Musician Biographies » The Rolling Stones » Stones on Top - New Management, Aftermath Of Success, 1967, Recovery Records, Rock And Roll Circus, Brian's Sad Decline

Stones on Top - Recovery Records

band circus roll songs

Along with everything that had gone on with the band, the world itself was changing. The United States was getting more and more involved in the Vietnam War, and many of the young people who had come of age listening to the Stones had become politically active. It was clear to the band, especially after the so-so reception their last album had gotten, that they needed to change with the times.

Rock and Roll Circus

The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus was a project designed for some of the finest rock and roll groups of the late sixties to strut their stuff. It was set up like a circus, complete with acrobats and animals. In between circus acts, bands like the Who, Jethro Tull, the Dirty Macs (John Lennon with Keith Richards, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience), and the Rolling Stones performed. Mick Jagger acted as the ringmaster.

After filming and editing, however, the project was mysteriously shelved until 1996. Rumor has it that the Stones were disappointed by their performance, and that they were embarrassed at being upstaged by an explosive performance by the Who. Whatever the real reason, the movie did not see the light of day for almost thirty years. Interestingly enough, this also marked Brian Jones's last public appearance with the band.

One of the first things they needed to do was get themselves a new producer. American Jimmy Miller, who had produced R & B acts like the Spencer Davis Group, fit the bill. They recorded a new single, “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” with Miller and released it in May 1968.

Anyone who thought the band was washed up after Their Satanic Majesties Request found that they were dead wrong. “Jumpin' Jack Flash” was one of the band's most powerful songs yet, and its harsh, rocking sound reflected the political turmoil going on all around them. They followed it up with another scorching single, “Street Fighting Man,” which even more precisely spoke of the civil unrest going on all over the world.

The two singles were a teaser to the public for their next album, the universally respected Beggar's Banquet. This album brought the Stones right back to their roots and featured some of their earthiest blues yet. Songs like “Prodigal Son,” “No Expectations,” and “Factory Girl” were stripped down songs that sounded like they could have been recorded on someone's front porch, while the song “Salt of the Earth” celebrated the common man.

Elsewhere on the record, the Stones continued to stress their dark side. Nowhere was this more obvious than on the evil-sounding song “Sympathy for the Devil.” The song itself was a meditation on evil throughout history and did not actually endorse Satanism. But the Stones played up their reputation as some serious bad dudes because it sold more records.

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