Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

     The Dirty Mac were a one-time  super group consisting of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell that Lennon put together for the Rolling Stones' TV special titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.  Recorded in December 1968, this was the first time since the formation of the Beatles that Lennon, who was still in the group, had performed in public without them. Also, this was the  first time he had performed live, since The Beatles last tour that ended in August 1966. Before the performance, Lennon was filmed briefly chatting with Mick Jagger, while eating a bowl of noodles.

     The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was released in 1996 , but was originally recorded in December 1968. The event was organized by the Rolling Stones. The event comprised two concerts on a circus stage. The first Concert included such acts as The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull. John Lennon and his fiancee Yoko Ono performed as the The Dirty Mac, with the others mentioned above.  The second concert was performed by just The Rolling Stones themselves. The original line up was going to be the Small Faces, the Rolling Stones and the Who and the concept of a circus was first thought up between Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane, and was originally meant to be aired on the BBC, but the Rolling Stones withheld it. The Stones contended they did so due to their substandard performance, because they had taken the stage early in the morning and were clearly exhausted. Many others believe that the true reason for not releasing the video was that The Who, who were fresh off a concert tour, upstaged the Stones on their own production. Led Zeppelin were also originally considered, but the idea was also dropped.  

     Jagger approached Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had directed two promos for Stones songs (and would go on to direct the Beatles' Let It Be documentary), to make a full-length TV show for them. The Stones and their guests performed in a replica of a seedy big top circus on a British sound stage in front of an invited audience. The performances began at around 2 PM on 11 December 1968 Setting up between acts and reloading cameras took longer than planned, which meant that the final performances took place at almost 5 o'clock the next morning.

By that time, the audience and most of the Stones were exhausted; Jagger's sheer stamina managed to keep them going until the end. Jagger was reportedly so disappointed with his, and the band's performance, that he canceled the airing of the film, and kept it from public view.



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