So, I was taking my morning spin around Lawyers, Guns and Money and there's a post up regarding Mick Jagger's 75th birthday, which is today.
Nostalgia really isn't my thing; I wouldn't have even remotely considered going to a Rolling Stones concert in at least the last two decades. And while there was definitely a period from about ages 14 to 20 where the Rolling Stones were my favorite band, Mick was at best my third-favorite Stone (after Charlie Watts and Keith, and Mick Taylor while he was with the band - and depending on how one defines these things, Nicky Hopkins).
As a singer Mick was...serviceable. He had his job to do, which he did competently enough to not detract from the groove, and for a certain type of mid to up tempo rock number his scabrous, abrasive rasp was undeniably appropriate. On more down-tempo stuff he was notably less reliable; there was a certain ruefull wisftullness that Mick could nail ("I Am Waiting," "Moonlight Mile" and especially Tattoo You's "Worried About You"), but when he tried for outright sentimentality the results were pretty awful (I don't ever need to hear "As Tears Go By" again, for example).
But I think he's been pretty consistently under-rated as a lyricist. He's no John Lennon (or Bob Dylan, or Ray Davies, or whichever contemporary you personally consider the yardstick for such things), but he's no Donovan either; as befits a former student of the London School of Economics, he was at times startlingly clear-eyed about the dynamics of power - especially, rather infamously, sexual power. I'm not here to defend Jagger against charges of sexism; but I also think that it would be simplistic not to note that he has always been, at heart, an ironist. To take "Under My Thumb," say, at face value is to be taken for a chump.
So - happy birthday, Mick Jagger. You disgusting old geezer you.
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