“When I first went to America, I met James Brown at the Apollo, and he let me hang out with him and watch his shows. They did, like, four or five shows a day.
“I copied all of his moves. I used to do his slide across the stage, when you move laterally from one side of the stage to the other, twisting your foot on one leg. I couldn’t do the splits, so I didn’t even bother. Everyone did the microphone trick, where you pushed the microphone, then you put your foot on it and it comes back, and then you catch it. James probably did it best. [Soul singer] Joe Tex did it brilliantly. Prince does it really well. I used to try to do it, but in the end it hit me in the face too many times and I gave it up. So of course I copied his moves, but it’s a kind of attitude too, not just a body move. It’s about presence on stage in relationship to the audience.”
–AS TOLD TO LARRY GETLEN
READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW AT time.com/jagger
This appears in the August 04, 2014 issue of TIME.