Mick Jagger has always been a reggae fan, and throughout his career, he has attempted to integrate the genre into his work plenty of times which has led to some mixed results, to put it politely.
He has owned a mansion in Jamaica for close to half a century, and it’s quite literally a second home for The Stones frontman. Jagger is a fan of all things Jamaican, and the culture has a special place in his heart. Whenever he gets an opportunity, even to this day, he’ll spend time in the Caribbean, and as a music lover, there’s no better place to be.
“We were interested from a rhythmic point of view, so we started to play reggae beats, and the rest of them picked it up,” Jagger told Rolling Stone about how Charlie Watts introduced the band to the genre, “I’m sure Keith (Richards) would say something different.”
Following the split of the legendary reggae band, The Wailers, The Rolling Stones signed Peter Tosh to their label. However, he never managed to replicate the successes of his former bandmate Bob Marley and would eventually leave Rolling Stones Records in 1981. “Peter was an edgy guy and was frustrated a lot of the time,” Jagger once noted. “Bob Marley got so big, and that probably annoyed him.”
Tosh grew tired of the lack of promotion the band gave him and felt like his career had stalled while on their watch. In truth, their time together produced little of note and ended up with Tosh falling out with a band with who he previously shared a tight-knit bond. However, Jagger did collaborate with Tosh for a cover of The Temptations’ ‘Don’t Look Back’ and even performed it with him on one occasion while well medicated.
Speaking about the collaboration with The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1978, Jagger reflected: “He wanted to join our label because he was fed up of the one he was on because it was the wrong colour,” he quizzically joked. “They were very nice when we got to know them and work with him. We thought it was just going to be out on the label, they give us a record, and we promote it, but we found ourselves in the same studio complex.”
Jagger added: “He’s not a protégé of mine. I mean I like him, but he doesn’t really need introducing by me. It’s not like he’s a young kid, he’s older than me even, which is quite an achievement these days,” he self-deprecatingly added.
Even though the relationship between the two artists strained, one gem that did come from the Jamaican’s time on the label was this hazed-up performance of ‘Don’t Look Back’.