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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 23:21 GMT 00:21 UK
Mick Jagger answers your questions
Sir Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger agreed to answer questions from BBC News website readers to mark the release of his first solo compilation album.

And almost 1,800 questions were sent for the Rolling Stones legend. A selection of the best were put to the singer, and you can read his answers below or watch the video interview.


Q: What criteria did you use in selecting the tracks for The Very Best of Mick Jagger? Cheryl, Kentucky, USA

A: I stuck them on my computer, put them all in a big playlist and listened to them all. And then on a piece of paper I said 'good', 'bad', 'horrible', and the good ones I kept.

John Lennon
John Lennon produced Jagger's solo track Too Many Cooks
Q: Tell us about the track Too Many Cooks, produced by John Lennon. Why has it not been released before? Cliff Mann, Perth, Australia

A: I've no idea why we didn't put it out. We just forgot about it. It was just one of those things. I was trying to find the master [tape] and I was digging around - one was destroyed in a fire, one was given to a wife in a divorce who threw it out.

We did find a good master - May Pang, who was John's girlfriend at the time, gave me the master.

Q: Will you ever tour solo without the other Stones? Aden Orr, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

A: I've just finished two years on the road and I'm having a bit of a rest. So this time it's a bit doubtful.

Q: You are older than my dad, yet at 60 he barely shifts from the sofa after working a 48-hour week. Could you give him some tips on how to retain some energy and keep on rocking? Claire Cobb, London, England

A: That's a long week. He should move to France. Work less. He should work maybe 30 hours and then get out more and go dancing with his daughter. You should teach him. That would do it.

Q: I'd like to know if the Mick Jagger one sees on stage is the real persona or a caricature developed over time and influenced by what you think the public expect. Ian James, Aylesbury, England

The on-stage character when you're in front of 50,000 people is slightly different from the character that would be making the kids breakfast
A: What a cynical question! A character perhaps. Or different characters within characters because you've got to do the sad, the happy, the cynical - whatever song you're doing. It's a bit like acting.

Obviously I think the on-stage character when you're in front of 50,000 people is slightly different from the character that would be talking to you today, one-on-one, or making the kids' breakfast. You don't want to be making the kids' breakfast going [puts on stadium voice] 'Are you alright?' Obviously it's different being on stage than being at home.

Q: Which one of the classic Stones hits are you sick of performing? Paul Summerton, Staines, England

A: I'm not sick of any of any of them. I love them all equally - just like my children, they are.

Amy Winehouse and Mick Jagger
Amy Winehouse joined the Stones on stage at a festival this summer
Q: Amy Winehouse joined you at the Isle of Wight Festival this year - she was fantastic. What have you made of her troubles and what should be done to help her? Johnny, Arran, Scotland

A: What a worry, eh? It seems to have gone a bit quiet now hasn't it, the Amy Winehouse story. Everyone goes through these things when they get very famous so hopefully Amy will come out the other side with equanimity and a new lease of life.

Q: Mick, I know Jimmy and the gang would be happy to see you at the Led Zeppelin gig. Have you asked to come on board and perform? Bob Hetherington, Vancouver, Canada

A: It's been a long time in the making. I heard this awful rumour they're only going to play half an hour. If I remember, the drum solos used to be half an hour, and I'm not exaggerating. But I'm sure they're going to play two hours.

If I'm here in London I'll definitely go. Will I go on stage? Nah. They haven't done anything on stage for 20 years together, I'm not going to interlope into their big night out.

Q: Would you ever consider a short tour or one-off show with some of the former band members such as Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman with the current line-up? John Sirochman, New Jersey, USA

A: It's a thought, I'm not sure I'll really entertain it. I'm not sure what the rest of the band think either. Maybe they would hate the idea. I'll ask. It's an interesting question.

The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones scored their first UK hit in 1963
Q: What do think you would be doing now if things had not taken off in the '60s - would the Stones be an unsuccessful blues band or would you be economics correspondent on the BBC? Bruce Holden, Bristol, England

A: Maybe I would be doing something like that. Or I'd be in Africa trying to help a beleaguered economy. Who knows. Or probably an ex-ballet dancer with bad knees.

Q: Over the years, you have become one of the most impersonated people in the world - who do you think has "done" you best? Alan Ivory, Kent, England

A: I haven't seen the Counterfeit Stones. I've seen him in pictures but I've never seen them live, so I'm sure they're pretty good. The guy does me pretty well.

Q: How do you spend your time when not on tour with the Stones? What is a typical day for you? Andrew Lawrence, Addingham, England

A: Same as everyone else really. Get up as late as possible, have breakfast as late as possible, do a tiny bit in the gym, go out for a walk, read a book. A real day off you mean, like a Sunday. Go and have lunch with the kids. Go out dancing. That's it really.

Q: Does Sir Mick feel he deserves his knighthood? Andrew Platt, Warrington, UK

A: It's not up to you to really worry about deserving it. It's whether you get given it or not. 'Dear Your Majesty, please accept my knighthood back because I really don't deserve it'. I don't think people really do that. But it's very nice to have.

Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon are one of Jagger's favourite current bands
Q: Which modern bands do you listen to and which do you think will maintain a career as long as the Rolling Stones? Claire Fleming, Glasgow, UK

A: I like Kings of Leon, I like Green Day... but I don't know if any of those bands are really going to last forever because I don't know if they really want to. They might just want to be musicians in another form. Not everyone wants to stay together as a band.

Q: Do you sing your own songs in the shower? Dani, Richmond, England

A: Absolutely - but not usually my own. The thing about shower songs is you never quite know what's going to pop in. It could be something you've just heard on the radio or it could be something from years ago.

