It's amazing, too, that we're still talking about Mick and the Stones fifty years following their debut. Jagger remains relevant in song and pop culture - he recently hosted a season finale of Saturday Night Live, his name is practically synonymous with confident swagger, and the band plans to tour in 2013. I still have my stub from the Steel Wheels tour in 1989 - I'd thought that would be my last chance to see them live. Good thing I didn't bet money on that belief.
Back to the book. I finished this over a weekend. Where Mick is short on words (it's a good 200+ pages shorter than Keith Richards's Life, which I will read one day), it definitely makes up for the many instances of glossing over his young life by piling on the gossip. I would imagine, even if you don't follow the Stones religiously, you're aware of Jagger's reputation with the ladies. Here, you get names - lots of names. In fact, one could probably summarize this book as comprising:
- The history of Mick Jagger's sex life.
- The history of Mick Jagger's narcissism.
If you have followed Jagger's personal life and career, I doubt you'll find anything here to surprise you. As a moderate fan (one concert and ownership of a greatest hits compilation) nothing in this book shocked me. I'd heard the stories of bisexual romps and Jerry Hall's never-ending pursuit of a ring and a date, and while it appears Andersen attempted to arouse curiosity through a blind item about a tryst with two Shindig! regulars a trip to Wikipedia solved that mystery. This led me to question how well this book had been researched - among events presented as fact included the legendary Mars Bar incident of '67, which Snopes.com and others have refuted.
Readers are called upon here to merely accept many things happened - Mick slept with this woman, punched that photographer, then slept with that woman. Andersen's simple style actually left me bored as I read, which baffled me. Jagger hardly seems the boring type. Of course, I did find it a challenge to sympathize with him through chapters detailing his lack of parenting skills, and loyalty toward friends who didn't want Jagger messing around with their women.
Philip Norman, whose bio of John Lennon I have read, publishes his Jagger bio in October. It will be interesting to read this take in comparison to Andersen's to see if there is more to this man.