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Mick Jagger’s 80 Wildest, Coolest, Most Outrageous Moments

Happy 80th birthday to a man of wealth and taste

Mick Jagger


WHEN ASKED TO describe Mick Jagger, Keith Richards famously replied, “He’s a nice bunch of guys.” On this birthday, let’s celebrate all of them. There have been so many Mick Jaggers over the years, with their different highs and lows. Here’s a salute to the 80 Coolest Mick Jagger moments: a mere 80 of the countless moments when Mick reminded us all why he’s the ultimate rock star. He’s always been the most visible of rock stars — but also the most mysterious, the most slippery, the one you’ll never figure out no matter how hard you try. This is Mick at his most seductive. Mick at his most decadent. Mick at his most comical. But it’s all Mick defining the outer limits of rock & roll cool. Let it bleed, now and forever.


Mick redefines sex in the ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ video

Michael Lindsay-Hogg directed this revolutionary clip of Mick leading the Stones through their new hit. The Prince of Darkness dances up to the camera, war paint on his face. He does his insolent stare right into your eyes and steals your very soul. His green velvet suit is open in front, with a tattoo of a clock on his chest. He does all the Mick moves you’ve seen so many times, but never scarier than they are right now. Charlie and Bill are done up in mascara. Mick and Brian glower in their shades. It’s the most jolting footage of Mick in action, even though there’s no nudity, no violence, nothing at all but him lost in this song. He’s here to ruin your world. He’s here to warp your mind. He’s up to no good and he absolutely means it.


Mick gets punched out by Charlie Watts

One night in Amsterdam, a tipsy Mick calls Charlie’s hotel room in the wee hours to ask, “Where’s my drummer?” The mild-mannered Charlie just hangs up the phone, gets dressed up in his finest suit and tie, shines his shoes, even puts on cologne, heads to Mick’s room, knocks on the door — and punches him in the face. Charlie warns him, “Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer.” Mick never pulls that again.


Mick redefines sex in ‘Midnight Rambler,’ live at Madison Square Garden

The Gimme Shelter doc is famous for the Altamont nightmare, but the most shocking moments come earlier on the Stones’ U.S. tour, as Mick bumps and grinds through “Midnight Rambler.” He slithers in his skintight black catsuit to announce, “I think I burst a button on me trousers. I ‘ope they don’t fall down. You don’t want my trousers to fall down, now do you?” The fans explode like they’re having one big simultaneous orgasm.


‘Nude Girl in Fur Rug’

The most infamous rock-star bust of the Sixties: Mick, Keith, and Marianne Faithful are coming down from an acid trip at Keith’s country mansion Redlands when the cops come crashing in. The tabloid headlines scream, “Naked Girl in Stones Party” and “Nude Girl in Fur Rug!” The drug squad includes two female cops — one for Marianne, one for Pattie Boyd Harrison, but George and Pattie slip away from the party just in the nick of time. The rumor that the cops walked in on a sex orgy involving a Mars chocolate bar? Not true. However, Marianne is authentically and extremely naked, having just bathed, and draped in a fur rug. The cops fail to notice Keith’s cocaine, because they have no idea what it is — but they confiscate his stash of hotel soaps. Mick gets busted for a couple of measly speed pills. The bust and subsequent drug trial immortalizes the Stones’ legend as foes of the establishment.


Mick goes walking in Central Park, singing after dark, people think he’s <em>craaay-zaaay</em>

Just when it looked like the Stones were going to fade away into professional rock smarm, Mick saved their bacon with Some Girls, an album of mega-bitchy songs about losing his mind in New York City, in the aftermath of his marriage. It’s their most Mick-dominated album — and their all-time bestseller. In the hit “Miss You,” he faces up to the kind of heartbreak he’s spent his life dancing around, wandering through the city, shuffling barefoot through the street, with total strangers asking, “What’s the matter witchoo, boy?”


