On This Day: Mick Jagger gets shot in Australia

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, beginning a butterfly effect that changed rock 'n’ roll history.

Mick Jagger with costar on set in Australia. Source: Getty Images
Mick Jagger on set while filming a film about Ned Kelly in Australia. Source: Getty Images
Mick Jagger performing on stage with the Rolling Sones. Source: Getty Images
Mick Jagger eventually fully recovered from his injuries. Source: Getty Images

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.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are performing with The Rolling Stones at the Cow Palace. Source: Getty Images
Mick Jagger, shown with Keith Richards on stage travelled to regional NSW in 1969 to film a movie about Ned Kelly. Source: Getty Images

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.

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