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Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue

3.06  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  68 reviews

A biography and cultural examination of the Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger's spectacular life and the cultural revolution he led.

As the Rolling Stones' legendary front man Mick Jagger remains an enigma. He hasn't given an in-depth interview for a decade and a half and never commented on his friend and partner, Keith Richard's often critical biography. Drawing on f

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 8th 2011 by Gotham (first published September 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.06  · 
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Carol Storm
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Superb concise study of Mick Jagger. Enormous fun to read, but most Stones fans will already know all the best stories. More of a critical essay than a full-length biography.

The problem with this book once you read in depth is that Marc Spitz focuses on all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. When I read a book about the Rolling Stones, I don't need five pages on what Carly Simon thought about Mick. I want five pages on what Chuck Berry thought about Mick. There's a lot of stuff in here
Mar 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was terrible. It reads like a status update or a tweet. I literally don't know how Spitz keeps getting these great biographical subjects and then turns in writing that isn't even blog-worthy. 'Jagger' contains no insights on Mick Jagger as a musician, it is way too short as well (Jagger has been recording music for five decades and the book is like 300 pages) how he managed to write a boring book about Mick Jagger I will never understand.

I read Spitz's biography on David Bowie a few years
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written. Just coming off reading Keith’s biography this was a nice way to fill in the gaps and get a different perspective. I find the frontman/lead guitarist/writing partner/friendship fascinating. Not just in the Stones but Queen and other bands. These relationships are like brothers, friends, partners. Lots of love, jealousy and egos.
Potsdam Public Library
Jan 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bob
Having lived in England during the 1960s and early ‘70s it is impossible to remain neutral regarding the Rolling Stones. People loved them or hated them. I will freely admit that I fell into the latter category.

I tried to read “Jagger” with an open mind, wondering whether my long held prejudices would be born out. Marc Spitz, while pulling no punches as far as the star’s behavior, still appears to dote on Mick Jagger. Upon finishing the book, I believe that a more apt sub title would have been “
Lukasz Pruski
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
"When we consider the Rolling Stones, we think of the heart and we think of the groin. We don't dwell on the brain. 'Keith is the heart,' [...] the music publicist Keith Altham remarked [...] 'Mick is the brain'."

Mick Jagger, "all brain and no heart." The metaphor appeals to me. Somehow I have never been a big fan of the Rolling Stones, even though in the 1960s I listened to their music every day. In the mid-Sixties I preferred The Kinks, The Animals, and later all progressive bands. In particul
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
While I grew up during the 60s and 70s, and was well aware of the Rolling Stones, I had little to no interest in them or their music; I don't know why - I guess I was just a nerd. The only member of the group who I really knew was Mick Jagger, but I was not very impressed with him and didn't follow his career at all. Last year I read Keith Richard's "Life" and a small flame was lit in me. I loved the way he wrote in a conversational, confidential style that made one feel like he was divulging se ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I didn't think this book was as bad as some have rated it. Overall it is a moderately interesting apology for the Stone who has remained somewhat enigmatic at best, or comes off as entirely mercenary at worst. Spitz makes a point of contrasting Mick's comparatively passive, conflict-averse persona to that of pirate rebel and snarler-in-chief, Keith Richards. Where the author loses me is in the lengthy excursus on "You're So Vain" (Mick does backup vocals, in case anyone doesn't already know that ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: music-books
While reading Keith Richards' Life last year, I kept thinking it would be nice to read Mick Jagger's take on that same story. Until then, this book is a pretty good substitute (and its author makes a pretty good case for why a Mick Jagger autobiography probably won't ever happen).

The book suffers from not having a lot of Jagger's actual voice, and it lags a little in the final chapters, but all in all a good read if you like the Rolling Stones.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
First of all, I call foul on this book's classification. I kept thinking 'this isn't a biography, it's a series of essays', which is how it read. A series of essays by a pretentious guy who really didn't like Mick Jagger all that much. So I went to the initial pages to see if I had accidentally picked up something from a different genre but no, this book is officially copywrited as a biography. But when I looked through the jacket blurbs I got quotes like this "exploration of jagger's legacy',' ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I was never a fan of the Rolling Stones. I probably got this book in a package deal with something about the Beatles, but Jagger is an interesting fellow. This biography, although well-written and hugely researched, is hampered by the fact that Spitz did not interview Jagger or spend time around him. He depends on quotes from written material and interviews with other people. That makes the book feel a bit encyclopedic and impersonal. I get a little lost in all the names and suffer from not know ...more
Jamie Hicks
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book to me is more of a character study than a biography. It is not so much a detailed timeline, even though it's chronological, it's more snapshots of defining moments that compose Mick Jagger. Cool read for the serious fan maybe not so much for the casual fan. As I am a fan I give it 4 "Star, Star" (s). (Hardcore fans will get the reference).
Chris Strache
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book tells the highlights of Mick’s life without focusing on the tabloid stories about him. Don’t get me wrong, there was some mention of the tabloid sensations that he created, but they were not the focus. The author tried to explain what makes Mick tick. I learned about many things that that I didn’t know about Mick and was reminded about things that I had forgotten.
Gato Negro
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent retrospective of Mick's life and career. I thoroughly enjoyed the details pertaining to Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg. I also appreciated the parts about Living Color as I saw the Steel Wheels tour in 1989.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm a 90's kid. I did not grow up with the Stones and my parrents listened to Beatles and ABBA. I saw the Stones at a festival a few years back and it sparked my interrest, but this book is for the fans, more than it is for the general public.
Not a wasted read though.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this tale to be long and drawn out from different clippings of other stories. I did appreciate the story line being chronological and getting a flavor of the history. True Stones fans will probably enjoy. Me, just so-so.
Cindy Hunter
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Couldn’t finish the book tried not sure if was the book or myself not crazy about biographies love the stones but couldn’t finish the book
Scott Holstad
Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler was an interesting book to read, but it left far too much out, was too short for its subject matter, and sort of rambled itself in its style. Marc Spitz kind of jumps all over the place, perhaps trying to emulate Mick's own gyrations. It starts out with the beginnings of the Stones, but there's almost nothing at all really written about their beginnings in any real detail. You're left to fill in the blanks yourself. We find out that their first hit was one given ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past 50 years, Mick Jagger is the lead singer of the Rolling Stones: a rock band of such mind-blowing coolness that not even having their songs sung on Glee can diminish their awesomeness.

