Michael Philip Jagger turned 80 on July 26 2023. Michael Philip Jagger, who is that? It’s Mick Jagger, but such is the recognition of the name “Mick Jagger,” that few people think of him as Michael, never mind his full given name. Sir Mick can count himself lucky that his bandmate Keith Richards (who will turn 80 on 18 December 2023) has attracted more than his fair share of jokes and memes relating to age and the Rolling Stones. Keith has been photoshopped into any number of ancient scenes.
Standing amongst the shepherds at the Nativity, watching the pyramids being built, you name it, Keith as he looks now, all craggy faced and knobbly fingered, has been pasted in. Half of the gag is that Keith helped establish the archetype of the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, yet he rolls on when many have succumbed. The other half concerns the myth that rock ‘n roll as played by the Stones epitomises youthful rebellion. Keith, the joke suggests, is seemingly immortal. This video focuses on Mick at 79:
What an energetic performance from Mick Jagger! Even now, few front persons of any rock band match the dynamism of his stage presence. Mick dances and prances and primps and preens as much as he’s ever done since Tina Turner taught him how to dance and since The Stones started playing large stadium gigs that prompted the frontman to become an entertainer as much as a singer. Colt-ii4qn comments, “Make no mistake Mick trains like a pro athlete to be able to do this at his age. Still unbelievable”
Squint your eyes, forget that Out of Control is from Bridges to Babylon (1997), and this could be Mick Jagger at any Stones gig after, say, Some Girls (1978). Bear in mind that Stockholm, where the video was filmed, was the second last concert of the Sixty tour of Europe (14 gigs, with the last 9 at a rate of two a week). This was the only performance of Out Of Control on the tour. It was played after Out Of Time, a song from 1966 that the Stones had never played at a concert before the Sixty tour.
I’ve long loved the riff and vocal melody of Out of Time, so I’m glad that The Stones have reminded fans of this deep cut. The above video was the first night of the Sixty tour (Madrid, 1 June 2022) hence it was the first time that Out of Time was played in what Rolling Stone describes as a “concert setting”.
Going back to age and the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger is not immune to age related jibes and memes. I’ve seen side-by-side images comparing Jagger to the late Queen Elizabeth for instance. The incongruity of his performance style and his age is also sometimes mentioned. He doesn’t need to be so buoyant and bouncy and pouty anymore, it is said. Then again, if you’re playing large stadiums, the whole band can’t just slink around like Keith. You need some spectacle, and Mick provides it.
Personally. age-related jousts make me uncomfortable, even so, it is understandable that the age of the members of The Rolling Stones is an issue. Country musicians and blues players can age without raising much of an eye, but rock ‘n roll’s strong association with youthful alienation is in large part due to the Rolling Stones. The best person to respond to these issues is the young Mick Jagger. In August 1972 Mick was interviewed by Dick Cavett shortly before a show. Cavett asked 29-year-old Jagger if he could see himself still performing the way he was performing at 60. Jagger replied, “Yeah, easily.” Cavett said: “Really? Going onstage with a cane and moving the way you do?” Jagger responded: “There’s a lot of people that do it at 60, I think it’s a bit weird, you know they really seem to still get their rocks off …”. From 4m10s, in the video below:
There is talk of a new Rolling Stones album dropping very soon and the possibility of a US tour this year. Brian Jones is long gone, Charlie Watts is dead, Bill Wyman retired years ago, but the Stones keep rolling. Long live The Rolling Stones!
If you would like to see more from The Rolling Stones, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook or Instagram. You can also visit their official website for more information.