Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones Circus

Rolling Stones Circus

Rolling Stones Circus
Rolling Stones Circus
Less than nine months before the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and its 130-plus performers, the Rolling Stone Circus came to town.

Organized by the Rolling Stones just after their release of Beggars Banquet, they were looking for a way to promote the album in a fun way. Why not a Rock and Roll Circus?

They filmed it on December 11, 1968. As well as clowns and acrobats, John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed as part of a super group called The Dirty Mac which included Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards.  The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull also performed. It was originally meant to be aired on BBC, but the Rolling Stones withheld it because they were unhappy with their performance. A film was eventually released in 1996.

Here's the Lennon clip with some wonderful conversation between Mick and John before "Yer Blues." Two mates having some fun.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" with Woodstock Music and Art Fair alum  Nicky Hopkins on piano (he sat in with the Jefferson Airplane for their sunrise serenade).

Rolling Stones Circus
Sadly, this also marked the final appearance of Brian Jones, who died within six months of filming the special.
The Ultimate Classic Rock site says, For all the controversy and mystery surrounding it..‘The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus’ now comes across as a quaint time capsule of the last days of Swingin’ London. And as strange as the idea of combining a rock concert and a circus may be, it manages to work, even if the only person who wasn’t stoned was the guy who ate fire.  (Ultimate Rock article)
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Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

It is an extraordinary  Rolling Stones bookend: December 6, 1968 and December 6, 1969. The Stones released Beggars Banquet on the former date. The album was a return to a more rock sound than the previous Satanic Majesty's Request of 1967.

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet
The more popular the band, the more they seemed to attract media criticism and those bands rewarded the critique with more to criticize. The first cover, the cover that the record companies immediately dismissed, was a dirty bathroom wall full of  graffiti. It was always a Rolling Stones banquet of needling their detractors.
Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet
rejected cover for Beggars Banquet

Altamont Free Concert

1969. The year of so many festivals crowned with the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. And exactly one year after the Stone's Beggars Banquet release, it was time for Woodstock's odd uncle: the Altamont Free Concert, at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. The Rolling Stones organized it with themselves headlining along with Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grateful Dead refused to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue.
That violence, captured in the film Gimmie Shelter by by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin , shows how attempts to control the crowd failed.

From Wikipedia: At one point Jefferson Airplane...Marty Balin is knocked out by a Hells Angel; Paul Kantner in response: "Hey, man, I'd like to mention that the Hells Angels just smashed Marty Balin in the face, and knocked him out for a bit. I'd like to thank you for that." To which a Hells Angel sitting on stage grabs a microphone, and replies: "You're talking to my people. Let me tell you what's happening. You, man, you're not happening!"   (click for full article>>> Wikipedia article on Gimme Shelter)
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Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

We typically think of the Rolling Stones relationship with the Beatles as being friendly, yet competitive.

Beatlemania bursts open

It was in 1963, the early blasts of Beatlemania beginning, that the Beatles recommended to Andrew Loog Oldham, their PR person, that he go listen to the Stones. Oldham “signed” them.  I use quotes because Oldham was actually too young at the time, 19, to legally do that and needed assistance. Another story for another time.

The Beatles and the Stones loved American music. Their early covers demonstrate that. The Beatles eventually began to compose their own music and their success inspired many bands, including the Stones, to follow suit.

The Beatles followed a path of innovation. Along with George Martin, John, Paul, George and Ringo’s albums each expanded the range of rock.

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

Rock v Pop

The Stones stuck with who brung them there: rock and roll. And they did it so well, they are still often referred to as the Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

When any artist is first testing their personal artistic chops, borrowing is often an option. We all stand on the shoulders of our fellow inspirations.

So did the Stones. They had released their first single, Chuck Berry’s “Come On” in June and mentioned to their friends the Beatles that another single had not yet happened.

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

Invitation

Mick invited his friends to their session at the DeLane Lea Studios in London. There, Paul and John finished up “I Wanna Be Your Man” in front of the Stones. Thoroughly impressing the band.

Paul McCartney was the primary composer of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” but like many McCartney compositions, John helped out along the way. (And visa versa, of course.)

And so the Stones made quick work of recording the song. Literally. It comes in at a scant (even for those times) 1:43.

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

UK Success

It was October 7, 1963. Decca UK released it on November 1. It peaked at #12 on the UK charts.

London released the single in the US on November 1 without any success. London used it was the B-side to the Not Fade Away single in March 1964.

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

Beatle inclusion

The Beatles themselves, of course, used the song themselves and included it on their second UK album, With the Beatles, in November.

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles

American fans did not hear the song until its inclusion on the first US Beatle album, Meet the Beatles! and we got to hear Ringo sing.  The Beatles gave us 14 seconds more!

Rolling Stones Sing Beatles
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