Mick Jagger unveiled fascinating rock tales and “[bared] his soul” in a decades-old, previously unknown memoir, according to London publisher John Blake. However, Rolling Stones management won’t allow Blake to publish the book. A representative for the group would neither confirm nor deny the work’s authenticity, The New York Times reports.
In The Spectator, Blake claimed to own a hard copy of the 75,000-word manuscript, which he called “extraordinary” and compared to “the Dead Sea Scrolls.” The publisher, who believes Jagger worked with a ghostwriter, reportedly acquired the memoir (including the singer’s handwritten notes) from a “mutual friend” three years ago.
Blake teased intriguing passages, like Jagger purchasing a countryside house while high on a psychedelic drug and the band demanding – but not eating – caviar and stuffed quails backstage. “It is delicious, heady stuff,” Blake wrote of the memoir. “Like reading Elvis Presley’s diaries from the days before he grew fat and washed-up in Vegas.”
The publisher said that Jagger wrote the book in the early 1980s, but the publisher rejected it because of its content, which is “light on sex and drugs” in an era when “shock and awe was a vital part of any successful autobiography.”
Blake claimed he reached out to Jagger about publishing the book through Rolling Stones manager Joyce Smyth, who initially said the singer didn’t remember the memoir and requested a copy. Blake wrote that Smyth later confirmed the work’s authenticity, asking if Jagger could author a foreword clarifying that the text was written early in his career. However, in subsequent months, momentum stalled as Jagger became too busy to work on the project; by the end of 2015, after Blake’s repeated inquiries, Smyth denied him permission to publish the memoir.
In a statement to The New York Times, Smyth appeared to verify the book’s existence. “John Blake writes to me from time to time seeking permission to publish this manuscript,” she said, via her law firm. “The answer is always the same: He cannot, because it isn’t his and he accepts this. Readers will be able to form a view as regards the matters to which John Blake refers when Sir Mick’s autobiography appears, should he choose to write it.”
A rep for Jagger referred Rolling Stone to Smyth’s comment to The New York Times.
Jagger has previously appeared disinterested in writing a memoir. “I think the rock ‘n’ roll memoir is a glutted market,” the rocker told The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. “If someone wants to know what I did in 1965, they can look it up on Wikipedia.”
Blake said he couldn’t bypass the band’s management and publish the book since Jagger owns rights to the manuscript. He claimed that, to his knowledge, he owns the only copy besides a photocopy he sent to Jagger.