Jan. 21, 1997 Feb. 4, 1997

Art Watch Index - Jan. 28, 1997

Swinging London, or What the '60's Was Really About - The Rolling Stones, the "Rock 'n' Roll Circus"

Art Watch Back Number Index

Rolling Stones Rock'n'Roll Circus

Brian Jones Fan Club

The Official Rolling Stones Web Site

The Rolling Stones [Stones World]

John Lennon / Bagism

Eric Clapton's Page

Eric Clapton

Mouse Police (Jethro Tull)

Marianne Faithfull International Web Site

Mick Jagger

The Official Yoko Ono Home Page

The Official Associazione Fellini Web Site

Takuya KIMURA (in Japanese)

The Keith Richards Page

Swinging London, or
What the '60's Was Really About - The Rolling Stones,
the "Rock 'n' Roll Circus"


A "circus" filled with a lot of "the"s

If this video is considered truly fascinating, that is because it shows the last public appearance of "the" Brian Jones with "the" Rolling Stones, and also people like "the" John Lennon, "the" Eric Clapton and "The" Who. If you are a rock 'n' roll connoisseur, it is fascinating because it features "the" Jethro Tull (with "the" Tony Iommi, who was with the band only for one week, playing the guitar); if you are a pervert it is because of "the" Mitch Mitchell; if you like celebrity gossip, it is because there's "the" Marianne Faithfull (she was the girlfriend of Mick Jagger at the time!); and if you are a black music fan, it is because the video features "the" Taj Mahal (with the legendary Jesse Ed Davis playing the guitar!). Naturally, there must be people who have a say about Yoko Ono and Ivry Gitlis, an Israeli classic violinist. This is "the" program produced in 1968 which was shelved somehow despite the appearance of such famous people. There is no way a video filled with so many "the"s cannot be interesting. Moreover, somehow, the setting of the video is a "circus", which is the hotbed for nostalgia, as seen works by Chuya Nakahara to Federico Fellini.

A revival of "the" '60's

This video is fantastic! Watching these stars, I "pull down" various "the"s. I wonder since when this has become a way of enjoying rock. I do not know who started the rumor that "(the video) was shelved because The Who dominated the show", but though the right arm swing of Pete Townshend and the crazy drumming of Keith Moon are excellent, I do not feel that the Rolling Stones' performance was "inferior" to theirs. Rather, nowadays enjoying such rumors has become an indispensable enjoyment for those who socialize over rock 'n' roll. There are a lot of lowbrows we can enjoy, such as wondering whether the body of Takuya KIMURA is as attractive as Mick's, or whether Brian looks like Hiroshi KAMAYATSU, and there are also many aspects we can surmise and enjoy such as checking on Clapton's troubled look whenever Yoko squeals out, and checking out Mick's attitude towards John. Some people may feel a nostalgia simlar to that of looking at past photographs of student days, seeing all of these people when they were young. The less follow up information there is for a person, such as Mitch Mitchell, the smaller his presence is. This video not only tells you what the '60's was all about; the important thing is that "the '60's is right here". No one can offer an answer to a question like "what the '60's was truly about".

The precious footage of Jesse Ed Davis

Simon Frith also wrote that, "part of the pleasure of popular culture is talking about it" (Performing Rites, p.4), but he is being too modest. Most of the pleasure of popular culture is talking about it. Probably, the borderline between pop culture and all the other art, including contemporary media art, lies here. The reason why contemporary music is not interesting, besides its musical content, is because it does not stimulate "talks" about it. On a more serious note, in the video, every performance is obviously excellent. The climax of the show is certainly John Lennon's singing with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell playing in the band, but personally, I felt Jesse Ed Davis was impressive. Once known as the master of the slide guitar together with Ry Cooder, he left Taj Mahal in 1970, released three solo albums, but in the late '70's, his name was seldom heard. The next time we saw his name was in his obituary in 1988. In this video, he was 23 years old. From the film, we can discern his quiet and artless personality. In the West Coast music scene, there were quite a few native Americans like Jesse, Chicanos and Asian rock musicians. There was even a Hawaiian member in the soft-rock band, the Association.

[Kikue NISHIYAMA/Pop Aesthetics]

toBottom toTop

Art Watch Back Number Index

Jan. 21, 1997 Feb. 4, 1997

[home]/[Art Information]/[Column]

Copyright (c) Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. 1997
Network Museum & Magazine Project / nmp@nt.cio.dnp.co.jp