Publisher John Blake has revealed he has the manuscript for the memoirs of Mick Jagger - but is unable to publish them.
Blake, whose company was bought by Bonnier Publishing in May last year, said in an article written for the Spectator he has possession of a 75,000-word manuscript from Jagger which, if published, would provide not only "extraordinary insight into one of the three most influential rock stars of all time" but held "J K Rowlingesque" financial potential.
The book is said to be "a perfectly preserved time capsule written when the Stones had produced all their greatest music" yet shows "a quieter, more watchful Mick than the fast-living caricature".
Blake, once a national newspaper rock journalist, claims the manuscipt came into his possession three years ago through a mutual friend, after it was rejected in the early 1980s when it was written for being "too light on sex and drugs", then "a vital part of any successful autobiography".
According to Blake's unsubstantiated account, Jagger had been persuaded during the late 1970s by the late Lord Weidenfeld to write the book to stem the tide of unauthorised biographies. He was reputedly paid an advance of £1m, which according to Blake was returned.
After Blake received the manuscript, he contacted Jagger with the intention of publishing it. Due to effects of his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Jagger was unable to remember the manuscript until he read it, according to Blake, after which it's claimed Jagger then agreed to pen a foreword for it "to establish that he wrote this story long ago and far away". But he later changed his mind, Blake said.
"It seemed we were there. But then, as is the way with the Rolling Stones, life took over. There was a tragic death, a tour, a film, a TV series, the Saatchi exhibition. I kept gently pushing but when, eventually, I tried to force a decision, the steel gates clanged shut. Mick wanted nothing further to do with this project. He never wanted to see it published," he wrote. "As a fan, as a publisher, I think I have now reached the end of Route 66. So, apologies to the 10 million people around the world who would love to read this story. After all, as the philosopher Jagger once said: ‘You can’t always get what you want.’"
Joyce Smyth, the Rolling Stones’ manager, has since released a statement saying, “John Blake writes to me from time to time seeking permission to publish this manuscript. The answer is always the same: he cannot, because it isn’t his and he accepts this. Readers will be able to form a view as regards the matters to which John Blake refers when Sir Mick’s autobiography appears, should he choose to write it.”
Bandmate Keith Richards published his autobiography, Life, with Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2010. He also published a picture book, Gus & Me, featuring illustrations by his daughter with Orion Children’s Books in 2014.