Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue

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A biography and cultural examination of the Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger's spectacular life and the cultural revolution he led.

As the Rolling Stones' legendary front man Mick Jagger remains an enigma. He hasn't given an in-depth interview for a decade and a half and never commented on his friend and partner, Keith Richard's often critical biography. Drawing on firsthand recollections from rockers, filmmakers, writers, radicals, and other artists who have been ...

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Overview

A biography and cultural examination of the Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger's spectacular life and the cultural revolution he led.

As the Rolling Stones' legendary front man Mick Jagger remains an enigma. He hasn't given an in-depth interview for a decade and a half and never commented on his friend and partner, Keith Richard's often critical biography. Drawing on firsthand recollections from rockers, filmmakers, writers, radicals, and other artists who have been transformed by Mick Jagger's work, acclaimed music journalist Marc Spitz has created a unique examination of the Jagger legacy, debunking long held myths and restoring his status as a complicated artist. Combining biography with cultural history, Jagger unfolds like a captivating documentary, a series of episodes tracing the icon's rise from his childhood in middle-class postwar London to his status as a jet-setting knight.

A culturally astute, often funny, and painstakingly researched read, Jagger offers a far richer portrait than biographies published previously. The book reveals much about his relationships (with Marianne Faithfull and ex-wives Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall); his complex, creative partnership with Keith Richards; his friends like John Lennon and David Bowie; and enemies like Hells Angels leader Sonny Barger. Spitz goes even deeper, exploring Jagger's many roles: an authentic soul man; powerful social commentator; sexual liberator; would-be movie star; and yes, sometimes, a shrewd businessman with an enthusiasm for much younger women. The myth of Mick is examined and rebooted for the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In the summer of 1960, old primary school buddies Mick Jagger and Keith Richards accidentally crossed paths again and discovered that they shared musical interests. The rest, as they say, is history. The Rolling Stones have become a worldwide institution, but perhaps surprisingly, its most visible member also remains its most secretive: For fifteen years, Jagger has refused in-depth interviews and has yet to comment on his partner's often critical Life. This comprehensive, well-researched biography by Vanity Fair music blogger Marc Spitz finally promises full satisfaction for Mick's many fans, providing unprecedented coverage of the singer's life and career on and off the stage. The richest portrait yet of a big-lipped icon.

Publishers Weekly
As Spitz (Bowie: A Biography) writes: "When we think of the Rolling Stones, we think of the heart and we think of the groin. We don't dwell on the brain." In this biography, Spitz shows how Jagger's shifting personas influenced public perception, while keeping the band culturally relevant. Spitz discusses the band's appearance on the T.A.M.I. Show (when they were forced to follow James Brown), Jagger's relationships with Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger, and Jerry Hall, and the tragic Altamont, but examines these moments from a cultural rather than a historical context, illustrating how these public spectacles affected his reputation and personality. The gifted and insightful Spitz wisely chooses to eschew a linear, year-by-year chronicle of minutiae, instead assuming deep reader familiarity with Jagger, the Stones, and the band's key albums. This shorthand enables him to cover tremendous ground, while re-examining Jagger as a musician and a person. However, Jagger doesn't emerge as a particularly sympathetic character. In a choice between Mick and Keith, most readers would still rather be Keith. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Riding the wave of interest in the Rolling Stones after the well-deserved success of Keith Richards's Life, this biography focuses on the more flamboyant of the two Glimmer Twins. Spitz (Bowie; We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk) skips many biographical details and skims over long periods of Mick Jagger's 50 years in the public eye to explore a few key events in his career, including the then-young rocker's 1967 drug arrest, the 1969 Altamont concert killing, and his 1985 venture into solo recording. Spitz ties together these sporadic episodes by repeatedly turning to the long-standing artistic and personal tension between the trend-hopping Jagger and the staunchly traditionalist Richards. Spitz relies mainly on previous research and old interviews, adding fresh insight from Jagger colleagues and confidants such as Stones cofounder Dick Taylor. VERDICT This minor work succeeds as a superficial but entertaining exploration of certain aspects of Jagger's life and career and will have to suffice until a definitive biography or, better yet, an autobiography is published. Readers may get a little closer to understanding the notoriously reticent Jagger, but he remains a mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/11.]—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Library Journal
Move over, Keith; it's Mick's turn. But the famously reticent Jagger won't tell his own story. Instead, Vanity Fair's music blogger, who's already assayed David Bowie, talks to Jagger's friends and enemies to get the full picture. Perhaps not as big as Richards's Life, but there will be interest.
Popmatters.com
“Stones fans and popular music readers can rest comfortably knowing that Jagger is not only an engaging biography, but also a compelling work of cultural criticism.”
Vogue
“[A] picaresque biography.”
New York Times
“An eager hagiography that takes aim at Mr. Richards while trumpeting Mr. Jagger’s overlooked fine qualities. Spitz knows enough about the Stones’ history to pick good shots and leave out the dull stuff.”
The Boston Globe
“His history is every bit as compelling as the one portrayed by Richards in his recent autobiography”
Booklist
“Competently enough written, this is a pleasant read that nicely puts all the old stories in some order, referencing discarded lovers, dalliances, and other time-honored themes.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592406555
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/8/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Marc Spitz is the author of five previous books, including the acclaimed Bowie: A Biography, selected by the New York Post as required reading and by ELLE magazine as a book club pick. Spitz is the music blogger for vanityfair.com and his writing has appeared in Spin, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Maxim. He lives in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Intro "Brenda" 1

1 "I Dig to Sing" 17

2 "Preaching the Blues" 29

3 "Stone of Hope" 45

4 "As Tears Go By" 61

5 "We Piss Anywhere, Man" 71

6 "Under the Influence of Bail" 81

7 "I Went Down to the Demonstration" 105

8 "So, Remember Who You Say You Are…" 119

9 All My Friends Are Junkies" 137

10 "The New Judy Garland" 155

11 "Infamous" 167

12 "The Ballad of a Vain Man" 181

13 "The South's Answer to the Rutles" 193

14 "Punker Than Punk, Ruder Than Rude" 203

15 "It's Nice to Have a Chick Occasionally" 213

16 "State of Shock" 223

17 "Look in My Eyes, What Do You See?" 237

18 "An Evil Face" 253

19 "The Red Devils' Blues" 263

20 "A Knight of the Realm" 271

21 "Who Wants Yesterday's Papers?" 279

Epilogue: "Onstage with a Cane" 287

Acknowledgments 293

Bibliography 295

Index 303

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Rock on

    When you conjure the image of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger you get two modern pop icons. However they both tend to get different responses. One, Keith Richards seems to be the cool older brother that all the girls swoon over. The man's man who oozes a certain electricity.
    The other Mick Jagger, who is talented does none of these. He seems like the obnoxious little brother that you want to beg off to go back into his room.
    Writer Marc Spitz takes you on a journey in Jagger to get a fuller picture of Jagger. He is a music blogger and pop culture observer. What you end up with is a behind the scene tale of the life of a rock star.
    Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue by Marc Spitz paints a fascinating portrait of an individual who has been able to keep up with the changing times.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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