on 30 January 2013
I reached the end of Philip Normans epic today, and have never been so sad to finish a book. I have read a lot of other biographies, some of which were about Mick Jagger but this is THE ONE. It is a gripping read from chapter one, and it has been a joy to read each one of the 597 pages. This book does not fall into the trap of highlighting the sensational, like so many others before, but gives a mind blowing amount of impartial information about all areas of this incredible life and career. I don't think you need to be a Stones fan to enjoy this, because it is a fabulous insight into music history. Did you have to 'be there' to fully appreciate Jagger's contribution ? I really don't think so, because we are still fortunate enough to be able to witness the supreme showman in action.(What did we do before Youtube?) This is as near as most of us will get to taking a look into the unique world of Rock Royalty, and lets face it , you couldn't make up crazier stuff than this. So...is he the supreme extrovert who prefers discretion, a supreme egotist who dislikes talking about himself ? Who knows, read this excellent book, and decide for yourself. It can't really be 50 years !!!!
on 13 December 2012
I had read another biography a couple of months ago; Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger. It was really disappointing (not very detailed, focused on Mick's women, nothing on the Stones).
This one is way better. It is a daunting read (600 pages), but it reads itself. It is well written, obviously well researched, and has a good mix of tittle-tattle (his sex life), social history (his drug busts), Stones stories (the organisation of the tours, the genesis of the songs, the musicians), and background (their first clubs and playlists, with reasons).
All in all, very satisfying.
(I wish I had led his life!)
This is an odd book, as it contains a lot of information about the lead singer of the rolling stones, but yet doesnt actually get you any closer to the heart of the man himself. Maybe that's just not possible, but Phillip Norman's other books, such as the one on John Lennon, are far more revealing about the nature of the person behind the public personna. This, however, gives oyu glimpses, which is a combination of possibly jagger himself being very guarded about his inner life, so to speak, combined with a mixture of luck and bemusement on behalf of all those who have known him over the years.
A brave attempt to get to the inner man, and commendable for that
I've been a Stones fan forever and have read many books about them, quite a lot focusing on Keith Richards, who I must admit is my favourite. I was always under the impression that Mick was so aloof and arrogant and not as likeable as 'Keef.' But after reading this book, my opinion has changed about Mick. He is a very complex character, very professional, media savvy, yes, a womaniser, but underneath it all a perfectionist who claims he can't remember the majority of his past with the Stones. Which I doubt is true, and more to do with not wanting the past dragged up by journalists and interviewers when he has something to plug, which is the only time Mick will give an interview. He's more concerned about tomorrow than yesterday. I think if it wasn't for Mick the Stones would have broke up years ago, yes, 'Keef' loves playing music and doing live gigs, but to put it all together and make a show you need Mick who seems to know a lot about everything that goes into a live show long before they walk on stage. Which is what you need in such a cut throat business, and is probably why they have lasted this long. A great book about the greatest front man ever,a very shrewd guy and this book is the closest we will get to an autobiography, unless Mick gets his memory back soon.
Philip Norman has given us a well written , and somewhat lengthy insight into the life, loves, and times, of Britain's cheekiest little imp. Philip himself, makes no secret of the fact that this book is not an official biography , as he has only actually met, Sir Michael twice , and didn't really have any in depth conversations with him on either occasion. Philip admits that much of this book relies on third party accounts, from Mick's friends and associates, which he has pieced together. I have followed the exploits of the Rolling Stones myself, since their early days,and I am left wondering if Philip Norman actually knows Mick Jagger any more than me! Anyway, it is a good read , and there's the added bonus of a fair few photographs. I admire Mick Jagger's charisma, and when you consider all the antics that he got up to,as well as finding time to write and perform all those classic songs , it makes you wonder how he's done it all, and still managed to retain the figure that an eighteen year old girl would envy. When the Stones came out , my dad said they wouldn't last twelve months, but here they are after ftfty years,just about to start on another sellout tour. Indeed, Mick and the lads, just keep on rolling. Mick Jagger remains a truly enigmatic character, and this biography is a welcome addition , to Philip Norman's other books. I've got the hardback,which Amazon has at just under half price at the moment,although the best value is the kindle edition, and I would imagine that the Kindle Fire HD would do justice to the book's photos. Highly recommended for Rolling Stones fans, or anyone who just likes a good biography.
