It's hardly unusual when this or that '60s or '70s pop/rock star now in his/her 60s or 70s becomes a grandparent. Bob Dylan has nine grandkids, Paul McCartney has eight and Robert Plant, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, Carly Simon and Roger Daltrey are just a few of the other proud pop grandpops/mas.
It's also well known that each and every Rolling Stone is a grandfather, with bassist Bill Wyman deserving special mention: Perhaps inspired by the beloved standard "I'm My Own Grandpa" (sometimes rendered as "He's His Own Grandpa" and "I'm My Own Grandmaw"), Wyman came this close to actually being his second wife's grandfather.
Leave it to chief Stone Mick Jagger to provide a real news flash: he will soon become a great-grandfather. (Mick's granddaughter Assisi is pregnant. Assisi has yet to name the forthcoming child, but thank God St. Francis was childless.)
Sir Mick's announcement comes during the 50th anniversary year of the Stones, long past the time when, many have argued, he should have let go of the preening rock star persona that served him so well for so long.
Mick's business savvy and showmanship are as finely honed as his music, and as grandfatherhood approaches, it becomes clear that all along he's been planting lyrical seeds to blossom the minute his lineage reaches a fourth generation.
An ardent student of popular music history, Jagger well understands that songs about mere grandfatherhood are a dime a dozen. There's nothing interesting in adding to a canon that includes "Grandfather's Clock," "Grandad," "Grandpa," "Grandpa Told Me So," "Grandpa's Song" and the clever "Son of A Son of A Sailor." Even if Mick were to switch to a distaff voice, he'd be up against "Grandma's Hands," "Grandma's Theme," "Grandma's Song" and "Nana's Reprise." And he's far too smart to get in the ring with the near-sacred Christmas favorite, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer."
It turns out that Sir Mick's a lot more visionary than even his most faithful admirers could have suspected. Having sensed decades ago that someday his ferocious energy would flag, he wrote and recorded songs which would become geezer pleasers by changing a word here or a phrase there. The result is something of a ready-made soundtrack for the inevitable shift -- in both himself and his audience -- from rocking with the music to rocking in the chair.
If things go according to plan, boomers will soon be swaying to the strains of "(I've Gotten Plenty of) Satisfaction" and "You Can Always Get What You Want (If You Live Long Enough)." Covers were also chosen with an eye for future conversion. One can well imagine "It's (Almost) All Over Now," "Time Is (Most Certainly Not) on My Side," "I Wanna Be Your (Great-grandfather)" and "(I'm) Fade(ing) Away" scoring with seniors longing for an alternative to Lawrence Welk.
One must also marvel at the crafty way Sir Mick set up a number of his finest love songs so that expressions of sexual yearning could reemerge generations later as touching messages to a newborn. "Oh Baby We Got A Good thing Goin'" becomes a lullaby by simply adding "Great-grand" before "Baby." "Baby, Baby, Baby (I'm Just About) Out of Time" lets the kid know that Mick won't be around forever.
The mental challenges facing older folks are evoked in some of Jagger's most vivid reimaginings. Picture the prospective great-granddad wandering the maternity ward asking, "Anybody Seen My (Great-Grand) Baby?" Then, having located the child, he might become so disoriented that he turns to the infant and pleads, "Have You Seen Your Great-grandfather, Baby (Standing in My Shadow)?"
Long after Sir Mick departs this mortal coil, his great-grandchild can spread the Undisputed Truth revealed in a slight variant of a 1971 psychedelic soul chestnut: "(Great-grand) Poppa Was a Rolling Stone."