Mick Jagger (at 80)

Mick Jagger, March 2023 – photo via DJ Gerry from Starlight Music

Mick Jagger  turns eighty today.  We don’t believe it!

Quite a number of years ago, Allen’s teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was giving a series of talks at Naropa Institute about art and the dharma. During the question-and-answer session after one of these talks, Trungpa, (not especially appreciative of rock, and of Mick Jagger – “too Coca-Cola oriented”), and Allen, (a huge fan, of course), had the following exchange:

AG: Well, have you had the experience of majesty, a sense of majesty and calm and centeredness in any rock and roll you’ve heard?

CTR: Unfortunately not. I’ve tried very hard, haven’t I?  I’ve tried very hard. I thought at some point that I was missing something  [laughs] but it turned out that I wasn’t missing anything at all. [laughs]

AG: I have experienced some of that in Mick Jaggers work. I am particularly impressed by his attention to time, his precision in the timing of his singing, a technique which he’s brought from black blues into white music and then amplified, so that everybody could hear more clearly. Have you heard that at all in him or, say (Bob) Dylan?

CTR: I’ve listened to a lot of Mick Jagger because at one point he was about to become my student, in England. Instead he began to turn to black-magic music…He has tremendous interest in Aleister Crowley

AG: I’ve been impressed by his curiosity and inquisitiveness . . .

CTR: That is good actually. Jagger could make a good Buddhist. But unfortunately, it is not so. And my vision of rock and roll is not purely from him.  Whenever they hear “Saturday Night Fever,” my students and friends go wild. [laughs] They become un-dharmic on the spot. They become somebody else. They become somebody else. I can’t talk to them, absolutely not!  [more laughter]


Allen writes in The Fall of America Journals of his collaboration with Jagger and The Rolling Stones in 1967 in the recording of their double-sided hit, Dandelion/We Love You 


Did Allen and Mick ever “make it”?  at any time?  –  Christopher Anderson,  Jagger’s  recent biographer, in Mick – The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Mick Jagger, seemed to be suggesting they did (citing hearsay of a three-way with noted journalist and member of parliament, Tom Driberg).
We say he would certainly have loved to have done, but also would have crowed about it!  So (erotic yearning notwithstanding),  that seems just pure wishful thinking.

from  Barry Miles’s In the Sixties account of a July ‘67 meeting (on that same visit to London)  between Allen Ginsberg, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull:

“After (Allen’ s) reading…we took the tube to St. John’s Wood to visit Paul at Cavendish Avenue. On the train, Allen was absorbed in his own thoughts then he suddenly asked in a loud voice, ‘Does Mick Jagger make it with men?’ The carriage went deathly silent, everyone straining to hear my reply. I took the easy way out and said I really didn’t know. Sue backed me up. Allen obviously sensed that some peculiar British convention was being broken and didn’t pursue the matter any further.”

Anderson’s salacious account (though a fun read) is hardly the best biographical source to consult. That honor rests with Philip Normans in-depth volume (published that same year, back in 2012, so, like Anderson’s, now in need of some updating).

More from Miles’ account. He goes on:

“We found Paul swatting up on Tantra from Ajit Mockerjee’s Tantra Art when we arrived. He had invited Mick Jagger and Marianne over, they lived close by at Harley House on the Marylebone Road. Mick had his biggest, most arrogant, rude and loveable smile on and was leaning back in a rocking chair in front of the French windows, a long white silk scarf trailing from his neck down the back of the chair to the carpet. He had one of Eliphas Levi’s books on magic with him and some of the discussion was about comparative religion and Western mysticism as a more usable and culturally understandable alternative to Eastern mysticism. Allen told us about the Western Gnostic traditions but maintained that there was no Western mysticism being practised and that only in the East could one find actual gurus and teachers. Mick revealed that he had optioned the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune ‘I quite fancy meself as a mad old monk with me cloak flappin’ abaht in the desert,’  he said.”
[Editorial note – Dune was indeed eventually turned into a major motion-picture, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring, among others, Timothée  Chalamet (soon to be playing the part of Bob Dylan) in 2021, many years later]

“We all sat around on the carpet just inside the door to the living room. Incense was burning from innumerable sticks in a holder. The huge Takis sculpture– ’My lights on sticks’ as Paul called it – blinked on and off in the corner by the bookshelves. I was a little surprised at Mick’s and Paul’s attitude to Allen, which was quite deferential. Paul was in a very receptive mood and though I knew he had many reservations about the things Allen said, he did not express them. Both he and Mick treated Allen as a visiting sage, much as I imagine they later treated the Maharishi. They put Allen at ease and wanted to hear what he had to say.”

Mick Jagger interviewed in 1966:

More interviews – here – and here and here – and here and here

Mick Jagger (from Rock’s Backpages)

“Being Mick” – Jagger documentary from 2002 

A few clips of Mick in action (far too many to select from!) – wishing him a very happy 80th!

Mick Jagger reads Shelley  (for Brian Jones)

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