Legendary director Michael Lindsay-Hogg recalled a once in a lifetime jam session between Eric Clapton and key members of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. Next week sees the brief theatrical run of the Rolling Stones' classic 1968 long-unreleased Rock And Roll Circus TV special. The special, which was shot at London's Twickenham Studios on December 10th and 11th, 1968, will play between April 1st and 5th, at select movie houses across North America.
The program, which finally saw official release in 1996, featured the Stones' final performance with the late-Brian Jones, along with performances by the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, and the Dirty Mac — a one-off supergroup with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. Not only was it Lennon's first gig apart from the Beatles, it was also his first live appearance with Yoko Ono, when she joined the Dirty Mac for an impromptu jam.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg — who had become the in-demand rock director for his groundbreaking work on England's Ready Steady Go! TV show and went on to direct the Beatles' Let It Be movie — recalled the scene backstage at the Circus, telling The Los Angeles Times, “In those days, rock n' roll bands would arrive late. You’d schedule something for one and they’d arrive at four. But on this particular day, because they all respected each other, everybody was on time. When one of the cameras had broken down for the 11th time that day, we had a little break. I went backstage to see how everybody was, and they were all sitting in a room — John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton — playing blues on guitar and harmonica. Keith Moon was playing spoons on a table.”
Lindsay-Hogg continued working with the Stones through the early-1980s, directing numerous videos for the band — including “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” “Angie,” “Dancing With Mr. D.,” “It's Only Rock N' Roll,” “Ain't Too Proud To Beg,” “Fool To Cry,” “Miss You,” “Far Away Eyes,” “Respectable,” “Waiting On A Friend,” “Hang Fire,” and “Start Me Up”; among others.
He shed light on his relationship with the Stones over the years: “We knew each other when we were kids. It wasn’t my nature to hang ’round if I didn’t have to. In a funny way, I think they respected that. I was happy to just be working with them.”
Jethro Tull's appearance in Rock And Roll Circus featured the band miming through a version of “Song For Jeffrey.” Soon-to-be Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi had just joined Tull in time for the coveted performance, before leaving shortly thereafter. Iommi told us that it wasn't until years later that he finally was able to see his performance from that day: “I tried to actually get that video — I mean, I never saw that video for a long time — and the only one I knew that had it was Bill Wyman. And I'd seen Bill a few times and I'd asked him, 'Can you get us a copy of that?' 'Yeah, yeah, man. I'll get you a copy.' Nothing. I see him again — 'Bill, have you done that copy of that video?' 'What video?' Obviously, he didn't want me to have a copy of it, y'know? 'Course, I eventually got one, and when I seen it, I went, 'Oh, my God.' It was just so dated, y'know?”
For theater information for The Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus, log on to: http://www.rockandrollcircusthefilm.com