The Music Lounge

Jagger vs Richards

The enduring love-hate relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards…

jagriThis comes on the back of an interview I read recently in which Mick Jagger was asked about his relationship with Keith Richards, he was quite frank about it which is refreshing in today’s world. But then he is in his seventies and can afford to care less.

I blow hot and cold with The Stones, some of it is brilliant, a lot less so. They should be royally applauded for their contribution to the British music revolution of the Sixties, of that there can be no argument. Like Led Zeppelin and Cream, they shocked America with their raw power, good looks and a version of the blues which lined the pockets of many a forgotten delta bluesman. It was unapologetic, in your face music with performances which set the tone for generations to come. Forget Punk, the most over rated movement in music history, Jagger and Richards were the original punks and with that, as always, comes a price.

The Rolling Stones are a huge business venture, their writing days of renown are in the distant past and fifty years later they are seen fit to be the ones to welcome Cuba into the capitalist world of the music business. It isn’t difficult to imagine the reality of The Stones on tour in 2016. We know Mick and ‘Keef’ arrive in separate planes and limousines, check into suites at different times, one drinks bourbon, the other one, tea and so on. But should we be surprised? I think not.

How many of us can look at maintaining a friendship or working relationship for so long? Add a great deal of money into the mix, substantial alcohol and drug use and the stories of studio engineers despairing at their antics during recordings makes it easy to see how the cracks began and gradually widened. So why have they stuck together for so long? Is it this decades long bond that drives them? Perhaps, but could it also be that whilst money is clearly not a factor for their continued involvement in music the simple fact is that they need each other.

I always found comparisons with The Beatles pointless but if the deciding factor for the top spot was based on band members as solo artists then there is only one winner. Where McCartney and Lennon achieved so much apart, Jagger and Richards have failed spectacularly. Can anyone name a Keith Richards hit? One of Jagger’s without Bowie? For both to underachieve like that seems remarkable, surely one of them, as with Robert Plant after Zeppelin, could have produced something worthwhile? Jagger as an artist is miles ahead of Ozzy Osbourne yet record sales as a solo artist are poles apart, Phil Collins further still.

They have had periods of severe fall outs, the album ‘Dirty Work’ from 1986 and song ‘One Hit’ (to the body) tells the story in a video which set everyone’s tongues wagging. There was genuine dislike between them both, it’s been like that, on and off, ever since….


Categories: The Music Lounge

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