We all know Mick Jagger as the flamboyant Rolling Stones frontman. But on this day 52 years ago, Jagger made the news for something completely different from his usual off stage antics.
At the time, The Rolling Stones were at the height of their success, having already released I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
Jagger’s charisma and affinity with the camera made him a prime target for filmmakers. So, in an act of stunt casting, Jagger was offered an exciting new role as an infamous Australian outlaw.
In mid-1969, production of a new Ned Kelly film began in southern New South Wales, Australia, beginning a butterfly effect that changed rock 'n’ roll history.
Legendary mishap on set
Filming mainly took place outdoors, with the cool winter conditions causing illness amongst the crew.
Jagger's girlfriend also overdosed on pills right before filming commenced, a fire destroyed movie costumes, and Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones passed away.
Although the film’s production was already riddled with drama, the most bizarre disaster involved Jagger himself.
In one of Ned Kelly’s final scenes filmed on August 18, 1969, Jagger says he was tasked with “shooting a lot of policemen”. He was given a pistol loaded with blanks, and he filmed the scene as scripted.
The pistol backfired, causing a slew of shrapnel to lodge itself deep into Jagger’s hand, where he was promptly taken to a Canberra hospital for treatment.
Such is life
With his music career potentially on the line following the injury, Jagger spent hours playing guitar, and trying to rehabilitate his severely injured hand.
During this time, Jagger wrote the song Brown Sugar, inspired by the incident.
The song, featuring the lyric “scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright”, was released in 1971, charting worldwide, and being named in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
As for the film, Ned Kelly was released in July of 1970, being widely criticised by audiences and critics.
Jagger was able to heal and continue his career. By now, many people having forgotten about the incident where Jagger got shot in the hand in Australia.
Today, Ned Kelly has 5/10 stars on IMDB. Regardless, this incident inspired the hit Brown Sugar which continues its success with thousands of monthly listeners on Spotify and over 6 million YouTube views.