The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (album)

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The Rolling Stones
Rock and Roll Circus
Rolling Stones Circus.jpg
Live album by
Released14 October 1996
Recorded11–12 December 1968
GenreRock, blues rock, hard rock
DirectorMichael Lindsay-Hogg
ProducerJimmy Miller, Jody Klein, Lenne Allik
The Rolling Stones live chronology
The Rolling Stones
Rock and Roll Circus

No Security

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus is the fifth release of The Rolling Stones music by former manager Allen Klein's ABKCO Records (who gained control of the band's Decca/London material in 1970) after the band's departure from Decca and Klein. Released in 1996, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus is a live album that captures the taping of their ill-fated 1968 TV special, which was not broadcast until decades later.


Seeking an original way to promote the newly released Beggars Banquet, The Rolling Stones concocted the idea of recording a live extravaganza of music with a circus theme. They also invited guests to perform, among whom John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), The Who, Eric Clapton (fresh from the break-up of Cream), Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull (a short lived line-up featuring Tony Iommi), and Mick Jagger's then-current girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, all took part. Specially for the occasion, Lennon, Clapton, Keith Richards (on bass) and Mitch Mitchell (of The Jimi Hendrix Experience) would form a one-time alliance entitled The Dirty Mac.

Recorded on 11 December into the wee hours of the following day, the final results of most acts was positive, except for The Rolling Stones' performance (including the first ever appearance of "You Can't Always Get What You Want"), which they themselves felt was somewhat flat in places and lacked spark, especially when compared with both The Who's standout performance of "A Quick One While He's Away" and The Dirty Mac's rendition of The Beatles' "Yer Blues". Consequently, The Rolling Stones shelved the project with the intention of working on it further. However, with Brian Jones' death the following July, the project was left to gather dust.

The film was thought lost or destroyed, but parts were found in Ian Stewart's belongings following his death in 1985. A substantial portion of the film was still missing until rediscovered in 1993 in a vault in London. The film was completed in 1996 and premiered at the New York Film Festival September of that year. The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and a tie-in home video of the event was released in October 1996 and it reached #92 in the US. In 2004, a DVD edition was released.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

No.TitlePerforming artistLength
1."Mick Jagger's introduction of Rock and Roll Circus" 0:25
2."Entry of the Gladiators" (Julius Fučík) 0:55
3."Mick Jagger's introduction of Jethro Tull" 0:11
4."A Song for Jeffrey†" (Ian Anderson)Jethro Tull3:26
5."Keith Richards' introduction of The Who" 0:07
6."A Quick One, While He's Away" (Pete Townshend)The Who7:33
7."Over the Waves" (Juventino Rosas) 0:45
8."Ain't That a Lot of Love" (Homer Banks, Willie Dean "Deanie" Parker)Taj Mahal3:48
9."Charlie Watts' introduction of Marianne Faithfull" 0:06
10."Something Better" (Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann)Marianne Faithfull2:32
11."Mick Jagger's and John Lennon's introduction of The Dirty Mac" 1:05
12."Yer Blues" (Lennon–McCartney)The Dirty Mac4:27
13."Whole Lotta Yoko" (Yoko Ono)The Dirty Mac, Yoko Ono, and Ivry Gitlis4:49
14."John Lennon's introduction of The Rolling Stones/Jumpin' Jack Flash"The Rolling Stones3:35
15."Parachute Woman"The Rolling Stones2:59
16."No Expectations"The Rolling Stones4:13
17."You Can't Always Get What You Want"The Rolling Stones4:24
18."Sympathy for the Devil"The Rolling Stones8:49
19."Salt of the Earth"The Rolling Stones4:57
"Salt of the Earth" features the original Beggars Banquet music track with new live vocals
† "Song for Jeffrey" ("A Song for Jeffrey") features the original This Was backing track with live vocals sung by Ian Anderson.

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1996 The Billboard 200 92 [2]