Jul 29, 2013

    Rock's bad boy still rolling at 70

    MICK Jagger turned 70 last Friday and, while the Rolling Stones frontman isn't quite the image of rebellious youth he once was, he has lost none of his legendary swagger.

    Strutting onstage in a sequinned jacket as the Stones headlined Britain's Glastonbury music festival last month, it was hard to believe that this was a man who should be collecting his state pension.

    One newspaper cruelly captioned its photos of the wrinkly British rockers "Night of the living dead!". But, zipping through the hits, the band had the same raw energy that brought them fame half a century ago.

    "If this is the first time you've seen the band, do come again," Jagger told the crowd, suggesting that a quiet retirement may be some way off yet.

    Between his onstage cavorting, wild bedroom antics and occasional brushes with the law, snake-hipped, rubber-lipped Jagger has been a model for generations of later rock stars.

    "We were young, good-looking and stupid," he once said.

    These days, the cricket lover is more likely to be spotted watching a match at Lord's than partying hard.

    The Stones did prove they could still hit the dance floor at Jagger's early 70th birthday bash last month, although it was time for bed by 1.30am.

    The music-making hasn't stopped either - the band recently wrapped up a tour of North America to mark their half-centenary and released two new tracks along with their greatest-hits album, Grrr!, in November.

    Romantically, however, Jagger seems to have settled down. He has been dating stylist L'Wren Scott, some 25 years his junior, for more than a decade.

    His heyday was punctuated by high-profile relationships with models, singers and actresses, and he has seven children with four different women.

    He twice married models - Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall - while other former lovers include singers Marianne Faithfull and Carla Bruni, who is now married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

    Jagger has always been a curious mix of sensible and shocking. On the one hand, he was knighted by Prince Charles; on the other hand, a rumoured sex act involving Jagger and a Mars bar has passed into rock legend.

    Michael Phillip Jagger was born on July 26, 1943, to middle-class parents in Dartford, south of London.

    He started jamming with childhood friend Keith Richards in 1960 after they discovered a mutual love of the blues.

    The Stones played their first gig in 1962, with Jagger dropping out of the prestigious London School of Economics in the pursuit of fame. Three years later, the band scored their first smash hit with (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

    Snarling and surly, they were the complete opposite of the family-friendly Beatles.

    A string of massive hits across five decades followed, including Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Woman and Paint It Black.

    And, of course, there were the band's offstage antics.

    Jagger and Richards were found guilty of drug offences in 1967, but their jail sentences were quashed.

    The drug-fuelled hedonism continued. But, between the excesses, Jagger - who studied business before dropping out of university - kept a close eye on the commercial side of things.

    He is worth an estimated £200 million (S$400 million).

    The band spent the 1980s and 1990s going on lucrative tours while producing the odd album. Today, rumours of live shows still spark feverish excitement among fans.

    In 2011, Jagger set up SuperHeavy - a supergroup including a member of Eurythmics, David Stewart; Bob Marley's youngest son, Damian; and soul diva Joss Stone - which released a widely-praised debut album.

    He also turned to cinema, trying his hand at acting in the 1970s and, more recently, branching out into film production. He is co-producing a biopic of the father of funk, James Brown.

    The ultimate sign of Jagger's acceptance by the establishment came in 2003 when, to Richards' disbelief, he accepted a knighthood from the British monarchy.

    The singer revealed last month that, while he is proud of his achievements, he sometimes wishes he had pursued his earlier dreams of becoming a teacher, politician or journalist.

    "It is a slightly intellectually- undemanding thing to do, being a rock singer," he told the BBC.

    "But, you know, you make the best of it."