This is a very well written book. Philip Norman is a master craftsman of the art of biography. He does his research properly, analyses his material in sufficient depth, presents it in cracking narrative style and as a result has given us an accurate, if not always entirely flattering, portrait of a modern day icon. The illustrations are also well chosen. This is manifestly NOT just another gossipy book about the Rolling Stones and very much a book about Jagger the complex man as well as Jagger the rock legend. It shows him as a key creative in relation to the Stones body of work, and also as an equally sharp cookie on the business front. The wild side is there, no doubt, but despite the somewhat vivid lifestyle and myriad relationships, his credentials are solidly middle class. It is highly recommended: not just for people who grew up with Stones music as part of the soundtrack of their lives, but for anyone interested in modern social and cultural history. Jumping Jack Flash has been the subject of other books, but none as thorough and readable as this one.
on 19 December 2013
Since i'm a stones fan and have read Keith Richards book and Marianne Faithfulls book also Eric Clapton I knew roughly a bit of what to expect and have also read some of Jerry Hall as well. this is a very accurate book and took me ages to read as there is a lot of words..fab xx
on 13 May 2013
This biography is very well researched and well written, and covers Jagger's early life and career comprehensively. But the last quarter of the book feels a bit more 'patchy' and it is difficult to get a real sense of his life these days. So the book feels a bit unbalanced. However, overall it is a good read.
on 23 January 2014
Jagger must have had a gremlin looking over his shoulder all those years. The gremlin's name was Philip Norman. This is such a detailed record, it's difficult to believe Norman wasn't there. Jagger seems a difficult person to like and his treatment of the women in his life is disgraceful. How he demands paternity tests and tries to wriggle out of the 'marriage that wasn't' in Bali to poor old Jerry Hall. He's got seven children - it's a wonder there aren't more. I love the Stones music and have always been aware of tensions within the band, and it's fascinating to read the background to these. It took me ages to read all 600 pages of this book but it's the sort of book you can put down and come back to. Reading it brings back all the excitement, buzz and scandals of the 60s: the Redlands drug bust, the 'Mars bar' incident, Altamount etc. It's all there, and more.
But do I know what makes Mick tick? No. He is an astute and savvy business man, maltreater and user of women, superb showman, rude, arrogant, stingy and generous, charming when he chooses to be and with surprising moments of vulnerability. It dwells a lot on the women in his life: Chrissie, Marianne, Bianca, Jerry, Angelina Jolie (and many more). The way he deals with his relationships (with both men and women)say a lot about the character of the man. It must be difficult to be in his skin. If you read no other biography of Mick Jagger, read this one. It won't leave you wanting.
I was a teenager in the 60s, one who enjoyed many different bands, mainly for their music, rather than the individuals. I have many Stones albums and it seemed about time to read about the people behind the music.
I bought the Audible version of this book, and it's huge, but I was engrossed. This is very much a warts and all story. I started off believing that Mick was a thoughtful, intelligent and generous individual. I don't follow the popular press so, for me, the stories about his treatment of the ladies in his life were largely a revelation. Mostly very disappointing, other than the ultimate account of his relationship with his many children. His pecuniary attachment was clearly a significant influence and he certainly comes across as manipulative. His selective amnesia was particularly interesting.
The character flaws aside, the account is also a highly readable discography. There's significant insight into not only the albums but also the origins and history behind many of the tracks and lyrics. I shall listen to many with greater understanding. I don't know if there are 'better' books about Jagger. This one struck me as honest and comprehensive. I'm sure anything untrue would have been vetoed by Jagger's lawyers!