One is a multi-millionaire rock star, the other Britain’s most feared interviewer.
When Cardiff-born journalist John Humphrys met Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger ahead of the band’s headlining appearance at the Glastonbury Festival tonight, there were confessions on both sides. Jagger revealed that he once wanted to be a journalist, while the Welshman confessed that despite a love of classical music and a loathing of rock ‘n’ roll, he actually once saw The Stones play Madison Square Gardens in 1972.
Humphrys this morning broadcast his Radio 4 Today programme from Glastonbury, attending his very first music festival in the process, while The Rolling Stones will tonight make history by debuting at Worthy Farm.
In an interview for the show with the 69-year-old Stones’ frontman, Humphrys, who is a month younger than Jagger – Humphrys is 70 in August, Jagger in July – let slip that he attended a Rolling Stones’ concert at the iconic New York venue when he was the BBC’s first full-time television correspondent in North America.
Jagger, who correctly identified the gig as a date on the band’s Exile On Main Street Tour, was told by the broadcaster that he “was completely blown away along with about 10,000 other people who were there, or 50,000 or whatever it was, a vast audience.”
In return the rock ‘n’ roll showman revealed he once harboured journalistic ambitions.
Answering a question on alternative career paths, Humphrys mentioned that the singer had stated he would have liked to have been a school teacher before his rock career exploded.
“Well a school teacher would have been very gratifying I’m sure, you know, there’re millions of things that you would have loved to have done, a politician, a journalist, I thought of being a journalist once,” said Jagger.
“Yeah, and so all these things that you think of when you’re a teenager you could think, well I would have liked to have done that, but that’s completely pointless. I’m very pleased with what I’ve done.
“Everyone wants to have done more things in their lives. But it’s a slightly intellectually, undemanding being a rock singer but you know you make the best of it.”
As for the big question that keeps recurring, just how long can the Stones, who have been together for more than five decades keep on rolling, Jagger turned the question back on his interviewer.
“I’ve no idea. It’s a bit like asking how long you’re gonna broadcast the Today show for?” posited the singer.
“Well, I’ll tell you the honest answer in my case, it’s as long as they’ll have me,” Humphrys fired back:
“Well, probably I’ll give you the same answer!” quipped the frontman.
Humphrys, who will be in the audience for The Stones’ hit-packed set tonight, has a reputation for his ferocious interrogation of politicians, but admitted he hit it off with the genial rocker.
“He’s a really nice bloke. I thought he was going to be a bit of a… you know. But he was very pleasant.”
* You can listen back to the full interview on BBC iPlayer.