Did you know that, since 1989, The Rolling Stones have earned an estimated $2 billion from records, song rights, merchandising, touring and sponsorship? Or, that their 'lapping tongue' logo appears on some 50 products, including a range of lingerie by Agent Provocateur?
Having just finished reading Philip Norman's riveting, if snarky, biography, Mick Jagger, I agree with The New Yorker's observation that Mick's lapping tongue is, indeed, as ubiquitous as Mr. Clean, The Jolly Green Giant or any other Madison Avenue invention.
Jagger is a riotous, pull-no-punches insider's look at how Sir Mick became the enigmatic icon for whom the phrase sex, drugs and rock-and-roll seemed to have been invented.
I say enigmatic because, although he still remains uber active on the touring circuit, the Street Fightin' Man is truly a lord of the manor these days.
I say enigmatic because, although he loved his image as a hard-living lover, Sir Mick is a doting father of seven (via four or five women, depending upon who you believe) and grandfather of four.
I say enigmatic because the erstwhile London School of Economics student can easily engage in esoteric discussions on foreign exchange rates or Renaissance art, but he has trouble remembering ANY details of his 1967 drug bust and incarceration or his legendary love affairs with the likes of Chrissie Shrimpton (the subject of Under My Thumb), Marianne Faithfull (It's All Over Now), Bianca, Jerry Hall, Maggie Trudeau, Angelina Jolie or thousands of others.
I say enigmatic because, when asked how he and fellow Glimmer Twin, Keith Richards, were able to write so many unique songs, Jagger shrugged his shoulders and said, “Dunno. We just did.” That's like asking Babe Ruth how he managed to go from being baseball's most dominant pitcher to its greatest hitter and getting a similar non-answer. Amazing.
I say enigmatic because, while Keith Richards was noted for his heroin addiction, Bowie Knife collection and daily consumption of a fifth of bourbon, it was Mick who drifted from woman-to-woman and country-to-country while Richards settled down and raised a large and devoted family.
Jagger is a far better read than either Keith's Life or Pete Townsend's Who I Am. That's probably because the biographer pulls no punches in his text (while Keith's tome spends far too much time on the intricacies of guitar playing and Pete's becomes positively glacial in pace after the band's loss of drummer Keith Moon).
The coolest thing about Sir Mick Jagger is his continuing domination of the pop and rock scenes. As Norman points out, a Stones concert still pulls in far more money than one by any contemporary artist. And, “moving like Jagger” has become an accolade for an entire new generation of Millennial party animals aspiring to 'get down' on the dance floor.
Speaking of being floored, I was amazed to read that, with the exception of his LSD-fueled Summer of Love in 1967, Mick rarely stepped over the line when it came to drug experimentation. Even more impressive was learning of his intense, two-to-three hour daily exercise regimen. Even to this day, Mick makes sure he maintains the same waist size and weight of his 19-year-old sexually self-arrested self: 27 inches and 125 pounds, respectively!
If nothing else, his amazing physique should give Mick satisfaction. When one adds his body of work AND an immediately recognizable logo that rivals anything Landor Associates, Siegal & Gale or any other branding company could design, I think it's safe to say that, while the enigmatic midnight rambler's memory may be shaky, his legacy will only grow in strength.