After reportedly interviewing more than fifty British writers in his suite at the Savoy in London, Mick Jagger has decided who will ghostwrite his long-awaited autobiography. The lucky scribe is John Ryle, a thirty-one-year-old deputy literary editor for the London Sunday Times. Jagger chose Ryle over a host of better-known names, including Prince Charles’ biographer, Anthony Holden, and noted rock writer Philip Norman, whose book on the Beatles, Shout!, was widely acclaimed last year. Ryle will get a piece of the $2 million advance that Weidenfeld’s, the English publishing house, has already tendered for the tome (no American publisher has yet secured the rights to the book).
Ryle has kept mum since getting the assignment, but one rejected suitor, novelist Adam Mars-Jones, described his interview with Jagger and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts in less than sanguine terms. “There was much booze flowing and exotic tobaccos,” harrumphed Mars-Jones in a published account. He was further put off by Jagger’s cavalier attitude and – heaven forfend – his frequent use of obscenity.
This story is from the May 26th, 1983 issue of Rolling Stone.