The Real Meaning Behind Moves Like Jagger By Maroon 5

Unbelievably, it's been over a decade since Maroon 5's ode to Mick Jagger! The infectious 2011 dance hit, "Moves Like Jagger," solidified Maroon 5's mainstay in the pop-rock world. 

While multitalented frontman Adam Levine has graced both the small screen and the infamous red chairs of "The Voice," the band's longtime passion for all things current and catchy has prevailed. From "Songs About Jane" to performing at the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show, this high school band-turned-music-legend has 13 Grammy nominations and four No. 1 Billboard singles under their belt.

Levine joined "The Voice" as a coach in 2011, and after 16 seasons and eight years onscreen, he stepped down to pursue other passions. One of the highlights of his time on the hit NBC reality competition? Debuting M5's single "Moves Like Jagger," featuring fellow coach Christina Aguilera. So, let's flash to 2011 and take a look at what really inspired the Billboard Hot 100 hit.

Moves Like Jagger, which marked a first for Maroon 5, was about icon Mick Jagger

"Moves Like Jagger" was a first for Maroon 5, and it might not be what you'd expect. Per NPR, the song was the first time Adam Levine looked to other songwriters outside of the band for help. "What I've learned from the recent few months is that it's okay to collaborate," Levine recalled. "I was always kind of staunchly opposed to it in the past, I think almost to a fault. I think I've got a lot to offer as a songwriter, but everybody hits a wall." 

Levine told the outlet that the titular "Jagger" was, in fact, Rolling Stones icon Mick Jagger. "Only Jagger has the moves like Jagger," Levine noted, citing the frontman's particular swagger onstage. "That being said, if there was ever someone to aspire to ... I don't think anyone could claim to have the moves like James Brown, or the moves like Michael Jackson, or the moves like Prince."

He added, "There's something about the way [Jagger] moves that is uniquely his own and hard to imitate, but also accessible and silly and fun, and not taking itself too seriously." Now that we have all the origin pieces in place, what does the pop-rock dance anthem actually mean? Here's a closer look at those sassy lyrics. 

Moves Like Jagger is an anthem about confidence

Mick Jagger's iconically sporadic strutting and dancing on stage were never an intentional decision. He simply couldn't stand still with music. "It was just the natural thing to do," Jagger explained on "The Howard Stern Show." He added, "If you're, you know, a lead singer in a band, you have to be ... an extrovert." Adam Levine definitely channeled this leading man energy into the Maroon 5 hit.

While a unique sound for the band, "Moves Like Jagger" focuses on a couple of themes. Sure, Levine's lyrics, per Genius, tell a story of flirtation from a cool catch — so cool, he's "got them moves like Jagger." However, beyond pursuing romance, there is a lot of focus on confidence. This persona is bold and honest, explaining right away, "My ego is big." He's persistent, but balances it out with inspirational sentiments like "Just shoot for the stars." If you're feeling low, no worries! Levine assures a boost in morale: "But when you're with me / I'll make you believe / That I've got the key."

This cockiness pairs up perfectly with the idea of Jagger's style. The lyrics point to throwing doubt and caution to the wind, taking a chance on someone who is extremely certain of their qualities, and having a good time. Levine recalled the "good vibe" when making the song on NPR, "Sometimes great songwriting can be really effortless and silly and fun." That positive energy has certainly held up with the popularity of the track.

What Mick Jagger really thinks about the Maroon 5 song

Funnily enough, Adam Levine claimed to The Guardian that the song was "an inch away ... from being a disaster," even teasing that Coldplay's Chris Martin hated it! "It's a very delicate song, you're treading so many lines and so many tightropes ... " he shared. But what did Mick Jagger himself think?

"It's very catchy," Jagger reportedly said, according to Digital Spy. "Only thing is, it puts pressure on me when I go out dancing!" He added, "I wish I had written it. But wouldn't that be weird? It's not really like a Maroon 5 song, so they're probably as surprised by the success of it as I am."

He even assisted Maroon 5 with the music video for the track, lending old footage of himself alongside Levine and Aguilera. And "Moves Like Jagger" remains a hit even a decade later — as of April 2022, the vid has more than 755 million views!