This electro-pop track is billed as "Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera," though the latter actually does very little, only coming in at the bridge after two minutes. The song was released on June 21, 2011 in conjunction with a live performance on The Voice. Both Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Aguilera were coaches on the show. For this song, their vocals were both Auto-Tuned, although it was used more for effect here than for pitch correction.
The song's lyrics refer to the narrator's ability to impress a female with his dance moves, which he compares to those of legendary Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.
Hitmakers Benny Blanco ("TiK ToK
") and frequent Max Martin collaborator Shellback helped pen the tune.
The Rolling Stone frontman has been name-checked on several other tunes. Kesha's 2010 #1 "TiK ToK
" includes the lyric, "We kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger!," whilst Michelle Branch's 2011 single, "Loud Music
" urges the object of her affection to "start me up, like a Rolling Stone." Also the debut single of Cher Lloyd, who finished in fourth place on the 2010 series of UK's The X Factor
was titled "Swagger Jagger
Adam Levine told MTV News why he likes to move like the veteran Stones' frontman: "I've been a student at the Jagger School of Interesting Movement for 17 years. I'm graduating next fall, with honors," he said. "[His moves are] a very carefully calculated, but slightly spastic, incredible rhythmic experience, in which all of your limbs and every bone in your body is moving at completely different times, and it's impossible to re-create. Nobody has moves like Jagger, that's kind of the point. That's why the song is so fun, it's fun to try."
The song's music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and filmed in Los Angeles on July 8, 2011. In the clip we see Jagger impersonators including Levine auditioning their best dance moves, while old video footage of the Rolling Stone frontman plays in the background.. However, when Aguilera makes her brief appearance, we don't see her move like Jagger.
Structurally, this song goes intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. What's interesting is that each verse and chorus are exactly 30 seconds long, and the intro and bridge are :15, making it a very symmetrical song. Note that each chorus is split in half as well, with the drums dropping out halfway in when Levine sings "Like Jagger." This happens on the first two choruses, but not the third.
The verses take up a full minute, which is longer than most Pop songs of the time. The distinctive elements of the song are the whistling and the jangling guitar line that both start on the intro and play throughout the song. The whistling makes the song particularly infectious, as very few popular songs use this element and it identifies the song immediately.
Check out the clever songwriting trick in the lyrics: the word "you" both begins and ends a line in the chorus - "Kiss me 'til your drunk and I'll show YOU want the moves like Jagger."
When this song climbed to #1 on the Hot 100, Mick Jagger became the first artist to have both topped the Hot 100 (as lead singer of the Rolling Stones) and be name-checked in the title of a #1 by another act. This was not the first #1 to name-check the legendary rocker. He was previously mentioned in Kesha's 2010 chart-topper "TiK ToK
": "We kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger!"
Other hit singles to mention the Rolling Stones star in their lyrics include:
1989 "Funky Cold Medina
" by Tone Loc.
2008 "Swagga Like Us
" by T.I. and Jay-Z featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne.
2010 "'The Time (Dirty Bit)
" by The Black Eyed Peas.
Jagger was also the title subject of the 2011 UK #1 "Swagger Jagger
" by X Factor
finalist Cher Lloyd.
Can you name the previous Hot 100 to name-check an actual person in the song title prior to this? In 2007 Soulja Boy referenced himself on his chart-topper "Crank That (Soulja Boy)
." If you don't reckon that counts, then go back a further few months to the Plain White Ts, who referred to American steeplechase runner Delilah DiCrescenzo in "Hey There Delilah
The song sold over a million copies in just over 20 weeks in the UK, despite failing to top the chart there.
This was the sixth hot 100 #1 to pair a male group with a female solo artist. The other five:
1974 "Then Came You" Dionne Warwick & Spinners.
1990 "Opposites Attract
" Paula Abdul (Duet With the Wild Pair).
1995 "One Sweet Day
" Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men.
2000 "Thank God I Found You
"Mariah Carey featuring Joe & 98 Degrees.
2011 "Party Rock Anthem
" LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock.
So what does Jagger, himself think about the song? Apparently it has put some weight on his shoulders when he takes the dance floor. Said the Stones' frontman: "It's very catchy. I could say I wish I had written it, but wouldn't that be weird? It's fun, very young children like it, which is always cool and funny. But what am I going to say? I'm not going to be mean about it, am I? It's very catchy pop, isn't it? It's funny. Only thing is, it puts a bit of pressure on me when I go out dancing!"
Levine admitted to Rolling Stone that the song was almost shelved as he was nervous about releasing the risky Mick Jagger tribute. "S--t! ... 'Jagger' was almost a mistake. I was scared to release it," he said.
A heavily tattooed Adam Levine took his shirt off to perform this song when Maroon 5 used it to close out their set at halftime of the 2019 Super Bowl with this song. The Patriots won the game, beating the Rams 13-3.
"Moves Like Jagger" had achieved 1.55 million pure sales in the UK by 2021, despite never reaching #1. Until Wham's "Last Christmas
" reached the top of the UK Singles Chart in January 2021 after a 36-year wait, it had been the UK's best-selling single to never reach the peak position. Once it had finally climbed to the summit that title was handed over to this song.