IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Call him Sir Mick

60-year-old Jagger accepts knighthood from Prince Charles
/ Source: The Associated Press

An icon of rock rebelliousness officially joined the British establishment Friday — and hardly anyone objected.

Rolling Stone Keith Richards was that rare dissenter as bandmate Mick Jagger — the group’s raffish, womanizing front man once convicted on a drug charge — accepted a knighthood from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

The lack of fuss marked a shift in British attitudes since 1965, when some outraged dignitaries returned their gold medals in protest after The Beatles were made Members of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE. Times change. Former Beatle Paul McCartney, Beatles’ producer George Martin, Elton John and Cliff Richard preceded Jagger as rock knights.

Two other senior rockers — Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Gary Brooker of Procol Harum — were at the palace Thursday to collect MBEs for their charity work.

The announcement last year of Jagger’s honor elicited a couple of angry letters to The Daily Telegraph. A Canadian woman whose husband, mother and grandfather all received honors wrote: “By giving a knighthood to a rogue like Mick Jagger, the prime minister has denigrated all the worthy recipients of honors from Her Majesty the Queen.”

Jagger, 60 years old and still touring, sported a designer suit with leather lapels and black suede and leather sneakers for the occasion. He denied that he had betrayed his unconventional past, which epitomized the “sex, drugs and rock ’n roll” lifestyle.

“I don’t think the establishment as we knew it exists any more,” he told reporters. Honors are very nice “as long as you don’t take it all too seriously.”

Jagger laughed off the criticism from Richards, who denounced the knighthood as a disgrace.

“I think he would probably like to get the same honor himself,” Jagger said.

“It’s like being given an ice cream — one gets one and they all want one. It’s nothing new. Keith likes to make a fuss.”

Family gathering
Jagger came to the ceremony with his 92-year-old father Joe — who decades ago chided his son’s passion for “jungle music” — and daughters Karis, 32, and Elizabeth, 19.

Queen Elizabeth II was hospitalized Friday for knee surgery. Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, has been sharing the job of distributing knighthoods and had always been scheduled to preside at Friday’s ceremonies.

Born Michael Philip Jagger in Dartford, a London suburb, Jagger studied at the prestigious London School of Economics, where he started playing with Richards and Brian Jones.

They made their first public appearance at a jazz club in 1962, taking the name Rolling Stones from Muddy Waters’ “The Rolling Stone Blues.” Bass player Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts joined later.

The Stones’ first recording, “Come On,” barely made it into the British top 50, but by 1964 they were beating The Beatles in some popularity polls.

In 1965, the Stones had one of their greatest hits with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”; other numbers in their raunchy repertoire include “Gimme Shelter,” “Brown Sugar,” “Honky Tonk Women” and “Start Me Up.”

Jagger’s frenzied dancing, pouting and posturing made him the incarnation of “Jumping Jack Flash,” another of the band’s hits, and his thick lips became the band’s logo.

In 1967, Jagger, Richards and Jones were sentenced to prison for drug offenses — in Jagger’s case, three months for possessing four stimulant pills that he had purchased legally in Italy.

Jagger’s daughter Karis was from a relationship with singer Marsha Hunt. In 1971, he married Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, and they had a daughter, Jade; they divorced in 1980. His marriage to former model Jerry Hall — which produced four children — was annulled in 1999 after model Luciana Morad said she was pregnant with Jagger’s youngest child, Lucas.