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Mick Jagger: Recruitment firm failed to find Rolling Stones frontman job

Mick Jagger may never have joined The Rolling Stones had it not been for a lack of suitable work at a recruitment company.

Kent-based HR GO Recruitment prides itself on finding jobs for most candidates.

But it could give no satisfaction to the teenage Michael Jagger when the Dartford lad strolled into Dartford Staff Employment Bureau – now HR GO plc – in the early 1960s looking for a job.

A young Mick Jagger was interviewed by HRGO when it was called Parkinson Staff Bureau
A young Mick Jagger was interviewed by HRGO when it was called Parkinson Staff Bureau

The soon-to-be Rolling Stone was then an A-level student at Dartford Grammar School.

The long-haired youth was interviewed by company founder Betty Parkinson.

Sadly she is no longer with us, but her son Jack, chairman of HR GO, the national company that emerged from its Dartford roots, remembers that after Mick became famous, she would often recall that encounter.

She told Jack: “I sat him down and took his details but we did not have anything suitable on the books and I told him we would contact him if and when we did.”

She admitted that with his appearance, she would have found it hard to recommend him to any of her major clients. Of course, time was on his side – and you can’t always get what you want.

The Rolling Stones in London, 1964, Left to right: Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards and Brian Jones.
The Rolling Stones in London, 1964, Left to right: Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards and Brian Jones.

Jack, who lives in Leeds village, near Maidstone, is a year younger than Mick and a big Stones’ fan.

He is the proud owner of a tie displaying the stuck-out-tongue hallmark he bought at a sell-out Rolling Stones’ gig at Wembley.

Many examples of that tongue image are on display at Exhibitionism, the Stones’ retrospective at the Saatchi Gallery in London until September 4.

“I loved their music,” Jack said. “A friend and I would sit down on a Sunday afternoon and play their hit tracks like Sympathy for the Devil and Brown Sugar.”

Jack Parkinson with his Rolling Stones tie
Jack Parkinson with his Rolling Stones tie

If Betty Parkinson had found Mick a job all those decades ago, would it have taken him in a different career direction? Would we have ever heard his name? Would Honky Tonk Women and Under My Thumb been written? Would Jerry Hall have become a celebrity and gone on to be Mrs Rupert Murdoch?

What is certain is that HR GO played a crucial role in one of the “what-ifs” of rock music history.

For millions of pop fans worldwide, it’s a good job that – for once – HR GO could not satisfy a client.


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