Mick Jagger And Keith Richards’ Leadership Duel In A Rolling Stones Album

The power struggles and ego clashes are prevalent in each music band as it is generally challenging for all the band members to compromise and meet on common ground. It can either be due to creative differences or personal problems among the band members. Like many other groups, The Rolling Stones was also no exception in this respect.

As the iconic band celebrated its 60th anniversary in the music scene, it would be almost impossible to think that they haven’t had any of these problems. Brian Jones was their leader and creative genius considering the band’s early days. However, Jones’ departure due to his substance addiction’s effects in 1969 marked a shift in the band’s hierarchy.

Then, Keith Richards started to stand out with his presence on the stage. But at the same time, he was developing a drug addiction that would get him in trouble several times. Thus, Mick Jagger kept the band rolling for much of the ’70s. By the 1980s, there were again changes in the band’s dynamic, which were apparent, especially during the making of their 1983 album, ‘Undercover.’

The Ego Fight Between Keith Richards And Mick Jagger

Keith Richards had given up on hard drugs by the early 1980s and turned his attention back to the Rolling Stones. Attempts to secure the creative leadership of the band led to a power struggle between the guitarist and Mick Jagger. Their feud over the group’s control was pretty evident during the making process of their 17th British and 19th American studio album, ‘Undercover,’ released in 1983.

Both names wanted to move the band’s sound in different directions during this process. Mick Jagger was very interested in new modern styles like reggae and new wave, so he insisted on adopting a musical approach in light of these genres. However, Keith Richards thought it would be more proper to return to their blues-rock roots.

As a result, the tension in the studio was very high. This friction between the two names would increase over the coming years. Keith Richards had saved himself from his self-destructive lifestyle during the ’70s; thus, he wanted to play a more active role within the band. However, it bothered Mick Jagger, who enjoyed the band’s control in the absence of Richards.

The band released ‘Undercover’ amid this ego clash, and it perfectly reflected the creative leadership duel between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, considering the musical diversity. For some listeners, it was challenging to digest due to the inconsistent structure of the album, but for others, it had an unorthodox sound and reflected the band’s desire to try something new.

You can listen to the entire album below.