Journalist and best-selling celebrity biographer Andersen (William and Kate: A Royal Love Story, 2010, etc.) brings his taste for the titillating tales of British royalty to this breezy, shamelessly shallow recap of rock god Mick Jagger’s life so far.
Not surprisingly, considering Jagger’s well-known lack of interest in his autobiography, the author didn’t spend any time talking to the subject of his book. He lifts all Jagger quotes from other sources, as well as those of Jagger’s band mates, family and closest friends. (Much of Andersen’s description of Jagger’s boyhood hometown seems to have relied heavily on Keith Richards’ memoir, Life.) Andersen tried to make up for this lack of cooperation from the immediate circle by speaking to scores of the star’s past lovers and business associates, including Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger, Andrew Oldham and the late Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records. The author does well enough with the material he had to work with, giving the story all the verve of a 300-page People story. (He was once senior editor at that celebrity-celebrating weekly.) Readers who know nothing about Jagger or the Rolling Stones will get the basic story: the development of Jagger’s iconic androgyny, the drug busts, Altamont, the tax exile, the knighthood, the brotherly love and rivalry between Jagger and Richards, and the women—especially the women. Readers will eventually realize that Jagger’s sex life has been vastly more important to his identity, if not his fame, than his career as an artist. Those who know something about Jagger and care about rock ’n’ roll will learn little from this book.
Skip it and read Life instead.