Q: An insight to a person's soul is sometimes to know what makes them laugh. What comedy has given you the greatest belly laugh? Margaret Watts, Tucson, USA

A: I think Inspector Clouseau. You see those late at night when they re-show them. That can be really funny and that can be a real belly laugh.

Q: During one of your Mick-cam videos I saw on TV, you mentioned something about having a prayer before a performance. Do you always have a prayer before a performance, and who do you pray to? Mike McKinley, Texas, USA

I can't think of any band less likely to do a prayer before going on stage than the Rolling Stones
A: I think it was a joke because there are some people who do prayers. But I can't think of any band less likely to do a prayer before going on stage than the Rolling Stones. Have a drink is perhaps what they do. A prayer is unlikely.

Q: What's on your iPod? David, Lytham, UK

A: Eighty gigs of everything! I just bought a new one the other day. I have everything on my iPod - every possible kind of music. They have some weird classifications though when you download them because I found Bing Crosby under world music. All my Indian music is under world music so I now get Bing Crosby if I put it on shuffle.

Q: I am currently teaching my Year 11 students about the impact of the Rolling Stones in preparation for their GCSE history coursework on Britain in the 1960s. How does Mick feel about being part of the history curriculum, and if he was sitting the exam himself how would he describe the Stones' impact on Britain? Alison McClean, Bristol, England

A: I have a daughter who's doing GCSEs at the moment - she hasn't got me in her syllabus. She's much more traditional. It's more the cause of World War I, that sort of thing. I suppose pop music was very important in the 1960s, it became perhaps too important. It was one of the things in popular culture.

Alison, I'm sure you're teaching it as part of the whole popular culture movement. I'm sure it's brilliantly accurate - or perhaps not because if you look up a lot of it, it's nonsense. But it was an interesting historical tipping point.

Q: How well did the Stones get on with the Beatles? Huw Gale, Cardiff, Wales

They were really very easy to get on with - but they weren't always nice to everybody
A: Very well. Of course, there was a lot of competition but the Beatles were always hugely more popular and had a head start on us. They were so massive and there's never been a band since that's been so big.

But we got on very well with them and they were very helpful to us. They gave us a song, which was one of our first top 10 hits in England. They were really very easy to get on with. But they weren't always nice to everybody.

Q: Which is your favourite cover version of a Stones song? Leon Jones, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England

A: I think Otis Redding's Satisfaction has got to be in there. Aretha Franklin did a quite good version of Satisfaction as I recall as well. Erm, and then... after that I can't remember. Britney Spears did a good version of Satisfaction.

Q: Is there an end in sight for The Rolling Stones? Have you any plans to take a break, or is it as Keith says "the only way to quit will be in a coffin"? David Nicholl, Clones, Co Monaghan, Ireland

You never know what happens, but as far as I'm concerned I'm sure we'll continue
A: I don't know, I can't look into a crystal ball. I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours and we've got no plans to stop any of that really. So you never know what happens to you, but as far as I'm concerned I'm sure we'll continue.

Q: I think Let it Bleed is perhaps my favourite Rolling Stones LP with Get Your Ya-Ya's a close second. She's the Boss is my favourite of your solo works. Which LP would you consider your greatest work? Bob Kellum, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

A: I don't know if I have a favourite. I think Beggar's Banquet is a good collection and Exile on Main Street has its moments.

Q: If you could be Doctor Mick Who, travel in time and sing with anybody in the history of music, who would it be? Marc McFarland, Seattle, USA

A: Perhaps the castrati. I remember seeing this telly show the other day about trying to recreate what the castrati singers sounded like. But they couldn't really tell how these castrati boys sounded, so you could go back in time to the 18th Century to Venice and listen to the pure sound of these castrati singing.

That might be an interesting little time trip. I'm not volunteering for the process, I'm going to stay in the audience.

Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have just finished their Bigger Bang world tour
Q: Do you ever get nervous on stage or in the studio after all these years? Jan, Kentucky, USA

A: No, you don't get nervous. Before the first night of a tour, it can be very harrowing because you don't really know what's going to happen - you don't know how the set's going to work, you don't know anything. It all could go terribly wrong. It doesn't usually. I've seen people that get stage fright and it's horrific. You think 'why are they doing all this?'

Q: What dream or goal do you still wish to achieve? Anthony Price, Yatton, England

A: Well, I've never directed a movie so that would be good to do.

Q: Your voice is and always has been great. But, there will come a day when it will be time to hang up the mic. Whose judgement do you trust enough to tell you this? Jon Barker, Retford, England

A: Your own judgement. The trouble is, when you get older or you smoke a lot, your voice changes. As a singer, you know you can't go to certain notes. But that is not everything, it's the expression you put into it.

Some of the most famous singers in blues and popular music had almost no range at all, they do everything in four notes. It's a lot to do with expression. Voices are not necessarily interesting because they're technically good in pop music. When you're young, you can't sing very well at all but people love it.

Q: Every year there's a will they/won't they question over whether the Stones will play Glastonbury, but they never do. Can you ever see it happening? Would you like it to happen? Damian Tichborne, Bristol, England

A: I don't want to play Glastonbury on the Sunday night in the pouring rain, which is what The Who did this year. I was watching it on the telly, and my kids were there. I'm on the phone saying 'it's awful'. They said it's really fun, but it didn't look fun to me. You've got to pick your slot.


SEE ALSO
Stones are 'top earners of year'
21 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Stones take festival centre stage
11 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Mick Jagger denies being 'tight'
17 May 07 |  Entertainment
Scorsese and Jagger join forces
28 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Jagger's father dies of pneumonia
12 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Satisfaction is 'top Stones song'
17 Aug 06 |  Entertainment

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