The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was a live performance present organised by The Rolling Stones on 11–12 December 1968. The present was filmed on a makeshift circus stage with Jethro Tull, The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and The Rolling Stones. John Lennon and his fiancee Yoko Ono additionally carried out as a part of a one-shot supergroup referred to as The Soiled Mac, that includes Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell (additionally a part of The Jimi Hendrix Expertise), and Keith Richards.

The unique thought for the live performance was going to incorporate the Small Faces, The Rolling Stones, and the Who, and the idea of a circus was first thought up between Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and Ronnie Lane. It was meant to be aired on the BBC, however as a substitute The Rolling Stones withheld it. The Rolling Stones contended they did so due to their substandard efficiency, clearly exhausted after 15 hours of recording (and a few indulgence in medicine).[3] There may be additionally the truth that this was Brian Jones’ final look with The Rolling Stones; he drowned some seven months later whereas the movie was being edited. Some speculate that one more reason for not releasing the movie was that the Who, who had been recent off a live performance tour, seemingly upstaged the Stones on their very own manufacturing. Led Zeppelin was thought of for inclusion however the thought was dropped.[4] The present was not launched commercially till October 1996.

Idea and efficiency

The venture was initially conceived by Mick Jagger as a technique to promote the brand new document Beggars Banquet beside standard press and live performance appearances.[3] Jagger approached Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had directed two promos for Rolling Stones songs (and would go on to direct The BeatlesLet It Be documentary), to make a full-length TV present for them. In keeping with Lindsay-Hogg, the concept of mixing rock music and a circus setting got here to him when he was attempting to give you concepts; he drew a circle on a bit of paper and free-associated.

The Rolling Stones and their visitors carried out in a reproduction of a seedy huge high on a British sound stage—the Intertel (V.T.R. Providers) Studio, Wycombe Street, Wembley[5]—in entrance of an invited viewers. The performances started at round 2 pm on 11 December 1968, however organising between acts and reloading cameras took longer than deliberate, which meant that the ultimate performances passed off at virtually 5 o’clock within the morning on the twelfth.[6]

By that point the viewers and many of The Rolling Stones had been exhausted. It was solely resulting from Jagger’s sheer enthusiasm and stamina that they stored going till the top. Regardless, Jagger was reportedly so dissatisfied along with his and the band’s efficiency that he cancelled the airing of the movie, and stored it from public view. Pete Townshend recalled:

Once they actually get shifting, there’s a type of white magic that begins to exchange the black magic, and every part begins to essentially fly. That did not occur on this event; there is not any query about that. They weren’t simply usurped by The Who, they had been additionally usurped by Taj Mahal – who was simply, as at all times, extraordinary. They had been usurped to some extent by the occasion itself: the group by the point the Stones went on had been radically festive.[7]

This was the final public efficiency of Brian Jones with The Rolling Stones,[8] and for a lot of the Stones efficiency he’s inaudible, though his slide guitar on “No Expectations”, maracas on “Sympathy for the Satan”, and rhythm guitar on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” stay clear. Ian Anderson remarked:

Brian Jones was effectively previous his sell-by date by then… We spoke to Brian and he did not actually know what was occurring. He was moderately lower off from the others – there was numerous embarrassed silence. However a pleasant chap, and we felt moderately sorry for him… I used to be approached for an interview by a chap from Report Mirror… I inadvertently remarked that the Stones had been a bit under-rehearsed and that Brian could not even tune his guitar, which was actually the reality however a bit tactless and inappropriate for me to say. This was duly reported, whereupon Mick Jagger was mightily upset. I needed to ship a grovelling apology to his workplace.[7]

The final track, “Salt of the Earth”, was sung reside by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to the pre-recorded tape from the Beggars Banquet studio album on which the track had been launched.

In keeping with Invoice Wyman’s ebook, Rolling with the Stones, The Rolling Stones additionally carried out “Confessing the Blues”, “Route 66” and another take of “Sympathy for the Satan” with Brian Jones on guitar.[9] Nicky Hopkins supplemented The Rolling Stones on piano.


