A Crazy St. Tropez Wedding: Mick and Bianka Jagger
Jagger chartered a plane to fly 75 friends who only learned of the wedding the day before, including Paul McCartney and his family, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton and Ronnie Wood (who wouldn’t join the Stones for another four years), from the UK to Saint-Tropez. As McCartney and Starr were embroiled in a harsh legal battle, they were seated far apart.
Jagger and his beloved faced their first major obstacle the morning of the wedding, when Bianca discovered that according to French law, the couple had to make clear “what property they held in common.”
It was only then that she learned “how little this was” and “threatened to call it off, facing Jagger with the prospect of the most humiliating reversal in front of his peers. She eventually relented.”
Obstacle number two also came courtesy of French law, which declared that before the church ceremony — which Jagger had choreographed with the pastor — there had to be a civil ceremony at the town hall, which was open to the public.
Jagger had been hoping to keep the paparazzi at bay, but even the town’s mayor couldn’t override the law or refuse entry to the hundreds of photographers who had flown in with no idea of their good fortune. “When the bride and groom eventually arrived, late and already perspiring, pushing their way as best they could through the crowds of pressmen, holiday makers and rubberneckers,” Hepworth writes, “they appeared harassed and faintly shocked.”
As camera flashes just feet away from the couple dominated the ceremony, Jagger’s parents, “for whom he was always ‘Mike,’ stood in the middle of this mayhem, looking unsurprisingly like people who were watching their son disappear into a mad new world. Their place at their son’s right-hand side had been usurped by [Atlantic Records head] Ahmet Ertegun. He was the daddy now.”
Once the ceremony moved to the church, the Stones’ public-relations person, Les Perrin, who found himself responsible for this madness, had the priest lock the church doors. This led to the unfortunate instance of Jagger having to bang on the door like a commoner for entrance, in full view of the photographers.
At the reception, stars like Julie Christie and Brigitte Bardot danced the Frug to the sounds of an all-star jam that included Stephen Stills, Terry Reid, and members of Santana, to name a few. Keith Richards would have joined, but he was “passed out flat on his back with his mouth open.” (One attendee would later swear to the author that Richards wore a Nazi uniform to the ceremony.)
In recounting the nuptials, the event was found to have been so chaotic that “three men — Richards, saxophonist Bobby Keys and [film director] Roger Vadim — all claimed to have been best man.” Even the bride became confused about the facts. She later claimed to some that Who drummer Keith Moon “invaded” the hotel room she shared with Mick. The author discovered that Moon was en route to a show with his band at the time.
“The Jagger wedding was the shabbiest free-for-all in the history of both rock and marriage and skin-crawlingly embarrassing for all the key participants,” writes Hepworth.
The most dejected participant might well have been Jagger’s father, Joe, who “looked and felt like a stranger at his eldest son’s biggest day.” Throughout two separate vows and the ceremony, he never had a chance to present his son and new daughter-in-law with his gift, which left the event with him. Speaking to a reporter afterward, his take on the day was summed up with, “I hope my other son doesn’t become a superstar.”