The Musician Mick Jagger Called The Johnny Cash Of Rock
Mick Jagger is a timeless rock frontman, but rock and roll isn’t his only passion. He is excited about all kinds of music, not just rock, blues, or country. Jagger gives every genre a chance and doesn’t hesitate to listen to the younger generation of musicians or genres many rockers look down upon. He once argued artists like Yungblud, and Machine Gun Kelly brought life to rock music. Besides that, the singer collaborated with various rappers and pop stars, including Dua Lipa, Christina Aguilera, and will.i.am.
As a person who listens to music for music’s sake and a musician who’s been active in the scene for over six decades, Mick Jagger had a chance to witness many artists rise to prominence. In fact, one of the most influential alternative rock bands in history, the Velvet Underground, sought his support when they first emerged on the scene. Although this request didn’t reach Jagger, the band gradually rose to prominence, and the Stones frontman later remembered Lou Reed as the Johnny Cash of rock music.
Before their first paying gig, Lou Reed, John Cale, and Sterling Morrison recorded a demo tape. Upon returning to the UK, John tried to give a copy of the tape to Marianne Faithfull, who was dating Mick Jagger then. He hoped Marianne would pass their demo to the Stones singer, and he would listen to it. However, the tape never reached Jagger. So, it’s unknown how Jagger would react to the demo.
Although the Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones didn’t collaborate on a music effort together, Mick Jagger and Lou Reed’s paths crossed throughout the years. They were Bowie’s guests at the Cafe Royale following Ziggy Stardust’s star-studded final live performance at Hammersmith Odeon. Moreover, Jagger and Reed came across each other on several other occasions. The two later became friends and started visiting each other from time to time.
Speaking to Rolling Stone following Lou Reed’s passing on October 27, 2013, Mick Jagger revealed his thoughts about the musician. He stated that the late musician had his own New York hipster style and was actually a very friendly person. Jagger then claimed that Reed was the Johnny Cash of New York rock, although everyone associated him with punk. He also looked back on time he spent with the singer and revealed his favorite Lou Reed songs: ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ and ‘I’m Waiting For The Man.’
“He had style – that attitudinal New York hipster style,” Mick Jagger said about Lou Reed. “He was quite rude in interviews, but in person, he was actually quite friendly – just not over-effusive. He wasn’t a schmoozer, which was good. Everyone talks about punk, but to me, he was the Johnny Cash of New York rock; he was always the man in black.”
“I used to have him over occasionally in New York,” he recalled, “and later, he used to come and visit Mustique in the West Indies, which is not the most obvious place for Lou Reed to go on vacation. Lots of posh English people. But when I saw him there, he still had that style.”
Jagger continued, “The surprise for me was ‘Walk On The Wild Side.’ It was melodic, really good, and very original, with the background singing and acoustic bass – an original way of presenting him. But ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ was my first big Lou Reed tune. I liked it because it was so minimalist in the arrangement and the chords – and the guitar sound on it was grunge before there was grunge, way back in 1967.”
After developing liver cancer and undergoing a liver transplant, Lou Reed sadly passed away on October 27, 2013. Apparently, Mick Jagger remembers his fellow musician as the Johnny Cash of New York rock, as he was always the man in black to him.