Today, Rolling Stones frontman and songwriter Mick Jagger celebrates his 70th birthday – and he has much to celebrate. Fresh off the successful "50 & Counting" tour and a triumphant return to Hyde Park, the Rolling Stones singular musical juggernaut has been delighting, beguiling, inciting and confounding fans and critics alike for more than five decades. The Rolling Stones discography includes 29 studio albums and 18 live albums, and Jagger has recorded five solo albums. There have been three dozen Top 10 Rolling Stones albums on the Billboard 200 chart, and the band has an estimated 66.5 million RIAA-certified US albums sold and sales awards. Hot Rocks alone has sold more than 12.5 million units according to the RIAA. The group's epic touring schedules and larger than life productions have helped make the Stones among the top grossing touring acts of all time. And Jagger isn't slowing down.
"I'm very proud to work with this group of musicians for 25 years," said Jagger in his 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction speech. Jagger was joined on stage by Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, guitarist Ronnie Wood, and guitarist and principle songwriting partner Keith Richards. Drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman were unable to attend the ceremony. "Tonight you see us on our best behavior, but we're being rewarded for 25 years of bad behavior – there's also a bit of music on the side."
Jagger also thanked Ahmet Ertegun and Jann Wenner, and references a then-unbuilt "temple of rock in Cleveland." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum wouldn't open until six years later in 1995. "The other thing I'm very proud of is the songs that Keith and I have written over the last 25 years." [Pictured left: A revealing photograph of Mick Jagger at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, in May 1965. / Photograph by Bob Bonis © NFAgallery.com]
Born July 26, 1943, in Dartford, England, Mick Phillip Jagger was an excellent student, sang in the church choir and eventually met Keith Richards at primary school. “He was a leader even when he was at school,” said his mother. “For a long time, Mick seemed destined for a steady office job; that was why he went to London School of Economics.”
By October 1961, Jagger and Richards hadn’t seen each other in a long time. One fall afternoon, the two young men ran into each other at the Dartford train station. They took the train together to London Bridge. Jagger was carrying a couple of LPs: Rockin’ at the Hops by Chuck Berry and The Best of Muddy Waters. They realized that they had similar interest in music and agreed to get together. “Right, in a town like Dartford, if anybody's headed for London or any stop in between, then in Dartford Station, you're bound to meet,” said Richards. This chance meeting led to the formation of the Rolling Stones and to one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of all time.