Friday, March 16, 2007
Mick Jagger/Rock 'n' Roll Circus
A couple of nights ago on the local PBS station I saw the Rolling Stones' 1968 TV special: "Rock and Roll Circus." What initially made me seek this out, aside from my general interest in '60s music, was the fact that I knew that John Lennon and Yoko had appeared on this special; it was John's first solo performance sans the Beatles. He performed "Yer Blues" (which would first appear on vinyl the next year on the Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album "Live From Toronto"), under the band name "The Dirty Mac," which included Eric Clapton and Keith Richards on guitars...and Yoko in a black bag at the foot of the stage. (Luckily, the camera didn't show more than 2 seconds of her. I find that kind of thing pretentious as shit.) "The Dirty Mac"'s next song had the same backup band, but with a fiddle player (can't remember his name) and Yoko doing her now-"famous" caterwauling that did somehow manage to correspond with the squeaky fiddle.
That said... John and Yoko were interesting for historical purposes only. But what/who I was truly mesmerized by was Mick Jagger. Good lord, I've heard "androgyny" hyped out the wazoo ever since I was a teen, to the point where it had long become meaningless. But...this guy's eyes and face and body movements defied anything I'd ever read or seen before. Extremely erotic. Today, there's Prince and there are gay guys trying to act sexy (or provocative), but they're generic in comparison---Mick Jagger in 1968 was something truly, transcendently gorgeous. The censors couldn't touch him because they couldn't quite put their collective finger on what it was that was so odd and "scary"...