Why Harry Styles Is Not Mick Jagger

Monday, August 24, 2015

It may be a little unfair picking on the lead singer of the Simon Cowell-produced, teen boy band phenomenon One Direction now that the members recently announced that they'll be going on hiatus starting next year to pursue solo careers. On the other hand, the announced split gives added ammo to my rant, which is that I'm tired of seeing comparisons between Harry Styles, One Direction's lead, and Mick Jagger...both regarding their physical appearances and their talent. 

Yes, in case you weren't aware, there's an awful lot of sites out there that have posted side-by-side shots of Styles and Jagger proclaiming them lookalikes. The comparisons accelerated after Jagger actually hung out with Styles earlier this year, supposedly after a lot of people told Mick that the kid looked like him when he was younger. Even Boy George declared that Styles is "sexually ambiguous"and "clearly wants to be Jagger."

Here's a few of those comparison photos that a few well meaning peeps put on Pinterest, Tumblr, and entertainment news sites. You be the judge.

Not that it matters, but I don't think they look anything alike. A passing resemblance, maybe, but certainly not doppelgangers as they've been labeled in some places. For starters, Styles doesn't even have Jagger's infamous lips! Besides, if David Bowie hasn't slept with Styles yet, then he doesn't resemble Jagger.

Oh! Bad joke? 

Personally, and this is totally not an insult, but there is something about Styles that reminds me more of a young David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter.

And how's this for weirdness? I came across this old photo of Johansen where I feel he looks more like Mick Jagger than Harry Styles does:

Anyhow, photographic comparisons aside, that isn't what's important. What is, is this glaring sentence on a site called Sugarscape that made me cringe a little:

"While they're naturally both icons/iconic/bloody legends in their own right, at a glance they're actually quite similar, aren't they?"

Did a flying pig just go past my window? I had to read the sentence twice to make sure I was seeing it correctly. 

Dear Sugarscape, let's get one thing straight here. Only one of these performers is a bloody legend and an icon.

I have nothing against Harry Styles, by the way (although maybe Taylor Swift still has a grudge against him.) He and the other members of One Direction seem like decent guys. But it's absurd to label him an icon. He's only 21 years old, has only been on the music scene for a few years, and isn't exactly known for writing prolific music. I don't even think Jagger was considered an icon until the Stones had been together for a decade or two. Really, the only thing these two have in common at this point is that they are both British, both adored singing when they were kids, and they both know what it's like to have women throw themselves at their feet (although, I am sure the sexcapade stories Mick could tell Harry would put hair on his chest.) 

Also, in my humble female opinion, Mick has way more sex appeal. Just saying. Harry doesn't exactly have the Jagger swagger from what I've seen from One Direction's music videos and concert performances. 

I remember some similar comparisons between Kurt Cobain and John Lennon after Cobain's death in the early '90s. I don't think of him as a legend, either. It's possible he may have been had he lived and continued his musical career for another 20+ years, even though he was 27 when he died, the same age as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin (who were legends in my opinion, since they recorded so much great music and achieved stronger fame than Cobain within the same short period of time.) We'll never know. 

I also tried very hard to listen to some of One Direction's bubblegum pop other than the only one I was already familiar with ("What Makes You Beautiful"). No offense to their fans -- most of whom are children -- but it was torture trying to endure some of these mundane, auto-tuned sounding songs to the very end. One high spot was the folk-tinged "Story Of My Life" which ironically, was one of the few singles actually written by the group. (When I had heard enough, I washed my ears out with the Stones' "Hangfire".)

What I see happening here -- as I've seen more often during the past 20 years -- is the wishful thinking that a new singer or group is somehow going to be the second coming in the music business. Oasis got compared to the Beatles, Michael Buble got compared to Frank Sinatra, and now Styles is suddenly getting compared to Jagger, all because someone thinks his hair flops the same way. 

The sad truth is there will probably never be another band like the Beatles, at least not during my lifetime. There will never be another Frank Sinatra, another Elvis, another Rolling Stones. 

Chalk it up to luck, magic, the heavens aligning, something in the air, etc. but for whatever reason, the 20th century gave us the greatest variety of musical talent that may never happen again. And sadly, today's music business is all about who can appeal to the masses, not the talented songwriters and bands that I only learn about through my local independent radio station and a few stations on Sirius. 

The rumor surrounding Styles is that he's ready to hightail it to Hollywood to pursue an acting career after One Direction begins their hiatus. I think that's a wise decision for a "musician" who doesn't play instruments on stage and has a limited amount of songwriting experience under his belt. He may just end up carving his own path in front of the camera and giving up on music altogether. 

And hopefully that means any unfair comparisons between him and the lead showman of "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" can be put to rest. 


  1. >>Did a flying pig just go past my window? I had to read the sentence twice to make sure I was seeing it correctly.<<


    I'm totally with you. I agree there may be some vague characteristics that are similar (brown hair...sings...both have all their limbs), there is nothing about Harry that reminds me of Mick. And the whole vibe is different, musically and mojo-wise.

    But I like them both.

  2. To be fair, empty bands like "One Direction" existed way back then as well.

    No autotune though.

