This Historic Day In Music: Mick Jagger

A few years after Ringo Starr inspired me to learn to play the drums (see my post of July 9, 2011: “Belated Birthday Wishes”), my young infatuation with the Beatles began to fade.

By the time I entered high school, I was a Rolling Stones fan.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman were fascinating, mysterious and, or so it seemed to this small-town-New-Hampshire boy, rather dangerous characters. And though I somehow sensed even then that Keith and Charlie were the glue that kept this band musically together, Mick was, quite clearly, the Man.

As a growing guitar player in the early 1970’s, my most-turned-to song book was a Rolling Stones collection which featured the music printed in white ink on deep blue paper. I built my left-hand fingertip calluses mastering the chord progressions to many Jagger & Richards creations including: “Play With Fire,” “Paint It Black,” “Lady Jane” and “Mother’s Little Helper.” 

One of my favorite listening albums in those days was the Rolling Stones’ 1966 release Big Hits: High Tides and Green Grass. But the 1967 Stones LP Flowers, an American compilation of British-released B-sides and album tracks,  delivered more songs (“Back Street Girl” and “Sittin’ On A Fence”) that I just had to learn how to play.

Many years later, taking my cue from how the Byrds transformed Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages,” I re-arranged “Ruby Tuesday” into an up-tempo waltz. In performance, I would introduce the song by proposing that, if the Stones had been a Folk band, this is what “Ruby Tuesday” might have sounded like.

I could go on.

(The Rolling Stones at Boston Garden, November 29, 1969, 2nd show? I was there.)

The instigation for all of this reminiscing was my amazing wife who asked me last night: “Do you know that tomorrow is Mick Jagger’s birthday?”

“No!” said I.

Mick Jagger was born Michael Philip Jagger on this day, July 26, in 1943, in Dartford, Kent, England.

The Rolling Stones did their first gig on July 12, 1962, in London, England and released their first album, The Rolling Stones (England’s Newest Hitmakers), on May 30, 1964.

They were, and still are, The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band.

If you don’t believe me, watch (and listen to) the DVD of  “Shine A Light,” the 2008 Martin Scorsese-directed film of the Stones’ 2006 concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Very Highly Recommended.

Happy 68th Birthday, Mick.

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