Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
On December 11, 1968 “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert was filmed as an all-star BBC television special to promote their album “Beggars Banquet”. The guests the group welcomed included fellow UK bands The Who & Jethro Tull, singer Marianne Faithful & blues musician Taj Mahal. But the really big draw in this sea of talent was a one time only performance by super group The Dirty Mac. The quartet consisted of John Lennon (from The Beatles) on rhythm guitar & vocals, Eric Clapton (from Cream) on lead guitar, Keith Richards (from The Rolling Stones) on bass & Mitch Mitchell (from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums. They performed one song from The Beatles’ “White Album”. It was, without a doubt, an unbelievably magnificent performance.
That historic moment & the rest of the film did not make its premiere until October 12, 1996 (the album came out two days later). The reason for the nearly three decade delay? The Rolling Stones were unhappy with their playing & felt particularly upstaged by The Who. But that concert was the last time Brian Jones performed in public with the Stones, so for fans of the group that in and of itself makes the film worth its weight in gold. And the other acts are very good, too. But there is no denying the fact that the real star of the show & the movie is The Dirty Mac.
At the 1:03 mark of the video, Lennon, Clapton & Richards do a synchronized slide that is just too fabulous for words. And each individual performance is dazzling on its own: Lennon’s vocal is strong & raw, Clapton’s playing is incredible & the rhythm section holds it all together in their powerful hands. Plus, seeing three of them at the height of their fame while they were still so young (read: under 30) is like traveling back in time. Lennon looks exactly like his “White Album” 8×10 glossy, Clapton sans facial hair looks like a teenager you would pass in the hall of any high school in America (and sports a rarely seen onstage smile at the 2:11 mark followed by an up close glimpse of his unbelievably beautiful talented hands @ the 2:52 mark) while Richards is nearly unrecognizable in his pretty pre-drug using days. And an added bonus is that even though Lennon’s constant companion at the time, Yoko Ono, appeared on stage with the group, she quietly slipped into a black sack as “performance art” without uttering one of her infamous screams.
The concert was released 16 years ago this month on DVD and I consider it one of the most precious things I own. A “lost” film from this time period of music is an incredible gift, and one with Lennon on stage is particularly magical. To see him with a group other than The Beatles performing one of their songs before they broke up is a reminder of how much he still had to give to the world with them and on his own in the last decade of his life.
“My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth”.
The Dirty Mac at their one time only performance in December 1968 (L-R): Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell & Keith Richards. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
The Dirty Mac: “Yer Blues” (As performed at “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert, December 1968. Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.