The Rolling Stones Release 'The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus'

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 and Mick Jagger's then-current girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, all took part. Specially for the occasion, Lennon, Clapton, Keith Richards 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 for the time being, with the intention of working on it further, but with Brian Jones' death the following July, the moment passed and the project was left to gather dust.

After years of delays, ABKCO finally issued The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and a tie-in home video of the event in October 1996 and it reached #92 in the US. In 2004, a DVD edition was released.

The most interesting archival release of the Rolling Stones since More Hot Rocks, 20 years ago, and the first issue of truly unreleased material by the Stones from this period. And the Stones have some competition from the Who, Taj Mahal, and John Lennon on the same release. Filmed and recorded on December 10-11, 1968, at a North London studio, Rock and Roll Circus has been, as much as the Beach Boys' Smile, "the one that got away" for most '60s music enthusiasts.