Rolling Stones to Release ‘Rock and Roll Circus’ Box Set
On June 7, the Rolling Stones will release a new set devoted to their Rock and Roll Circus special that was filmed for the BBC in 1968, but remained unreleased until 1996. Conceived as a way to promote the newly released Beggars Banquet, the show contained performances by the Stones, the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, Yoko Ono and a one-off supergroup of John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell called the Dirty Mac.
As reported by Rolling Stone, the reissue contains remastered audio and video (DVD and Blu-ray), with a lot of bonus material, such three other recordings by the Dirty Mac including a rehearsal take of the Beatles' "Revolution" and three more songs by Taj Mahal. The video portion adds an interview with Pete Townshend and several commentary tracks featuring Richards, Mick Jagger, Ian Anderson, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and others. There's also a 44-page book with a photographs and the David Dalton essay that Rolling Stone published in 1970. You can pre-order it using any of the services found here.
Jagger and Lindsay-Hogg came up with the idea of melding a rock concert with a circus, including acrobats, clowns and a fire-eater. But because of numerous production delays, it took 15 hours to film, and by the time the Stones took the stage for their six-song set, they were not in a condition to give what they felt was their best performance, and decided to shelve it. However, the Who's lone number, a killer take on "A Quick One, While He's Away," made it into their 1979 documentary The Kids Are Alright.
It's also noteworthy as a curio for a couple of reasons besides the Dirty Mac. Although Jethro Tull mimed their performance of "Song for Jeffrey" except for Anderson's vocals, it marks the only appearance of the group with Tony Iommi on guitar. Plus, it was the last time Brian Jones played as a member of the Rolling Stones. He was fired six months after the filming and died a month later.