Music News

Mick Jagger has spent most of his life entertaining the masses. Since 1962, he’s fronted the Rolling Stones. For over 60 years, he has inspired countless performers. For most of that time, he’s been the gold standard for fronting a band. Imitators have come and gone for decades, but they’ve proved one thing: There’s only one Mick Jagger.

Remarkably, he’s still going strong. In honor of his 80th birthday today (July 26), we take a look at ten iconic performances from Jagger’s career.

  • 'The Ed Sullivan Show' - 1/15/1967

    The Rolling Stones appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show six times. While the “best” performance will always cause a debate, what isn’t up for debate is the band’s most infamous performance, which occurred on January 15, 1967. It was the Stones’ fifth time on the show, and it was when they were infamously censored. When they performed “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” the band was told by Sullivan to change the lyric to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.” The fact Mick playfully rolls his eyes at the camera during the first chorus never gets old.

  • 'The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus' - 12/11/1968

    This concert film was recorded in 1968 but wasn’t properly released until 1996. Reportedly, Jagger wasn’t satisfied with the Stones’ performance, and there was tension around The Who stealing the show with their performance. The show was also Brian Jones’ final appearance with the band before his ouster and before his untimely death about seven months later on July, 3, 1969.

    However, there remains something truly magical about the whole event. In addition to the Stones and The Who, the concert film also featured John Lennon, Yoko One, Marianne Faithfull and Jethro Tull. Oddly enough, The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus is the only footage that features Tony Iommi during his two-week stint as a member of Jethro Tull.

  • 'The Stones in the Park' - 7/5/1969

    The Stones in the Park was supposed to be the band’s triumphant return to the stage, as they hadn’t performed a public concert since 1967. It was also Mick Taylor’s first show with the Stones. Of course, the free festival show at London’s Hype Park turned into a sudden memorial. Two days before the show, Brian Jones died. Mick Jagger gave a eulogy for Jones before the Stones’ set that included the release of white butterflies. While some are critical of the band’s performance during some of the set, it shows the sheer resilience of the Stones and their “show must go on” defiance.

  • Marquee Club - 3/26/1971

    This intimate gig is truly the stuff of legend. It wasn’t an official gig on their U.K. tour in support of Sticky Fingers, which was released the following month. However, it acted like a fun farewell before the Stones moved to the South of France for tax reasons. It’s noted the crowd included some major names, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and former Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. The show was eventually released in 2015 as part of their ongoing “From the Vault” series. It’s one of the best examples of the Stones just being one of the best live acts in rock history. Oldham told NME following the show, “They’re still the most fertile live group there is. They’re still into songs. The music business has nothing to do with real life, whereas The Stones do.”

  • 'Live at the Checkerboard Lounge' - 11/22/1981

    The Rolling Stones’ love of American blues goes back to their literal beginning. Of course, it bears mentioning the band’s name was inspired by Muddy Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone.” Sure, Waters and the Stones didn’t perform that track during this show at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge, but that would’ve been too obvious. There’s just something really cool about Jagger taking a backseat to Waters during this show. Even though he was one of the best frontmen on Earth, he knew his place on that stage. You gotta respect that. Waters died about a year-and-a-half later in April 1983. It just makes you appreciate this show that much more. As with many Stones classic concerts, it would eventually be released in a variety of audio and video formats.

  • Live Aid - 7/13/1985

    Three words made John F. Kennedy Stadium come unglued during Live Aid: “Alright, where’s Tina?” In light of the recent passing of Tina Turner, this performance has somehow become more legendary. Seriously, have you ever seen two incredibly sexy people have this much fun on stage ever? (Wait…strike that. Please don’t answer that question.) It’s a performance that will always bring joy and one we’ll forever be grateful actually happened.

  • Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto (aka: SARSStock) - 7/30/2003

    We don’t talk about SARSStock enough! This show had an incredible lineup. In addition to the Stones, other acts that played included AC/DC, Rush, The Guess Who and…Justin Timberlake, who actually had bottles of urine thrown at him during his set. (Guess that’s what happens when you book a pop star for a rock festival.)

    The one-day festival was put together to help reignite Toronto’s tourism industry, which was hit hard by the SARS epidemic due to multiple outbreaks. Needless to say, it helped. The show attracted 500,000 people, with the Stones headlining the event. A portion of their set can be viewed here, while a CBC news package about the event can be viewed below.

  • Super Bowl Halftime Show - 2/5/2006

    During the mid-aughts following the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake in 2004, the Super Bowl halftime show went on a run of classic rock artists. (Presumably, the powers that be assumed the likes of Paul McCartney and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers wouldn’t expose themselves on live television.) One of those classic rock artists to play the halftime show during that time was the Stones at Super Bowl XL in Detroit at Ford Field. The may have only played three songs (“Start Me Up,” “Rough Justice” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction), but the legendary band left it all out on the stage.

  • Copacabana Beach - 2/18/2006

    A reported 1.5 million people attended the free Rolling Stones concert in Rio De Janeiro on Copacabana Beach in 2006. Like many iconic Stones shows, it was eventually released in various audio and video formats. The mini-doc below is a wonderful look at a truly historic event.

  • Glastonbury - 6/29/2013

    It took 43 years since the first installment of Glastonbury, the U.K.’s most iconic festival, for the Rolling Stones to make their debut. As is often said, good things come to those who wait. The Stones delivered a classic 20-song setlist and even had Mick Taylor come out and make a guest appearance with the band. Per The Guardian, the Stones drew 2.6 million viewers on BBC2 during the broadcasted portion of their set.

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