Posted at 08:53 AM ET, 07/26/2011

Mick Jagger: ‘Morbid and pathetic and very close to being ugly’


The Rolling Stones are shown during rehearsal on April 8, 1964. The British band members, from left, are, Brian Jones, guitar; Bill Wyman, bass; Charlie Watts, drums; Mick Jagger, vocals; and Keith Richards, guitar. (AP)
(Watch video here.)

Update: Paul Richard, the famed Style writer I held out for mockery by posting his harsh critique of the Rolling Stones below, took my jibe in stride and offered up a mea culpa for missing the band’s talent. Check it out here.

Tuesday marks Mick Jagger’s 68th birthday. In honor of the rubber-mouthed, hallow-eyed, gorgeous-at-68 sprightly singer, I’m turning back to the archives of the Post. Ever since I found our original review of the Beatles in 1964 — and it wasn’t a pretty one — I’ve been hoping to poke fun at our shortsighted music reviewers again.

Thanks to Mick Jagger, I’ve got the chance. And what a delicious chance it is. In 1964, the Post wrote of the Beatles: “The British have to sit through dozens of dreadful American television programs. In return, we get the Beatles. As usual, we got gypped.” Just a year and a half later in November, 1965, an article appeared in the Post by Paul Richard entitled “Rolling Stones lacking in Beatle-like Finesse.” There is so much good in this article:

The Rolling Stones were in town yesterday but you didn’t miss anything unless you happen to be 12 years old and a girl.

The Stones are from England and they play amplified guitars and harmonicas and drums. They are not the Beatles.

The Beatles are smiley and nice and funny. The Stones are morbid and pathetic and very close to being ugly.

There are five of them. Four of them play instruments and weigh 140 pounds each. Mick Jagger, the fifth, sings and stares and dances. He was educated at the London School of Economics and weighs 146 pounds.

They’re touring the United States so that all the 12-year-old girls who have had to make do with canned voices on records and radios can dress up and comb their hair and scream at them in person.

Dressing up is very important. If you wear the right kind of boppy little hat and eye-makeup and tight pants one of the Stones may wave at you.

Mick Jagger doesn’t wave, he points. He has a lot of thick brown uncombed hair and he dances while he sings. Yesterday he wore checked bell-bottomed hip-hugger pants and danced with his microphone.

The microphone was on a long chrome-plated stand and had a round weighted base to keep it from falling over. Jagger picked it up and jumped around and turned it upside down and hugged it.

“Ah caint get no sat-is-fac-tion,” he said.

He aslo played the tambourine with his wrist and his knees and his rump.

“Ah caint get no sat-is-fac-tion,” he said.

Then he started to take off his jacket. He did it very slowly and gracefully, and then almost — but not quite — threw it into the audience.

“Eeeeeee,” said the audience.

There were a lot of policemen there too. They formed a human wall around the stage and shoved back all the girls who tried to take the place of the microphone. They held their nightsticks in their hands and shoved gently.

Suddenly, from the midst of all those girls, a young man in a red sweater jumped on stage and made a desperate grab at Jagger’s tambourine.

The police got there first. They twisted his arm and grabbed him around the neck and pushed him to the floor and then dragged him struggling and kicking up the aisle.

Then suddenly it was over. Jagger dropped the microphone and leaped off the stage into a sea of blue and vanished. The group was here for only a one-night stand.

The Rolling Stones have made a lot of records and a lot of money. This reporter was told they were great musicians and gave great concerts. This reporter was told wrong.

Related stories:

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show

Keith Richards: the Beatles and the Rolling Stones weren’t rivals

Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club

By  |  08:53 AM ET, 07/26/2011

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