He was still singing in 1993 when he turned 50, an age some fans probably never thought Jagger would ever reach. Even fewer might have guessed that he would work full-time as one of rock’s most prominent frontmen. This was a new, somewhat uncertain era as the Middle Ages set in and it became clear – to the chagrin of some fans – that even the most exuberant artists must succumb to the passage of time.
“People have this obsession,” Jagger shared Observer in 1993. “They want you to be the way you were in 1969, because otherwise their youth will follow you. It’s very selfish, but it’s understandable.”
To be clear, Jagger wasn’t overly concerned about his age. “It always makes you put a lot more weight on it than you really should be bothered with,” he said Esquire in 1993. Yet it had become commonplace to ask how long The Rolling Stones could follow along – both as a band and as individual members.
They had apparently cheated death again and again, survived The Beatles twice, and embarked on solo careers. Still, there was no sign that the Stones would stop being the Stones anytime soon—or that Jagger would stop being Jagger. “I mean, as long as you can deliver the goods, I guess — compose and sing and make the record and perform,” he shared Esquire. “I never seem to tire of writing and performing. I love to put on the big shows.”
By then, Jagger had already released two solo albums, 1985’s She’s the boss and the 1987s Primitive cool, both of whom tried to articulate an identity apart from the Rolling Stones. To some extent, Jagger recognized that the style of music for which he had become famous as a young man would not necessarily carry him through the rest of his career.
“I still love performing [rock music]but it is no longer a new, evangelical form,” he said Rolling stones in 1995. “It’s still capable of expression and it’s capable of change and news, but it’s not as exciting to me. It’s not a perfect medium for someone my age, given that all the rebelliousness, the angst and the youth of it. In some ways, it’s foolish to try to recreate it.” Jagger was mostly concerned with writing the kind of music that moved him, rather than what might be considered highbrow. “I don’t care,” he said in one TV interview from 1993. “I’m not here to be taken seriously.”
Watch the video for Mick Jagger’s ‘Sweet Thing’
“Sweet Thing” was one such song, the last to be cut for Jagger’s third solo album, Wandering Spirit. It wasn’t unlike anything the Stones might have conjured up on an earlier album, but with a leaner, more R&B-tinged dance groove. “I’ve been more relaxed about making songs that were styles I touched on before in the Stones,” he said New York Times.
Courtney Pine, a well-regarded British jazz musician, added a fiery saxophone solo on the track. “It was a big challenge for me,” Pine said MTV back then. “Hopefully this will break the stereotypes. I don’t really want to limit myself to playing one type of music. I listen to this kind of music, so why wouldn’t I try to play it?”
Guitarist Jimmy Rip later described the results as “kind of a throwaway dance song”, but Jagger’s label, Atlantic, loved it. “They were like, ‘Oh no, this is fabulous! Dance music is so big, and this is going to be a hit off the record!'” Rip shared. UCR in 2022.
Jagger and Rip both wanted another song, “Don’t Tear Me Up”, to be used as the album’s lead single. However, Jagger explained that in this case it was best to allow Atlantic to make the decision: “Mick finally said to me, ‘Look, I could insist, but if you insist, the company won’t put their whole heart into promoting it,'” Rip said , “and then when it fails, they’ll say, ‘You see, we told you; you should have listened to us.’ So you have to let them do what they’re passionate about.”
It didn’t go quite as Atlantic hoped. “Sweet Thing” only reached No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still, the single enjoyed some radio play and its music video aired regularly on MTV. Jagger took ownership of the set and described the accompanying clip as an “extension of the song.” Various actresses were featured along with Jagger’s signature dance moves. “You want to be a part of your work,” he explained to MTV. “Jagger is a superstar,” said John Cannelli, MTV’s senior vice president of music and talent. Times.
“He came to us with a great song and video that we felt our audience would be passionate about.” After Wandering Spirit arrived, MTV pointed out that fans noticed that some songs resembled the Rolling Stones’ disco-infused era. “So what?” Jagger replied. “As long as they’re good.”
At some point along the way, Jagger had come to terms with the idea of being a singer for the rest of his life. If he could write songs like “Sweet Thing” that touched on the past while also looking to the future, it suddenly didn’t seem like such a captivating reality anymore.
“I feel like I’m tied to myself as a kind of traditional musician and singer, and the history that I have ties me,” he shared. Rolling stones. “But I’m much less tied down than with the Rolling Stones. I can go in any direction I want.”
Rolling Stone’s solo albums ranked
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