The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

Airs nationwide beginning Tuesday, February 26 on public television (check local listings)

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus is the legendary concert extravaganza that marked the last performance of the original line-up of “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. Under the big-top and dressed in outrageous circus garb, The Rolling Stones are joined by an all-star musical cast: Jethro Tull, The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, Yoko Ono, and the ad-hoc, one-time only supergroup “The Dirty Mac” featuring John Lennon (guitar/vocals), Keith Richards (bass), Eric Clapton (guitar), fresh from his break-up with Cream, and Mitch Mitchell (drums) of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. First broadcast in 2007, the concert is back on public television stations beginning Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (check local listings) and is distributed nationwide by WLIW21 in association with WNET. In the New York metro area, it will air Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. on WLIW21.

With Mick Jagger as the show’s literal ringmaster, the unscripted, unapologetic mayhem yielded timeless musical moments, including the first-ever performance of Stones classic-to-be “You Can’t Always Get What You Want;” John Lennon’s first concert before an audience outside The Beatles; the only existing footage of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s short stint with Jethro Tull; The Who’s standout “A Quick One While He’s Away;” and The Dirty Mac’s rendition of The Beatles’ “Yer Blues.” The public television broadcast includes a 2004 interview with The Who’s Pete Townshend about the historical gathering.

Filmed December 11-12, 1968 and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the pioneering music video director behind The Beatles’ Let It Be and many of the Rolling Stones’ seminal video clips, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was planned as a BBC special to promote the newly released Beggars Banquet but never aired. In fact, the footage, shot by award-winning cinematographer Tony Richmond (The Kids are Alright, The Man Who Fell to Earth), was lost for many years. Finally, in 1989, it was discovered in a trash bin at The Who’s vault in London. The film has been lovingly restored to preserve this unprecedented, one-of-a-kind event.

Song List:

Song for Jeffery – Jethro Tull

A Quick One While He’s Away – The Who

Ain’t That a Lot of Love – Taj Mahal

Something Better – Marianne Faithfull

Yer Blues – The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell)

Whole Lotta Yoko – Yoko Ono & Ivry Gitlis with The Dirty Mac

Jumping Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

No Expectations – The Rolling Stones

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones

Salt of the Earth – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones: Rock and Roll Circus is an ABKCO Film. A presentation of WLIW21 in association with WNET. John Servidio is executive in charge of production for WLIW21 in association with WNET.


About WNET

In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.


Founded over 50 years ago by Allen Klein, ABKCO Music & Records is one of the world’s leading independent entertainment companies.  It is home to iconic catalog assets that include compositions and recordings by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack, Eric Burdon, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Marianne Faithfull, The Kinks as well as the Cameo Parkway masters by such artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Clint Eastwood, The Orlons, The Dovells, ? & The Mysterians, The Tymes and Dee Dee Sharp. Soundtrack releases include David Chase’s Not Fade Away, the international blockbuster Fast FiveOur Idiot Brother, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Wes Anderson’s 2013 Academy Award® nominated Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited and the 2010 Academy Award® nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, the director’s first animated feature based on Roald Dahl’s book, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Men Who Stare At Goats and the soundtrack to the first season of the hit Showtime® series, Californication. ABKCO is active on many fronts including the release of critically lauded compilations and reissues from its catalog, film and commercial placement of its master recordings and music publishing properties in all media.  ABKCO is at the forefront of new technologies in the entertainment field and is in active development of several multi-platform projects, theatrical productions and innovative educational tools to ensure its catalog is enjoyed by generations of fans for years to come.  ABKCO Films latest release is The Rolling Stones Charlie Is My Darling – Ireland 1965. It has been involved with many successful movies including The Greek Tycoon starring Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset, La Grande Bouffe winner of the International Critics prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and The Concert for Bangladesh featuring Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr.  Renowned cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain, fully restored and remastered to HD, were shown at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival (Classics section) and at the prestigious 44th New York Film Festival. In 2003 ABKCO won a Grammy for the DVD release of Sam Cooke – Legend and the following year released the DVD of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus to universal acclaim. Films in pre-production include a restoration of the Spaghetti Western Blindman starring Ringo Starr and a biopic on the life of Sam Cooke.


Circus Artwork of DVD. Photo Credit: © ABKCO Records

Circus crew. Photo credit: Michael Randolph

Circus crew. Photo credit: Michael Randolph