  3. I feel like he has a lot to offer in the music industry, but he's still young. He has a very characteristic voice, great style and presence, and, you know my humble opinion as a fan of him is that I can't stand One Direction's first three albums... They sound incredibly commercial and not genuine (but it's not like the industry it's very genuine nowadays) but still, the last two albums made me love the group, especially Made in the AM -it's not as bad as you may think it is- but of course if you don't like pop you're not going to like it, but for me this album sounds way better and more mature, and after listening to the songs he wrote for it I feel like he does have something to offer to the industry, obviously nothing very perplexing but yeah, I like the guy. And I think that if you're in a band you never have the chance to fully deliver what you want to deliver, you don't explore your voice enough and you never get the opportunity to innovate your sound, more if you're surrounded by other three vocalists and songwriters that you didn't know before 2010, it's kinda awkward for me, like, they were forced to get along, not like normal bands who are a bunch of friends who have great ideas together and decide to make a band. And yeah, I don't really see the resemblance that much.

  4. "another Elvis?" Elvis wasn't even the first Elvis! He took a black music genre and was given fame for it because he was white and therefore able to gain fame out of it. He wasn't original!
    And The Beatles' fans were mainly teenage girls! Not to say 1D are even close to The Beatles but it feels like you're dissing them whilst saying you aren't.

    1. How is my post dissing the Beatles? I run a Facebook page in memory of a good deceased MALE friend that published a Beatles fanzine for over 30 years that was called Strawberry Fields Forever Magazine. He had tons of male readers from all over the world that would regularly send him mail which he printed in his magazine and pass along Beatles news. Most of them had been fans since the '60s. I can assure you that there are just as many, if not more, male fans of the Beatles. Do you know how many male singers were inspired by the Beatles? Try Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen for starters.

      Elvis was still a legend in his own right. I'm not really a fan of him, but there's no doubting the impact he had on music and rock and roll.

      The point I was trying to make is that very few modern bands and performers will be able to surpass names like Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and others. Modern pop music sucks (I wrote a post about this around this time last year) and rock and roll is pretty much dying, unless you listen to alternative and emerging music and seek out people that just aren't receiving the publicity that they should. Harry Styles will never be Mick Jagger.

    2. Since the hiatus he has quite impressed me.

      I've known them for over 5 years and know that their sound was very bubble gum. Their fourth album was quite marvelous though.
      Styles' music taste is quite different from what their sound was, Tomlinson's too.

      I agree with the David Johansen statement though. I noticed it too, ever since he started to wear his hair up. Also, I noticed his lips started looking smaller. They used to be a bit more plump. I think I'm seeing things but his lips used to actually stand out before when he talked, that's why in cartoons they draw him like the only one with lips... https://media.gq.com/photos/56ae8ee7163946504efeeac5/master/pass/0201GQ%20Harry%20Styles2.jpg 2)https://goo.gl/images/mzct8E 3)https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3c/e8/57/3ce8572db6fc2c6410b522d8b2197aca.jpg 4)http://cdn01.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/headlines/2016/05/one-direction-makes-an-appearance-on-family-guy.jpg

      There are things to him though that people won't get until they watch a lot of live performances and interviews. He's got a certain charm to him. Or how his band mate and rumoured lover, Louis Tomlinson said: You're on a whole new level of charmer.

      Also I agree with the annoying fans statement, I want say that some fans grew up with them, they are around their 20's now, but the younger fans, oh boy...

      Oh and pitch correction is almost always present these days. Really just listen to them live.

    3. People are trying so hard to dig up any kind of originality or talent in todays music. There just is none. There hasn’t been any for at least 30 years. There is absolutely ZIP comparison between Mick and that One Direction kid. NONE.

  5. Hi, now that he's released his own solo music (in other words the music he's always wanted to sing) what do you think of Mr. Styles? Took many aback when he resurfaced with a retro sound especially when most people didn't care to see past the bubblegum superficiality of the group, much like you, really. Had you broken a bit more of the wall blocking you from really knowing Harry 2 years ago you would've seen that his actual inspiration lay mostly in David Bowie. He admires Jagger, I mean who doesn't but I highly doubt he's "trying" to be Jagger lol. I absolutely feel you with the children fans, though, it's hard being 20 and a fan, I always end up being sucked into the stereotype and it's not fun. ANYHOW, I really would like to know your honest opinion on his self titled debut album.

  6. Wonder what you'd say now that Harry Styles has begin carving out his space, the direction he wants (no pun intended), and has released a well-received, largely classic rock-inspired solo album. He's a really good performer, singer, honing in well his songwriting and is improving on guitar. I'm looking forward to his future in music. Regarding acting, he was good in Nolan's Dunkirk, though I believe he said he's not interested in pursuing an acting career.

    1. I haven't listened to his solo music yet, but I'm willing to give it a listen. I finally watched Dunkirk the other night and think he did a commendable job in his role (and the movie was excellent.)

  7. Good grief, no! He's a fairly decent singer, compared to others today, but compare him to Mick Jagger? No way!!

  8. Now look at Harry, he has certainly come a long way in to becoming an icon.

  9. Now look at Harry, he has certainly come a long way in to becoming an icon.

  10. Funniest is Nate Ruess version The Format is actually heir of Mick Jagger.

  11. throwback to when stevie nicks, the queen of rock, had said that she wishes that harry was her son


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