Mick Jagger is the constant force pushing The Rolling Stones into new sonic territories. If Keith had his way, the band would be playing Chuck Berry tunes for the rest of time. If Charlie had his way, The Stones would be a jazz group. But throughout their recording career, Jagger was the leading voice intent on adapting to new trends, keeping up on modern styles, and pushing the band to reflect the times that they were in.
As such, when the 1980s rolled around, Jagger was insistent that the band focus on music videos. This was nothing new: the band had created promotional videos for ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll’ well before the advent of MTV, and the entire band understood the visual power that videos could carry. But it was Jagger who pushed the band into the MTV era, resulting in narrative videos like ‘Undercover of the Night’ and animated-live action hybrids like ‘Harlem Shuffle’.
By 1993, the glitz and glam of ’80s music videos were long gone. After the grunge explosion, more experimental filmmaking began to creep into the world of music videos. Jagger, who had appeared in some art-house cinema himself, was keen on videos that were more than just the standard-issue promotional clips.
When Jagger sat down with VJ Pip Dann to personally cultivate a playlist of videos, the results were from a wide array of artists, with ZZ Top getting an unexpected shout out at the beginning. It’s not certain which song Jagger played, but he commented on the band’s “surrealness” in creating their own world with the beards, hot rods, and fantasy storylines. And he also mentioned he liked the band’s riffs.
Jagger also got his kicks from some of the more lewd and sexy affairs, picking Motley Crue’s ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ for how much the band were able to get away with showing on MTV. “This is the best, or worst, sexist ‘girls on the pole’ strip show,” he said. “The nearest you can get on MTV: a strip show with a generic metal band playing, sort of wiggling their mouths. This is it as far as I’m concerned.”
Transitioning to his work with The Stones, Jagger spent a fair amount of the interview talking about the controversy that surrounded ‘Undercover of the Night’, due to its violent content. According to Jagger, the video, like the song, was intended to be a statement against the political corruption in South America.
“We went to work on this piece from a political point of view, because it’s a political song,” Jagger says. “So we put specifically a political video to it, which is relatively rare for The Rolling Stone and relatively rare, really in videos, where you want to see a little more skirt.”
“There was a cut which was pretty violent,” Jagger continues. “The BBC banned it. So then it’s controversial.” Jagger also mentions the video for ‘Too Much Blood’ and the similar reaction that followed its gratuitous content. Jagger also comments on ‘Say You Will’ from 1987’s Primitive Cool and ‘Sweet Thing’ from the then-current release Wandering Spirit.
Check out the interview down below.