  • Sir Robert Fossett’s Circus
    • Norman McGlen – midget
    • Willie Shearer – midget
    • Milton Reid – strongman
  • Jethro Tull
    • Ian Anderson – flute and vocals (recorded reside)
    • Glenn Cornick – bass guitar and harmonica (mimed)
    • Tony Iommi – guitar (mimed)
    • Clive Bunker – drums (mimed)
  • The Who
    • Roger Daltrey – vocals
    • Pete Townshend – guitar and vocals
    • John Entwistle – bass guitar and vocals
    • Keith Moon – drums
  • Taj Mahal – harmonica and vocals
    • Jesse Ed Davis – guitar
    • Gary Gilmore – bass guitar
    • Chuck Blackwell – drums
  • Marianne Faithfull – vocals
    • backed by pre-recorded instrumental tracks
  • Danny Kamara – fire-eater
    • Donyale Luna – assistant
  • The Soiled Mac
    • John Lennon – guitar and vocals
    • Eric Clapton – guitar
    • Keith Richards – bass guitar
    • Mitch Mitchell – drums
    • Ivry Gitlis – violin
    • Yoko Ono – vocals
  • The Rolling Stones
    • Mick Jagger – vocals
    • Keith Richards – guitar
    • Brian Jones – guitar, slide guitar (on No Expectations), Maracas (on Sympathy for the Satan)
    • Invoice Wyman – bass guitar
    • Charlie Watts – drums
    • Nicky Hopkins – piano
    • Kwasi Rocky Dzidzornu – percussion
    • Julius Katchen – piano (bonus tracks solely)


The venture was deserted till director Michael Lindsay-Hogg tried to edit the movie in 1992 however, resulting from lacking principal footage, the venture was placed on maintain. A number of the footage of the live performance was regarded as misplaced or destroyed till 1993, when it was found in a bin within the Who’s personal movie vault by the director/producer workforce Michael Gochanour and Robin Klein. Subsequent to their discovery, Gochanour and Klein accomplished the unfinished movie in autumn 1996.

A big section, that includes the Who, had been proven theatrically within the documentary The Youngsters Are Alright (1979), the one public viewing of the movie till its eventual launch. The Rolling Stones’ movie was restored, edited and at last launched on CD and video in 1996. Included on the recordings are the introductions for every act, together with some entertaining banter between Jagger and Lennon.

This live performance is the one footage of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi performing as a member of Jethro Tull, throughout his temporary two-week tenure as a substitute for Mick Abrahams. Coincidentally that is additionally the primary reside footage of Jethro Tull ever made; no footage of the unique line-up with Abrahams (December 1967 – December 1968) is understood to exist. The band mimed to the album model of “A Tune for Jeffrey” and “Fats Man,” so the guitar heard is definitely Abrahams, and never Iommi, who might not have recognized his half sufficiently after just a few days within the band. The Rolling Stones compelled them to chop their rehearsal time quick, though Ian Anderson sings and performs flute reside on “A Tune For Jeffrey”. “Fats Man” by no means made the ultimate launch, though it’s not unreasonable to imagine he additionally sang that reside, because the launched model (which seems on Stand Up) was not recorded till 4 months later. Lastly, the footage reveals Ian Anderson’s first clumsy makes an attempt at his now well-known flute-playing place of standing on one leg.


In a 1996 evaluate, Janet Maslin lauded the “smooth younger Stones in all their insolent glory presiding over this uneven however ripely nostalgic present”; though “rumor had it that the Stones… thought they appeared drained and felt upstaged by the high-energy Who”, “it hardly appears that manner as Mick Jagger’s fabulous efficiency practically turns this right into a one-man present”. She referred to as Jethro Tull’s efficiency a “shaky begin” by “arguably probably the most insufferable band of their day”, stated The Who “flip up early and cease visitors, delivering a fiery [performance]”, and notes Yoko Ono’s “glass-shattering shrieks” are “dutifully” backed by the Soiled Mac. She calls the concert-ending sing-along of “Salt of the Earth” smug and condescending, a “track about little individuals dwelling in the true world”.[2]

Theatrical releases

October 1996

The movie was premiered on 12 October 1996 on the Walter Reade Theater as a part of the New York Movie Competition.[2]

