough, in May 2020, the 76-year-old icon posted a parody PSA video to Twitter, which sees him engaging in a variety of different healthy activities, such as gardening, exercising, cooking, and home repair — before settling down with a newspaper and a cat cuddle sesh.

While the thought of Jagger curling up with a cat is definitely a wholesome sight, we're more interested in debunking some of the most widely believed rumors about the celebrated Rolling Stones star. Here are the myths you believe about Mick Jagger.

Myth: Mick Jagger was caught in bed with David Bowie

Being fellow rock gods in the '70s and '80s, it's no wonder that Mick Jagger and David Bowie were friends outside of their professional collaborations. "We used to hang out in London a lot in the early days of the Seventies; we were at a lot of parties together," wrote Jagger for Rolling Stone in 2016, adding that "in the Eighties in New York," the pair would "hang out a lot and go out to dance clubs." That being said, was their camaraderie purely platonic?

In May 1990, David Bowie's ex-wife, Angela Bowie, whom he divorced ten years prior, appeared on Joan Rivers' talk show with notorious "shock jock" Howard Stern. Seemingly egged on by the two hosts to reveal some lewd goss, Angela said, "I caught him in bed with men several times," before delivering the following pièce de résistance of all scuttlebutts: "In fact, the best time I caught him in bed was with Mick Jagger." Naturally, the crowd went wild.

While both men brushed off the allegations as "rubbish" and "fabrication" (via Snopes), Angela decided to backtrack on her previous statement. Only a week later, she appeared on Geraldo, where she then declared, "I certainly didn't catch anyone in the act. All I found were two people sleeping in my bed. And they happened to be naked and they happened to be Mick Jagger and David Bowie and it's not a big deal."

The Mars bar rumor

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull were rock 'n' roll royalty in the 1960s. They were seemingly picture-perfect, and as the Belfast Telegraph notes, Faithfull, also a singer, became Jagger's "muse," while she introduced him "to literature, ballet and opera." Their relationship was so strong, in fact, that even after a drug raid in 1967, the starlet stood by her man (until their breakup in 1970) — even after some salacious rumors started buzzing around.

"The first time I heard about the Mars Bar was from Mick shortly after the trial [for drug possession]," the songstress wrote in her book, Faithfull: An Autobiography. As Snopes details, the gossip that was spreading revealed that when the police came to Keith Richards' estate for a drug bust, they came across "an orgy [...] in which Jagger had been licking a Mars candy bar pushed into Marianne's vagina."

As it turns out, there's absolutely no truth to the myth. "The damn story established itself as a set piece of British folklore," an irritated Faithfull wrote in her memoir, adding, "The Mars Bar was a very effective piece of demonizing [...] It was so overdone, with such malicious twisting of the facts." While there's no way of proving what exactly happened that night in 1967, we at least have the following shocker that the starlet shared to NME (via The Guardian) after her split from Jagger: "I slept with three [Rolling Stones] and then I decided the lead singer was the best bet." 

Myth: Mick Jagger formed a band with Bob Dylan and three Beatles

It was a hoax that fooled an entire generation. In the late '60s, rumors started flying that a "supergroup of musicians" met up in Canada to record a bootleg album — one that allegedly featured the likes of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. "[Rolling Stone] was the bible of the music business back then," explained journalist Brian Williams on NBC's Rock Center. "You had the moon landing, Woodstock, and the Vietnam war. Music was huge, and it had the power to change the world."

The story was as follows: In October 1969, Rolling Stone's Greil Marcus wrote "a joke review of a non-existent album" titled Masked Marauders (via Snopes). As Marcus penned in his article (via Rock Center), "It can truly be said that this album is more than a way of life; it is life." Sure enough, readers immediately began calling the magazine's offices, demanding to know when the record was set to come out.

Realizing that the gag had gone too far, Marcus enlisted the help of some Berkeley musicians to record an album. Remarkably, the band nailed the voices of the prolific stars in question, and as Snopes reveals, "The tape received local radio airplay and was eventually bought by Warner Bros. music, who issued it as an album on their Reprise label."

Myth: The Queen's longstanding hate for Mick Jagger comes solely from his image

The Rolling Stones weren't exactly like the Beach Boys when it came to their image. While the California-based crooners were promoting their good vibrations, the Stones were invoking devilish imagery, quite literally dancing with Mr. D. One person who didn't seem to be a fan of the London-based rockers, and in particular, Mick Jagger? None other than Queen Elizabeth.

