Mick Jagger is a man whose life is screaming to be made into a biopic. The Rolling Stones’ charismatic, swaggering frontman has had a life of many ups and downs, and it reads like a chronicle of the hedonists of old, a modern-day Lord Byron, if you will.
His life has featured myriad romances, excess, tragic deaths and an innumerable number of iconic songs to boot, and to be frank, the way he and his partner in crime, guitarist Keith Richards, have eluded death for so long is nothing short of remarkable.
The duo are triumphant remnants of those heady days of the ‘classic’ era of rock ‘n’ roll, and they are counted amongst the very last survivors of the swinging ’60s and the excessive ’70s where the genre of rock music was in its supremacy.
Given the fact that in musical terms, they have been nothing short of world-beaters since first breaking through in the early ’60s, The Rolling Stones are fittingly revered as one of the finest rock outfits of all time.
This rare status has opened doors to many a rare experience, and on-stage and off-stage, every member who has come and gone has had more than their fair share of wild tales to tell.
In addition to reaching echelons of society that are widely unavailable to the average human, Jagger and Co. have also befriended a whole host of other icons. One noteworthy example is how Richards shared a kindred spirit with the late virtuoso Jimi Hendrix, and as for Jagger, he seems to have crossed every inch of the plain of stardom, including comedian Rob Brydon; but that is a tale for another day.
The most memorable friend Jagger had in music, outside of the raucous confines of The Rolling Stones, was undoubtedly the late David Bowie. Whether it be the somewhat hollow rumours of a love affair between the pair, or 1985’s number on the cover of ‘Dancing in the Street’, Bowie and Jagger came to embody a sort of yin and yang essence – separate sides of the same iconoclastic coin.
Although there are tales that the two drifted apart later in life, after the news of Bowie’s tragic passing in 2016 when discussing his old friend, Jagger was kind enough to reveal to audiences which Bowie song was his favourite. He explained that his pick reminded him of an exciting time in his life. This is interesting because, for Bowie, the song represented somewhat of the opposite, a period that he saw as a negative chapter in his career, a time when fame overtook his artistic sensibilities.
After Bowie left the earthly realm, Rolling Stone conducted an extensive interview with Jagger wherein he recounted his friendship with the starman. Again, he reiterated that he and Bowie had become estranged over the previous couple of decades but that he still cherished the memories he shared with Brixton’s favourite son. “We were very close in the ’80s in New York,” Jagger remembered. “We’d hang out a lot and go out to dance clubs. We were very influenced by the New York downtown scene back then.”
This intoxicating, dazzling environment is what influenced Jagger’s choice, and his favourite song of Bowie’s brings him back to those colourful, hedonistic days. The Stones frontman said: “That’s why ‘Let’s Dance’ is my favourite song of his — it reminds me of those times, and it has such a great groove.”
Jagger also discussed the true majesty of Bowie‘s artistry: “He had a chameleon-like ability to take on any genre, always with a unique take, musically and lyrically.” Ascribing Bowie the chameleonic title is the most fitting in the whole of the English vernacular, as no other adjective accounts for the measure of his artistry more.
Never afraid to try new things and never confined to a singular genre of music, Bowie expertly straddled the mainstream of music and its peripheries and was in many ways a true individualist – a product of his time. He utilised both traditional compositional techniques and modern technology to cultivate an experimental sound. This intrinsic versatility appealed as much to the average consumer of music as it did to the very belligerent, John Cusack-esque muso.
Furthermore, who can forget his keen understanding of the power of the audio-visual partnership? This is another key element of his artistry that was truly pioneering. Loved by peers, critics and fans alike, it is sure that there will never be another David Bowie. He helped to open the floodgates for difference and truly unique personalities within music and culture. Without him, there would be no Björk, Charli XCX, SOPHIE or even Kate Bush. Let that sink in.
Listen to the unforgettable ‘Let’s Dance’ below.