Mick and Anita Pallenberg redefine ‘method acting’ in their sex scenes for ‘Performance’

The movie begins with Mick and Anita in the heat of passion. And as actors, these two are extremely devoted to the spirit of cinema verité. So they make the sex extra realistic by … maybe not quite faking it for the camera. The day they film these scenes, on the other side of town, her boyfriend Keith Richards is in an understandably dark mood. The song he writes that day? “Gimme Shelter.”


Mick vs. David Bowie in the ‘Dancing in the Streets’ video

A comedy genius dance-off. Two of the proudest rock divas ever face off to strut their stuff, both out for blood. Jagger and Bowie try to top each other, stealing each other’s moves, wiggling their jazz hands and shaking their asses. Funniest moment: While David does his prancing, Mick bends down to grab his beer, takes a swig, then goes back into battle with Bowie. Who wins? We all do.


Mick plays Oscar Wilde in the ‘We Love You’ video

The Stones give thanks to their public for all the support, after their 1967 drug bust, with backup Beatle vocals from John and Paul. They go literary for the video, re-enacting the 1895 sodomy trial of Oscar Wilde. Mick goes on trial for crimes of forbidden passion, while Marianne Faithfull plays his lover Lord Alfred Douglas. Keith, of course, plays the judge.


Mick redefines sex in the final minute of ‘Let It Bleed’

This honky-tonk hoedown groove gets raunchier as it goes along, as Mick tarts it up with his sluttiest schoolgirl gasps over Keith’s guitar. He urges you to rest your weary head on his breasts, and ends up begging you to splash your bodily fluids all over him. In 1969, when the Stones’ music was full of dread and doom, “Let It Bleed” was a moment where the sex drive could win out over the death drive. Even if the song gives you the suspicion that Mick Jagger’s one true erotic obsession will always be Mick Jagger.


‘Don’t Look Back,’ with Peter Tosh

The Jamaican legend scores a U.S. reggae hit with a Motown remake, dueting with Mick. (It came out on Rolling Stones Records.) It’s some strange chemistry — the most solemn of the Wailers, with Mick in prancing-fop mode? But it works. In the video, when Mick busts out his “Buster Keaton on poppers” shimmy, even Tosh can’t help cracking a smile.


Mick meets the press, gives update on satisfaction levels

On the eve of the Stones’ historic U.S. tour, Mick calls a press conference where a reporter asks, four years after “Satisfaction”: “Are you more satisfied now?” Mick has the perfect reply: “Financially dissatisfied. Sexually satisfied. Philosophically trying.” Now that’s a rock star.


Mick redefines the words ‘Oh, Yeah’ in ‘Rocks Off’

Countless singers over the years have done things to the sacred rock & roll mantra “oh yeah,” but nobody’s ever made it sound filthier than Mick. In just two syllables, he welcomes you into the decadent nightmare that is Exile on Main Street, the most rock & roll of all rock & roll albums and a complete tour of the Mick universe at its most morally depraved. He makes “oh, yeah” sound like a warning — but also an invitation you can’t resist.


Mick gets out of jail, celebrates with a cocktail party while wearing a button that says ‘Mick Is Sex’

How does Mick Jagger celebrate leaving Brixton Prison on bail, after his drug bust? He goes straight from jail to a bash where he sips an iced vodka and lime, while announcing to the press, “There’s not much difference between a cell and a hotel room in Minnesota. And I do my best thinking in places without distractions.”


Mick redefines evil in ‘Sympathy for the Devil’

Please allow him to introduce himself. He’s a man of wealth and taste. The essence of Mick Jagger is all here in this six-minute epic. His madman bravado. His seductive sneer. His androgynous glimmer. His satanic majesty. The way he cackles, “Mmmmmean it!” That conga beat. That “hoo-hoo” chant. The way he whoops along with Keith’s out-of-nowhere guitar solo. But most of all, the way he keeps daring you to chase him through that funhouse of mirrors he has for a soul, trying to figure him out, trying to hang a name on him, trying to guess the nature of his game. This song sums up why he’s the most elusive and unknowable of rock stars. But it also sums up why he’s the one who’s kept the whole world obsessed for all these years. Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed his name.