"The Queen could tolerate the Beatles because they were clean cut. [...] The Stones were an entirely different matter," revealed Harold Brooks-Baker in Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger. So, what did Jagger have to do with the Queen? Well, it turns out, the singer had an "ambiguous relationship with Princess Margaret" (via Entertainment Weekly), and the pair would often talk on the phone, with Mick Jagger even getting invited "to social events." Naturally, the Queen was not amused. "Princess Margaret caused more than her share of scandal," dished Brooks-Baker, adding, "The last thing the Queen wanted was her sister running off with Mick Jagger!"

Queen Elizabeth's resentment toward the singer has lasted decades, and according to The Telegraph, in 2003, she even declined to knight the star, as she didn't have "the stomach" for it — leaving the task for Prince Charles. Hey, it doesn't help that Jagger has been known to call her "Chief Witch," either.

Myth: Mick Jagger was the initial "leader" of the Rolling Stones

When anybody mentions the Rolling Stones, the first two images that come to mind are those of Mick Jagger and, of course, Keith Richards. As Rolling Stone noted in an interview with Jagger, the pair have had "maybe the longest-running song-writing-performing partnership in our times." While the duo is responsible for writing hits like "Satisfaction" together, or the Jagger-written "Sympathy for the Devil," there was actually another ringleader in the band's early days: the Rolling Stones' side guitarist and jack-of-all-trades musician, Brian Jones.

The Rolling Stones' original bassist, Bill Wyman, shed light on the topic during a chat with Yahoo! Entertainment in 2019, revealing that Jones led the band until his death in 1969. "Everybody thinks that it was Mick and Keith's band, but it was Brian's band," he shared, adding, "He chose the music. He chose the name. He was the leader. He signed all the recording contracts, the management contracts, all kinds of things."

In fact, Jagger himself is quick to give credit where credit is due. "He had a huge contribution in the early days. He was very obsessed with it, which you always need," admitted the singer to Rolling Stone, though he went on to say, "He was obsessed. Too obsessed for me. There's a certain enthusiasm, and after that it becomes obsession. [...] And you can't be jealous and be a leader. He was obsessed with the idea of being the leader of the band."

Myth: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have always gotten along

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards go way back. As Jagger told Rolling Stone, "I can't remember when I didn't know [Richards]," as the pair grew up "one street away" from one another. "Keith always played the guitar, from even when he was 5," the singer mused.

Like almost all long-lasting friendships, however, the two musical icons have, of course, bickered — with Richards known to have said some pretty hurtful stuff about his bandmate. In the guitarist's 2010 memoir, Life (via The Washington Post), Richards unabashedly wrote, "It was the beginning of the '80s when Mick started to become unbearable," adding that Jagger had developed a "swollen head" and an "inflated ego." Toward the end of the book, Richards delivers the following punch to the gut: "I used to love to hang with Mick, but I haven't gone to his dressing room in, I don't think, twenty years. Sometimes I miss my friend. Where the hell did he go?"

As journalist Rich Cohen revealed to Vanity Fair, he spoke to Jagger after Richards' memoir was published, explaining that the star was "sorrowful" about his bandmate's words. It took Richards a couple of years before he offered an apology... kind of. As he told Rolling Stone in 2012, "As far as the book goes, it was my story and it was very raw, as I meant it to be, but I know that some parts of it and some of the publicity really offended Mick and I regret that."

Myth: Mick Jagger has always been a bad boy

Mick Jagger has reached such mythical status as a rock icon that many generations don't know of a world where he doesn't exist. "Mick is Elvis in a gold lamé jacket. Mick is Michael Jackson moonwalking across time. One in a million, a freak of nature," gushed journalist and longtime Jagger pal Rich Cohen to Vanity Fair. That being said, has the singer always been a rebel? Well, not quite.

As Philip Norman writes in his biography, Mick Jagger, while the Dartford-born star was still just a schoolboy, he was actually quite tame. "[He] wasn't a rebellious child at all. He was a very pleasant boy [...] and also self-conscious and shy in front of strangers." Jagger echoed a similar sentiment while speaking to Rolling Stone in 1995, explaining that only after he turned 18 and started playing clubs did he start to get female attention. "You're going, 'Well, this is good. You know, this is something else.' At that age you're just so impressed, especially if you've been rather shy before."

So, in an alternate universe, does Jagger see himself in an equally publicized position? His answer may shock you. "A schoolteacher would have been very gratifying, I'm sure," the singer mused to BBC Radio 4's Today (via The Independent). "There are millions of things you would have loved to have done. [...] It is a slightly intellectually undemanding thing to do, being a rock singer." Woe is you, Mick, woe is you.

Myth: "Angie" was written about David Bowie's wife

In 1973, the Rolling Stones released the acoustic song, "Angie," off their album, Goat's Head Soup. As Stereogum details, the single is actually the only Rolling Stones ballad to hit #1, "a numb-but-sensitive breakup ballad, a plea for everything to be over." Since its release, fans have wondered who the enigmatic Angie in question is — with many concluding that it's actually about David Bowie's ex-wife, Angela. As the outlet explains, rumor has it that after Angela allegedly caught her husband and Jagger in bed together, "the Stones wrote her a song to bribe her to keep quiet about it."