With the band’s upcoming golden anniversary and the recent publication of band member Keith Richards’ autobiography, it’s the perfect time for a biography that will separate Jagger-the-myth from Jagger-the-man.

Mark Spitz’s Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Ramble
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Other readers on Goodreads have slammed this book for many reasons, not least of which being the "fact" that this is not a "great" Jagger biography. Yet those readers seem to be oblivious to the fact that Spitz is not attempting to write a Jagger bio; he says as much in the introduction. Instead, Spitz offers something potentially more interesting than just another standard bio: he poses a question concerning Jagger and then seeks to find the answer by analyzing particular moments in Jagger's li ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Sir Mick Jagger was once famously described by journalist Keith Altham as "a sexy black hole in space". A brief London School of Economics student, an incorrigible woman addict, experimenter with dope, a creative genius and most importantly the most popular face of the immortal Rolling Stones (although Keith Richards might have a different riff to execute), Mick Jagger has redefined the world of rock music and its devotees. Mark Spitz in this short quasi-biopic provides to the reader a taste of ...more
Gregory Klages
Spitz offers several thinly-spread moments of brilliance. The book reads like several chapters were developed as some kind of extended articles for serialization in a magazine, with a few later chapters tacked on to make a full book.

'Jagger' really covers Jagger's from youth to mid-1970s, with the less-compelling but important to understand 80s and 90s given short shrift. Pages and pages of psychoanalytic speculation are spent on some arguably central figures, such as Bianca Jagger, while other
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Marc Spitz is eminenty readable and listenable-to, and he proves it again with this book on Mick Jagger. I've always enjoyed his articles and a full-length book? Turns out I enjoyed that as well. It also turns out that I like, no make that love, the Rolling Stones. Who knew? Not me! While reading the book, I started listening to their albums on Rhapsody, and they blew me away. I only knew their big radio songs; I didn't know their deep cuts, as it were.

My favorite album is probably 12 X 5, whic
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
It seems as though Spitz approached this work with the same eye as he would have applied to a Master's thesis. While well written and informative, it lacks the same passion, depth, and understanding applied to David Bowie in Spitz's earlier work Bowie. Or perhaps, on the heels of Keith Richards' Life, there is very little new to be said about The Stones, their legacy or what any of it means. In any event Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue comes off as passionless research paper instead of ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book to celebrate the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary!!! I am always fascinated by Mick Jagger. He is a multifaceted guy. The intrigue is his talent but also his world view--where he came from and where he is going. The mystery is that you just can't get a handle on him and he is not forthcoming, he is just doing his example is how he became a "knight" in England. He was totally fine with doing that although it seemed hypocritical to a lot of the rest of us! I didn't ...more
Cj Rey
Jul 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I have to give the author creative kudos for starting out the book with Gilda Radner as "Candy Slice" singing, "Gimme Mick." "So rock and roll me till I'm sick." Such a great sketch!

Book wasn't super deep but still interesting. And, I learned I've been singing the wrong words to "Waiting on a Friend" for 35 years.

"Ooh, making love and breaking hearts, it is a game for youth."

Wait. Whaaaat?! Youth? Really?! I always thought it was a game for FOOLS.

I'm sticking to my version. And Keef. He has al
Allison Lowe
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is just okay. I like that it was written after Keith Richards' bio "Life," which slammed Mick Jagger on every other page, but Spitz seems to be defending Mick Jagger and demanding respect for him when Jagger is in no way lacking in cool points or respect! I enjoyed it, but I was hoping for something a bit more in-depth on Jagger's life as a songwriter and musician and there just wasn't enough.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's unlikely Mick will ever write an autobiography, and how often are those a good barometer of the subject anyway? So we are going to have to be satisfied with assessments like this, and all in all, it's not a bad speculation of the nature of Mr. Jagger. How accurate is it in its conclusions? No way of telling, but we do get a bit of detail into pertinent periods of his life, and a number of lesser known photos.
Neither a hatchet job or a fawning puff piece, it'll do.

Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I have to admit that I had real trouble trying to read this book. It never really fired my interest and I ended up just scanning it. I would only recommend it to those Jagger die hard fans, and they may have already read this information from other sources. Sad--I was looking forward to a to read.
Chris Ford
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rolling-stones

Didn't find a scrap of new information in this book. Stanley Booth's book is what most of this book was gleaned from. It is also a much better book that is part journal and part bio. No real insight into Mick Jagger, very watered down, like author was scared of a lawsuit. This was like a tenth grade research paper or something.o
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Marc Spitz was a former senior writer at Spin magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Maxim, Blender, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Nylon and the New York Post. Spitz is the co-author (with Brendan Mullen) of the 2001 LA punk oral history We Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. He has authored two novels, How Soon is Never (2003) and Too Much, Too Late (2006), as ...more

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