Mick Jagger turns 70 | Music | DW | 26.07.2013
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Mick Jagger turns 70

The Stones' front man didn't have to wait long for success. But what might have become of Mick Jagger if he hadn't let himself get caught urinating in public on the side of a gas station in 1965?

Together with band mates Brian Jones and Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger was charged in 1965 in England with indecent behavior. It was an episode the cemented the Rolling Stones' bad boy image, delivering fans the proof - albeit in a rather tasteless way - that the Stones were rebels. Shortly thereafter, the band's song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" became a worldwide smash and the anthem of an entire generation.

Calculating how much a particular move is worth - that has long been the specialty of the band's front man and former business student. Mick Jagger combines two talents that don't always harmonize. On the one hand, he's the cool and cunning businessman, but he's also the charismatic lead singer of a band whose image has always been bound up with scandal.

One of Jagger's clever calculations was to play up the rebellious side, since the Beatles had already occupied the charts with their boy-next-door image. Today, even Mick Jagger himself can probably no longer separate what was intended as theatrics from what became reality. He likes to downplay the band's scandalous era, saying they were just a "teeny bop band" who never had any intentions of creating a rebellious image.

July 30, 1968, Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Mick Jagger in 1968

Born in a train station

For Mick Jagger's friend and the ex-Stones guitarist Brian Jones, however, the teeny bop band led him into drug addiction and a tragic death in 1969. Together with Jones and mutual friend Keith Richards, Mick Jagger had started the Rolling Stones after getting his feet wet as a singer in Alexis Korner's blues band.

Legend has it that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met at the train station in Dartford in the county of Kent. The Stones' future lead singer was also born in Dartford on July 26, 1943, as Michael Philip Jagger. On that same day in 1961, he found himself on the way from his hometown to the London School of Economics, where he was enrolled as a student. Richards, whom Mick Jagger knew from school in Dartford, also wanted to head to London. The two decided to meet up again and make music. About a year later, the Rolling Stones were born.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have continued to collaborate on writing the band's biggest hits right up to the present. As songwriting teams go, they're comparable perhaps only to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. With his exalted stage presence, Jagger lends the Stones an unmistakable trademark, while Richard serves up the band's one-of-a-kind guitar riffs.

Screaming fans during the Rolling Stones' first German concert in Münster (Photo: Otto Noecker (c) dpa - Report)

Ecstatic fans at the band's first concert on German soil

The Stones in Germany

It was in 1965 that Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones first took the stage in Germany, giving a concert in Münster on September 11. The audience was euphoric - just as fans had been during tours in England and the United States before.

Four days later, it was clear to Germany, too, just how much rebellious potential the band was capable of unleashing. The Stones' concert at Berlin's Waldbühne ended with the total destruction of the venue. Police officers and fans skirmished for hours, and the amphitheater itself wasn't rebuilt and put back into operation for seven years.

Mick Jagger in private

The group's lead singer has a private life no less storied than that of his band. In 1970, he told the German magazine "Musik Express" that he had no intentions of settling down for a bourgeois life with a wife and children. One year later, he was married to Bianca Perez Morena. His first daughter, however, was born around the same time, in 1970, to singer Marsha Hunt. Jagger's first marriage held until 1979 and the divorce cost him an estimated 2.5 million dollars.

His second marriage with Jerry Hall lasted from 1990 to 1999, and at his side now is the American fashion designer L'Wren Scott. Mick Jagger has fathered at least seven children and is a grandfather twice over, but there seems to be little time for his wide-ranging family. If he's not traveling with the Rolling Stones, then there's usually a solo project in the works, or the iconic singer can be found performing with famous colleagues.

Tina Turner reacts as Mick Jagger grabs her tight during their duo at the Live Aid concert in 1995 (AP-Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Two superstars share the stage in 1995: Tina Turner and Mick Jagger

Beyond the band

In 1985, Mick Jagger followed in the footsteps of other band members by releasing his first solo album, "She's the Boss," which struck the right chord with fans. Further albums followed, including a "Best of" in 2007.

The list of artists with whom he has collaborated since 1972 as a musician and singer is as long as it is dazzling. Names like Carly Simon, Tina Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis or David Bowie are included. It was with Bowie that Mick Jagger recorded the worldwide hit "Dancing in the Street" in 1985 as a benefit project for Live Aid.

Mick Jagger has also appeared in films ever since his 1970 debut in "Kelly, the Bandit." In 2001, he worked with George Hickenlooper on "The Man from Elysian Fields."

German film director Werner Herzog once said of Jagger, "People have never given him enough credit as someone who could have been very big as an actor." But maybe it's not too late.

The Rolling Stones perform live in Hyde Park in London in July 2013 (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)

July 2013 at Hyde Park: The Stones are still at it

No end in sight

In 2003, Jagger repeated a special reward for his restless artistic spirit. Prince Charles knighted him, citing his "services to popular music." So it's now Sir Mick Jagger, if you please.

As for the Rolling Stones, their story is still not at its end. The band is on tour again in 2013 - less, however, as rebels and more as a premium attraction. Ticket prices range from 255 to 1,995 euros ($339 to $2,650). That's surely thanks in part to the perpetual businessman inside of Sir Mick.

Earning plenty of money is still part of the game even after his 70th birthday on July 26. Many of his peers are retired, while Mick Jagger is still on stage.

In an interview, Keith Richards summed things up in a way Mick Jagger could surely get behind, saying the band has no intentions of stopping as long as things remain fun. Retirement, Richards noted, can wait.

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