Although the obscene scuttlebutt may have made for a fantastic story, it's most likely not authentic. Keith Richards wrote about the making of the song in his 2010 memoir Life, explaining that the song was mostly written by him, not Jagger. Detailing a time he was in a rehab clinic, sitting in bed with his guitar, Richards reveals, "I just went, 'Angie, Angie.' It was not about any particular person; it was a name." Coincidentally, the daughter he shares with late wife Anita Pallenberg was named Angela — and she was born around the same time Richards was at the treatment center.

While other various rumors about the single exist, such as "Angie" being inspired by Jagger's deteriorating relationship with Marianne Faithfull, the fact of the matter is that it most likely has nothing to do with Ziggy Stardust's once-flame.

Myth: Mick Jagger bought a mansion while high on LSD

Keith Richards' autobiography, Life, captivated the rock 'n' roll world. "He tells it with complete, reckless, disclosure," gushed an Independent review of the book, adding that the memoir was honest — a piece of "confessionalism." Considering it was so well-received, the next question is: Why hasn't Mick Jagger written his own no-holds-barred story? Well, actually, he has.

In 2017, John Blake penned a piece for The Spectator, revealing that Jagger wrote "a little masterpiece, a 75,000-word time capsule" in the early '80s — and it's allegedly collecting dust in Blake's home. "Mick was reputedly paid an advance of £1 million," hoping to squash all of the unauthorized memoirs that were being written about him. The book also includes what is now a part of rock mythology: Jagger buying a "historic" multimillion-pound mansion, Stargroves, "while high on acid and of trying out the life of [a] horse-riding country squire." While this story may be true, it also, unfortunately, cannot be proven.

Per The Daily Beast, Blake contacted Jagger to confirm its authenticity. Oddly enough, the star allegedly "couldn't remember whether or not he had worked on such a project" and said that "all the years of drugs and debauchery had fried his brain and he couldn't remember anything." While Blake "believes the manuscript was rejected because it was not salacious enough," it's hard to imagine that the horse-riding, LSD-induced estate purchase is anything but a drop in the bucket of Jagger's outrageous tales.

Myth: Mick Jagger has always been the outgoing type

Mick Jagger's various tales — like that of allegedly bedding 4,000 women or nonchalantly commissioning Andy Warhol for the artwork of Sticky Fingers and bluntly telling him to "decide [his] worth" for the project — show that the Rolling Stones frontman is your quintessential rock star.

While he undoubtedly deserves his status as the effortlessly cool singer, fans would be surprised to find out that Mick Jagger is quite pensive, too. In an astonishingly long interview with Rolling Stone by Jann S. Wenner, the writer reveals Jagger's "natural reserve," adding that he wasn't even entirely "committed" to playing in the Rolling Stones initially, as he was studying at the London School of Economics. "Keith [Richards] and Brian [Jones] didn't have anything else to do, so they wanted to rehearse all the time," Jagger recalled of those early days.

That being said, it looks like being onstage pushed Jagger out of his shell. "I used to do mad things [...] I used to go and do these shows and go on my knees and roll on the ground — when I was 15,16 years old," Jagger told the outlet. "I saw Elvis and Gene Vincent, and I thought, 'Well, I can do this.' And I liked doing it." While the "Start Me Up" hitmaker remembers these days fondly, he's also quick to admit that "if people started throwing tomatoes" at him, he wouldn't be as animated while performing as he's now known to be.

Myth: All Mick Jagger did while touring was party

While there's no denying that there was a dizzying, self-indulgent amount of partying to be had while the Rolling Stones were at the peak of their success, Mick Jagger has also revealed another unexpected pastime in between all his trysts: reading. "Apart from the inevitable, you know," the singer once quipped in an early interview, "one of the best distractions is reading, which I think is better than TV because we really need to get away from the century."

It's not the only time Jagger has chatted about his hobby, either. In 1995, the frontman told Rolling Stone that he's a fan of Alexander Pushkin, praising his usage of personal experiences embellished with imagination. Another literary great in Jagger's eyes? Charles Baudelaire.

Jagger's former girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, was also a big influence on his love for literature, especially around the time that the Rolling Stones' 1968 album, Beggars Banquet, was being made. "I was just writing a lot, reading a lot. I was educating myself," he recalled. "I was reading a lot of poetry, I was reading a lot of philosophy." In fact, it's thanks to Faithfull that Jagger read Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece, The Master and Margarita — which sparked his imagination and thus helped him write "Sympathy for the Devil."