Already have an account?
Get back to the

Young Mick Jagger: The Early Years of the Rolling Stones Legend in 10 Must-See Photos

Take a strut down memory lane as we examine the rock god’s life in pictures!

In 1972, Dick Cavett interviewed a then 29-year-old young Mick Jagger, and asked the musician if he could picture himself doing what he does on stage at the age of 60. Jaggers’s response? “Yeah, easily.” Cavett’s reply was an incredulous “Really?!”, but the rocker didn’t waver. What could’ve been interpreted as naïveté or youthful delusion on Jagger’s part at that time proved to just be, well, good instincts. The living legend is still rockin’ and rollin’ with the best of them today at 80.

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs live on stage at U Arena 
Mick Jagger performing, age 74 (2017) Brian Rasic / Contributor / Getty

And Jagger doesn’t show signs of slowing down. He’s the father of eight children, as old as 53 (daughter Karis) and as young as 7 (son Deveraux, who he had with his partner Melanie Hamrick, a 36-year-old choreographer).

Plus, The Rolling Stones have recently released a new album, Hackney Diamonds, their first in 18 years. Soon, he’ll be hitting the road to promote it on the Stones Tour 2024 Hackney Diamonds, which, yes, is sponsored by AARP, but fans know that Jagger will deliver a high-energy thrill-ride of a performance despite his age, which will require a lot of prep and energy.

Jagger told The Sunday Times in 2022 that he takes training for the stage seriously, and his workouts include “six weeks of practice even before rehearsals start,” and that his practices include “dancing, gym, every day of the week.… I don’t enjoy it very much,” he added of the workouts, “but it has to be done.”

"The Rolling Stones" pose for an early portrait
Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones (1963) Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty

The band’s music dictates that he be at the top of his game for his fans. “Rock ’n’ roll, or any kind of pop music honestly, isn’t supposed to be done when you’re in your 70s. It wasn’t designed for that,” he noted in the same interview. “Doing anything high-energy at this age is really pushing it. But that makes it even more challenging. So it’s, like, ‘OK, we’ve got to f—ing do this right,’ but it’s got to be as full-on as possible. Of course you could do another type of music — we’ve got lots of ballads. I could sit on a chair.” 

But that’s not what the inspiration behind Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” intends to do and everyone knows it, including his contemporaries. “You’re never going to out-front Mick Jagger, he’s the best frontman there’s ever been,” The Who’s Roger Daltry, himself 79, once said. “There’s no competition at all. There’s Mick, and then all the rest of us are somewhere down the line.”

Read on to see how a young Mick Jagger grew up and evolved into the rock fixture he is today.

Young Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger young: A young Mick Jagger posed at home
Mick Jagger, age 3 (1946) Stones Archive / Stringer / Getty

Born Michael Philip Jagger in 1943 in Dartford, Kent, England, Jagger grew up in a musical family. His mother, Eva Ensley Mary, introduced him to jazz and blues artists when he was just a child, which obviously sparked his interest in the arts. “I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing,” the rocker wrote in According to the Rolling Stones, a shared group memoir compiled by the band. “Some kids sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio…or watching them on TV and in the movies.”

He recalls some of his earliest influences being Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Nina Simone and Elvis Presley, and music in general was a big part of his youth. “I had a number of friends who had their own record collections, so we used to go round to their houses and listen to them there,” he shared. Inspired by all the artists he admired, Jagger put a band together with some mates called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. “We played everything and anything — that’s how you learn,” the rocker noted.

Mick Jagger Young: A school photo of a 9 year old Mick Jagger (1951)
Mick Jagger, age 9 (1951) Stones Archive / Stringer /Getty

Jagger’s father, Basil Fanshawe “Joe” Jagger, was “an academic person and a teacher and a fitness enthusiast” who wasn’t too keen on his son’s obsession with music, the singer told The Times.

As a former gymnast and gym teacher, though, his dad “taught me how physicality was important,” Jagger added, which is probably a key to his nonstop success and energy level through his 80s. During his school years, Jagger also contemplated a career in film or TV, “but you can’t do everything, can you? There was so much academic work to do, and so much sport, and my father certainly didn’t lead me down that direction,” he explained.

Mick Jagger Young: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards pose for photo
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (1967) Bettmann / Contributor / Getty

Jagger had been elementary school classmates with Keith Richards, but the two had lost contact for years until meeting up again in 1960 while waiting for a train. The two discovered they shared a love for music and they moved in together into a cheap, tiny and dirty apartment, along with rhythm guitarist Brian Jones.

