I’d Rather Be Dead than Sing Satisfaction When I’m 45

Mick Jagger? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is one of their most popular songs. Today lead singer Mick Jagger is almost seventy years old. When he was much younger he supposedly said something like this:

I’d rather be dead than singing Satisfaction when I’m forty-five.
I’d rather die than be 45 and still singing Satisfaction.
I don’t want to be singing Satisfaction when I’m 40.

Is one of these quotes accurate, or is this a joke from a prankster music journalist?

Quote Investigator: On June 9, 1975 People magazine published an article titled “The Jaggers” that included the following remark from Mick Jagger who was almost thirty-two years old. Bold face has been added [JJMJ]:

Jagger and the Stones have endured at the top longer than any other rock band, but as for the future, Jagger admits that it could all suddenly end. “I only meant to do it for two years. I guess the band would just disperse one day and say goodbye. I would continue to write and sing, but I’d rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I’m 45.

In 1981 Time magazine printed a story listing several different cut-off ages and suggesting that Jagger himself had trouble recalling his words. A memoir released in 1983 claimed that Jagger spoke on this topic in 1965. Details are given further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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