Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jagger by Marc Spitz

Having read numerous tales of the Stones over the last four or five decades, there is not much that is new to learn about any one of them. Mick Jagger, of course, has been scrutinized, fetishized and fantasized probably more than any other pop culture icon of the last century. Marc Spitz (writer of books on Bowie and the LA Punk Scene, not the Olympic swimmer) tells the tale of Mick through a pop culture lens and with interviews with contemporaries and friends. The early days are pretty straight forward: Spitz talks of the filming of the TAMI Show movie, with the obvious comparisons between James Brown and Jagger (who was blatantly attempting to mimic Brown), the "we piss anywhere" "scandal", Mick's girlfriends as social climbing stepping stones, the drug busts, the uncertainly or how and how much to get involved with the youth revolution, the Performance movie, the 70's celebrity hob-knobbing and all the rest. He does highlight events like Truman Capote's involvement (or lack thereof) in the '72 American tour, Jagger singing on Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" and his participation in the Rutles movie with chapters of their own.

Of course, the 80's saw Mick investing himself in MTV and an attempted solo career, lots of gossip and girl chasing, media fights with Richards, and championing - despite being jealous of - bands like Living Color and Guns'n'Roses. There's a chapter on his later acting career (which never gained much critical or commercial gain to speak of) and of his solo work with Rick Ruben, including the unreleased blues record he did with LA's Red Devils, as well as one on the conflicts associated with his knighthood.

The subject matter will always be fascinating but did we really need another book on Mick Jagger? No, not really, but it is fine for what it is. Absolutely not essential, but it keeps your attention as light reading.