Mick Jagger: Primitive Cool

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9780312105037: Mick Jagger: Primitive Cool
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For all his vast and enduring fame, Mick Jagger remains enigmatic to the public eye. Decades of press reports, culminating in the publication of sensationalist biographies like last year's Jagger Unauthorized, have painted him as nothing more than a walking libido, a sex machine with little more on his mind than groupies and guitars.
Rock journalist Christopher Sandford offers as an alternative the first truly comprehensive biography of the premiere Rolling Stone: not just the mayhem and the models, but the man and the music. His insight into Jagger's English childhood - including exclusive interviews with his parents and his first musical partners - is unparalleled. His understanding of how the Stones made their music into the world's greatest rock 'n' roll - informed by rare detail contributed by Ian Stewart, the Stones's late pianist - is profound. And his portrait of this paradoxical rocker - wild, abandoned, raucous on stage; cool, shrewd, ambitious in his real life - gets past the facade to uncover the creative artist who even today retains both credibility and bite.
No punches are pulled: Besides covering the romps with Bianca and Jerry, Bardot and Trudeau, Mick Jagger: Primitive Cool is the first book to contain excerpts from Jagger's FBI file, obtained by the author under the Freedom of Information Act. But Sandford's biography tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: Mick plain and simple, pure energy, primitive cool.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A sloppily rendered bio of the Rolling Stones' lead singer offers glimpses of a more human Mick Jagger than previously seen, but gets mired in contradictions and the details of the group's long decline. In what's at best undistinguished prose, Sandford struggles to fathom Jagger's contradictions--the performer's angry, unconventional public poses and his equally obvious longing for respectability. Much of the worst writing comes early on (Jagger's mother's lips grow ``pendulous'' as she waits in a bread line) as the book sets out to describe the Stones' early years. Sandford does show what the fuss was about--and what a nerve the Stones' early exploits struck in British culture. We watch Jagger provoking fan hysteria (egged on by early manager Andrew Oldham) and honing his stage act with moves stolen from James Brown and makeup tips from Little Richard; and then there's the later Jagger, grown from a youthful reader of Marx into an admirer of Margaret Thatcher. Sandford departs from previous biographers in revealing Jagger to have been as much subject as architect of much of what happened to the group. Though he's hardly exonerated for events like Altamont- -the free Stones concert ending in violence and murder--we do get a Mick more realistically ambivalent than Mephistophelean. But some of the author's theorizing is harder to credit. We're told that Jagger's Englishness may be the key to his character; then that he is ``one of those people...rare in England, able to sustain conflicting ideas and still function''; and then that he possesses the ``traditional values of Britain'' insofar as these include a sense of irony. Long chapters chronicling the Stones' decline drag badly. Sandford may manage to inch closer to the real Jagger, but only die-hard fans will be caught up in his account. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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