Gary Kemp’s Reflection on Mick Jagger’s Enduring Iconic Status

Gary Kemp’s Reflection on Mick Jagger’s Enduring Iconic Status


As the Rolling Stones gear up to release “Hackney Diamonds,” their first full-length album of original songs in 18 years, Gary Kemp reflects on watching Mick Jagger perform live for the first time.

Originally published on July 26, 2023, to commemorate the rock’n’roll icon’s 80th birthday.

Mick Jagger’s Iconic Status

Gary Kemp begins by drawing a parallel between two iconic images of the last century: Christ on the cross and Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp.

He introduces Mick Jagger’s image, symbolized by the Rolling Stones’ famous Lips and Tongue logo, as the modern addition to this iconic imagery.

The Creation of the Rolling Stones Logo

Kemp delves into the history of the Rolling Stones’ iconic logo, designed in 1970 by John Pasche to resemble Mick Jagger’s distinctive mouth.

The logo, Kemp notes, embodied both anti-authoritarianism and the sexual revolution of its time.

The Early Days of Mick Jagger

Kemp reflects on Mick Jagger’s early years in rock and roll and the doubts about whether aging rock stars could sustain their careers. He considers the youthful nature of rock music and its audience during that era.

Mick Jagger’s Enduring Appeal

Kemp shares his personal experience of seeing Mick Jagger perform at Earls Court in May 1976 and how it left an indelible mark on him.

He discusses Jagger’s unique stage presence, fashion, and influence on subsequent rock stars.

Survival Through Decades of Pop Trends

Kemp highlights the resilience of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones through various musical trends, particularly during the rise of punk.

He discusses how Jagger’s adaptability allowed him to remain relevant.

The Jagger Brand and Cultural Influence

Kemp explores Mick Jagger’s appeal to working-class individuals, portraying him as a gatecrasher of the aristocratic elite.

Jagger’s life and style are seen as aspirational.

Enduring Relevance of Jagger’s Music

Kemp delves into the timeless nature of Mick Jagger’s music, noting its continued relevance and its ability to connect with new generations.

Mick Jagger’s Continued Impact

Kemp draws attention to Mick Jagger’s continued vitality, which allows him to connect with audiences of all ages.

He acknowledges the significance of cultural gifts from artists like Jagger, emphasizing their impact on a wide demographic.

Mick Jagger’s Timelessness

Kemp concludes by acknowledging Mick Jagger’s enduring appeal and his ability to defy the constraints of time, making the case that time is indeed on Jagger’s side.

He revisits memorable moments from Jagger’s performances and their cultural significance.

A Timeless Rock Icon

In closing, Kemp pays tribute to Mick Jagger on his birthday and celebrates the lasting influence of this iconic rock star.

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