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Beggar's Banquet

Arise, Sir Mick: Jagger gets knighted. The Rolling Stone brings his dad and two of his daughters, ribs Keith Richards for calling him a sellout

Mick Jagger | TO SIR WITH LOVE Jagger goes gently into that good knighthood
Image credit: Mick Jagger: AFP PHOTO/MATTHEW FEARN/WPA POOL/Newscom
TO SIR WITH LOVE Jagger goes gently into that good knighthood

Keith Richards may be the last person alive who thinks his songwriting partner Mick Jagger sold out by accepting a knighthood, but the Rolling Stones singer at least defied convention with his fashion statement on Friday, the day he was dubbed Sir Michael Jagger at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Instead of the traditional top hat and tails, the 60-year-old rocker wore a black suit with leather lapels, a purple scarf, and black sneakers. The family-minded singer also brought along his 92-year-old father and two of his seven children.

Queen Elizabeth II tapped Jagger for knighthood a year and a half ago, but the singer begged off while the Stones were on the road for their ''Forty Licks'' world tour. The Queen was hospitalized for knee surgery and missed Friday's ceremony; Prince Charles filled in for his mother and tapped Jagger on each shoulder with a sword.

Jagger's knighthood places him among such musical peers as Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John. Richards, however, was not amused. "I thought it was ludicrous to take one of those gongs from the Establishment when they did their very best to throw us in jail,'' the Stones guitarist recently told Uncut magazine. ''I told Mick, 'It's a f---ing paltry honor.''' Richards said he doubted he'd ever be offered a knighthood himself ''because they know what I would've said... they knew I'd tell them where they could put it.'' On Friday, Jagger shrugged off his bandmate's comments as sour grapes, telling reporters, ''It's like being given an ice cream -- one gets one and they all want one.''

Clearly, it's been a long time since the 1960s, when the Stones carefully cultivated a dangerous image, when Jagger and Richards were both convicted of drug possession charges (later overturned on appeal), when the band sang songs like ''Sympathy for the Devil.'' The establishment Richards referred to used to find itself frequently outraged by the Stones' antics; on Friday, however, Jagger said, ''I don’t think the establishment as we knew it exists any more.''

Originally posted Dec 12, 2003
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