Mick Jaggerby Philip Norman
HarperCollins, 640 pp., $34.99
Mick is sex. Those three words were written on walls, worn as buttons, and spoken as gospel in the mid-Sixties. The sentiment sounded incomprehensibly raw, but his huge, labial, rubbery lips branded his band, the Rolling Stones, and broke the mold of rock star he forged. That's the essence of Philip Norman's well-researched tome: that Jagger's been uniquely comfortable in his own skin. Author of acclaimed 2009 bio John Lennon: The Life, Norman's career includes early Stones interviews, so this portrait of the notoriously, but selectively amnesiac Jagger fills in both his and the band's early life in rich detail, such as the fascinating inclusion of diary entries from a band fan before Jagger's life in the fast lane. Norman's at his best setting the context for events like the infamous Jagger/Richards Redlands bust in 1967, and how the band operated with Brian Jones as bandleader. And good thing most of the book takes place during the Sixties given that the latter half devolves predictably into jet-setters, models, drugs, rock & roll, and sex, sex, sex. Look at Mick! He's not shattered.