Mick Jagger’s third proper solo album, “Wandering Spirit” was released in Feb. 1993. The third single “Don’t Tear Me Up” topped the US Billboard Rock Tracks list for two weeks. Critics raved about the album noting Mick’s abandonment of synthesizers in favor of a lean and mean guitar sound. They also noted that his voice seemed to have developed a deeper bottom end without sacrificing any of the highs.
For this go around, Mick engaged the noted rock producer Rick Rubin, whose muscular production work on the Cult’s “Electric” as well as the Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex, Majik” had caught Mick’s attention.
A variety of musicians contributed performances to the album including Flea on bass, Billy Preston and Benmont Tench on organ and piano, and Jim Keltner on drums. Mick himself is credited with lead vocals, guitar, clavinet, harmonica and percussion.
Mick’s compositions were very wide ranging on this release (in a similar vein to the way he and Keith had composed songs for earlier Rolling Stones records). In fact Mick is quoted at the time as saying that “Actually it is not really a rock album per se. I don’t want to put anyone off, but if you look at it, there are only maybe three rock songs on it in the traditional form. The rest is R&B, or country, or gospel influenced, or rockabilly, or whatever. To me this is like a 92, 93 record. I’m not trying to go into any new form of music, because there is nothing out there that I want to push or get involved with that I am not already involved with.”
In Micks own words: “I was very relaxed about this record. No overall atmosphere of hostility. The rest of the Stones had all made solo LP’s. Charlie made his Charlie Parker album. Keith made his second solo album and Ronnie made a record. Even Bill made a record. In the process of writing my record there were a couple of songs where I said that’s going to sound great with The Stones, so I won’t use it. I’ve done many musical styles at one time or another, successfully or not. I’ve just never done them on one record. It can be slightly worrying, if it flies in too many directions. I guess a solo album is my chance to express some other musical thing. With a solo album you can do a folk song with just a fiddle if you want, because no one’s going to say anything.”