“When we first moved in, both Keith and I’s moms would do our washing for us, and they used to…deliver, somehow, clean clothes,” Jagger joked in an interview on the band’s YouTube channel about that time, when he was enrolled in the London School of Economics studying finance and accounting. His love for music and performing couldn’t be denied, though, and the three flatmates would go on to form the group that would eventually become The Rolling Stones in the early ’60s.

Banding Together 

The Rolling Stones posed by the river Thames in London in 1963
Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts posed (1963) Mark and Colleen Hayward / Contributor / Getty

One of the group’s earliest gigs — when they were billed as The Rollin’ Stones, named after a Muddy Waters song — came in 1962 at a London club. By 1963, Jagger had left school to pursue his music full-time, and the gamble was worth it: By the following year, they had their first No. 1 hit in England with a cover of “It’s All Over Now,” written by Shirley and Bobby Womack.

They also headlined their first tour in the U.K., accompanied by the Ronettes. Their touring would take them to the U.S. in June 1964, when the Associated Press labeled them as “dirtier and streakier and more disheveled than the Beatles.”

The Rolling Stones performing on The Ed Sullivan Show (1964)
The Rolling Stones performing on The Ed Sullivan Show (1964) Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty

Undeterred by the jab, Jagger and the band played on, and in October 1964 they landed a coveted spot on The Ed Sullivan Show, though its titular host was not a fan. “I promise you they’ll never be back on our show,” Sullivan told the media (though they did return in 1967), claiming he blindly relied on British talent scouts for the booking and adding that he was “shocked when I saw them. It took me years to build this show; I’m not going to have it destroyed in a matter of weeks.”

Mick Jagger Young: Mick Jagger performs on stage at the Fourth National Richmond Jazz & Blues Festival, United Kingdom
Mick Jagger, age 21 (1964) Stanley Bielecki/ASP / Contributor / Getty

Again, it was just more fuel to the fire for Jagger and Richards. Determined to start writing their own music, the duo dutifully got to work. In 1965, their original song “The Last Time” hit the top of the charts as well. Just four months later, they’d hit No. 1 in the U.K. again — and for the first time in the U.S. — with the tune that truly catapulted the Stones to superstardom: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The single, with music by Richards and lyrics by Jagger, who penned them poolside at a Tampa hotel — was a smash, though it was banned from many radio stations for its allegedly suggestive lyrics.

Young Mick Jagger in love

Mick Jagger Young: Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and girlfriend, singer Marianne Faithfull
Mick Jagger, age 26, and girlfriend Marianne Faithfull (1969) Bettmann / Contributor / Getty

Romance was in the air for the rocker around this time, too, as he and singer-songwriter Marianne Faithful, then a young mother, went public in 1966 with their affair after she left her husband for Jagger. The relationship wasn’t destined to last, however, especially under the glare of scrutiny from the press.

The couple split by 1970, but both their time together and their struggles — including drug abuse — are said to have inspired several Stones songs, including “Sister Morphine,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Wild Horses.”

His relationship with Marsha Hunt shortly after was short-lived, but it notably made Jagger a first-time father in 1970 when his daughter Karis was born. A marriage to Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías came in 1971, and is just one of his two marriages (the other being to Jerry Hall in 1990, though that one was later ruled to not legally be valid). “I don’t like the legal implications [of marriage]. It’s like signing a 356-page contract without knowing what’s in it. I think it’s bullsh–. I’m just kind of happy going on the way I am,” he told Interview magazine in the ’80s.

Mick Jagger in the movie “Performance”
Anita Pallenberg and Mick Jagger in “Performance” (1970)

The rock star did make good on his childhood dream of being an actor, though, having starred in a few films, including 1968’s Performance (as a reclusive rock star) and 1970’s Ned Kelly (in which he played the Australian bushranger), as well as on Saturday Night Live this year. Still, it’s the music world on which Jagger’s left his most indelible mark, helping The Rolling Stones endure for more than 60 years, in which they’ve released more than 30 studio albums and sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

Mick Jagger Young: Mick Jagger performs at the 1988 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Mick Jagger performing at 1988 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Images Press / Contributor / Getty

When they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, Jagger joked, “It’s slightly ironic that tonight you see us on our best behavior, but we’re being rewarded for 25 years of bad behavior.… But I have to be slightly sappy, I suppose. I must say I’m very proud to work with this group of musicians.”

For more of our favorite stars, keep reading…

Keanu Reeves Young: 17 Jaw-Dropping Photos of Hunk With A Heart of Gold

George Clooney Young: 19 Must-See Photos of the Heartthrob Over the Years

Young Clint Eastwood: How the Western Legend Got His Start

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.