April 2019

In March 2019, it was introduced that the movie can be receiving a restricted theatrical launch in Dolby Cinema in early April, as the primary live performance movie was resulting from be remastered with Dolby’s Atmos and Imaginative and prescient, along side what was—nonetheless then—the continuing North American leg of The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour (earlier than it was later postponed). Certainly, a restricted U.S. remastered theatrical launch of the movie run through the first week of April 2019.[10]

House media

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was launched in October 1996 on VHS and laserdisc following two days of screenings on the Walter Reade Theater as a part of the New York Movie Competition.[2]

A DVD model, produced by Gochanour and Klein, was launched in October 2004,[11] with audio remixed into Dolby Encompass by Gochanour and co-producer Klein. The DVD contains footage of the present, together with further options directed by Gochanour and Klein, which embody beforehand “misplaced” performances, an interview with Pete Townshend, and three audio commentaries. Of specific curiosity within the Townshend interview is his description of the genesis of the Circus venture, which he claims was initially meant to contain the performers travelling throughout america through prepare (an idea used for a brief live performance collection in Canada that was later documented within the characteristic movie Competition Categorical). The remastered DVD additionally features a particular four-camera view of The Soiled Mac’s efficiency of The Beatles’ “Yer Blues” (exhibiting Yoko Ono kneeling on the ground in entrance of the musicians, fully coated in a black sheet).

DVD monitor itemizing

  1. David Dalton’s written historic introduction (0:33)
  2. “Entry of the Gladiators” (Julius Fučík) – Orchester/
    The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus Parade /
    Mick Jagger’s introduction of Rock and Roll Circus (2:10)
  3. Mick Jagger’s introduction of Jethro Tull /
    “Tune for Jeffrey” (Ian Anderson) – Jethro Tull (3:43)
  4. Keith Richards’s introduction of The Who /
    “A Fast One Whereas He is Away” (Pete Townshend) – The Who (7:40)
  5. “Over the Waves” (Juventino Rosas) – Orchester (1:20)
  6. “Ain’t {That a} Lot of Love” (Willia Dean “Deanie” Parker, Homer Banks) – Taj Mahal (3:52)
  7. Charlie Watts’ introduction of Marianne Faithfull /
    “One thing Higher” (Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin) – Marianne Faithfull (2:37)
  8. Keith Richards’s introduction of Danny Camara /
    “Hearth Eater and Luna (Donyale Luna)” (1:28)
  9. Mick Jagger and John Lennon’s introduction of The Soiled Mac (1:05)
  10. “Yer Blues” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – The Soiled Mac (4:26)
  11. “Entire Lotta Yoko” (Yoko Ono) – Yoko Ono, Ivry Gitlis, The Soiled Mac (5:03)
  12. John Lennon’s introduction of The Rolling Stones/
    “Leaping Jack Flash” (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – The Rolling Stones (3:38)
  13. “Parachute Lady” (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (2:57)
  14. “No Expectations” (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:07)
  15. “You Cannot All the time Get What You Need” (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:27)
  16. “Sympathy for the Satan” (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (8:52)
  17. “Salt of the Earth” (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:56)
  18. Credit, to the sound of “Salt of the Earth” (2:45)

Sideshows (DVD extras)


  • Interview – Pete Townshend (18:26)
  • “Checkin’ Up on My Child” (Sonny Boy Williamson) – Taj Mahal (5:39)
  • “Leaving Trunk” (Sleepy John Estes) – Taj Mahal (6:28)
  • “Corinna” (Taj Mahal, Jesse Ed Davis) – Taj Mahal (3:51)
  • Brian Jones’ introduction of Julius Katchen /
    “Ritual Hearth Dance” – Julius Katchen (4:21)
  • “Sonata in C 1st Motion” – Julius Katchen (2:11)
  • “Yer Blues” TK2 Quad Cut up – The Soiled Mac (4:35)
  • Invoice Wyman’s introduction of The Clowns /
    “The Clowns” (2:01)
  • “Shut, However No Cigar” – John Lennon and Mick Jagger (0:43)
  • “Sympathy for the Satan” (Fatboy Slim Remix Video) – The Rolling Stones (4:29)

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