Steven Tyler Was Very ‘Hurt’ by Early Comparisons to Mick Jagger: ‘Mick Was the Cheapest, Easiest Shot’
Early in his career, the press compared Steven Tyler to The Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger, and he didn’t like it. In fact, it was the worst thing the newspapers could have written. It hurt Tyler very badly.
However, the comparisons never stopped entirely. Throughout Tyler’s career, he’s never been able to escape the comparisons, whether they were funny or serious.
Steven Tyler said the early comparisons to Mick Jagger ‘hurt’
In a 2013 Rolling Stone interview, Tyler and his fellow Aerosmith bandmate, Joe Perry, reflected on their 43 years in the music business. Rolling Stone asked the songwriting partners to elaborate on their comments that Aerosmith is a “B-sides band.”
The publication also asked, “Does that mean songwriting awards carry an extra special weight for you?”
Tyler replied, “They feel really good. But we’ve always just played our music and haven’t given a s***. Still, the ‘Cheap imitation of the Rolling Stones’ criticism was constant. And it hurt for the first couple of years.
“It was constantly Mick Jagger this and Mick Jagger that – that I copied him, and Janis Joplin too. Mick was the cheapest, easiest shot. ‘Well, he looks like him, so let’s write about that.'”
Perry added, “You could tell that they weren’t listening, because we definitely weren’t sounding like the Stones,” and Tyler interjected, “Done our best to try to, though.”
“We steal from everybody,” Perry concluded. “Amateurs copy and pros steal, and we’re professionals. We make no bones about the fact that we took from the people that came before us.”
Jagger impersonated Tyler on ‘SNL’ in 2012
To make those early comparisons worse, Jagger impersonated Tyler on SNL the year before Tyler’s Rolling Stone interview.
Jagger played Tyler during the SNL skit “So You Think You Can Dance At An Outdoor Music Festival.” During the parody reality competition show, comedian Bill Hader introduced “Tyler,” saying, “On loan from ‘American Idol’ and those weird Burger King commercials. We’re lucky to have her… Steven Tyler!”
In his full Steven Tyler costume, Jagger wore a long black curly wig streaked with grey, a woman’s snake print shirt, a bunch of necklaces, and a red bandana tied around his neck. Jagger even squinted, trying to look more like Tyler.
Tyler told Hollywood Life that he thought Jagger’s impersonation didn’t do him justice. “Ohhh, [Mick] got it so wrong,” Tyler said. “He could have done the, ‘Yeah yeah yeah!'”
However, Tyler did say that Jagger certainly looked the part. “I thought he looked good with long hair,” Tyler added. “I’ve always wanted him to grow it back.” Overall, Tyler wasn’t too upset by the impersonation. “It was good,” Tyler admitted. “It was fun.”
Even though those real-life comparisons still always hurt, Tyler knew how to take a joke. Jagger is still one of Tyler’s biggest influences.
Jagger is the Aerosmith frontman’s ‘hero’
According to Business Standard, Tyler once called Jagger his “hero” but was afraid to share that fact because he didn’t want the press to mock him.
“He was my hero,” Tyler said. “There was actually a six-or-seven-year period when I was afraid to tell the press so I was all like, ‘No, he isn’t.’ And then of course, I came out of the closet and went, ‘He is!’ To this day, to this minute, to this second, Mick Jagger is still my hero.”
As he told Rolling Stone, Tyler still received hurtful comparisons to Jagger, whether he admitted The Rolling Stones’ frontman was his hero or not.
Connections to Jagger never stopped. Even Tyler’s oldest daughter, actor Liv Tyler, once thought Jagger was her grandfather. The actor didn’t know Tyler was her father until she was 11 years old. IMDb reports that when her mother finally introduced her to Tyler and revealed he was her real dad, she saw how much Tyler looked like Jagger and asked, “Is that Mick Jagger’s son?”
We don’t know how Tyler took that question. Later, after Tyler ended his stint as a judge on American Idol, his fellow judge, Jennifer Lopez, suggested the show replace him with Jagger. The two frontmen were always connected somehow.