It was 52 years ago today (December 11th, 1968) that the Rolling Stones and friends wrapped their two-day film shoot of their Rock And Roll Circus at London's Twickenham Studios. The Circus was originally envisioned as being a holiday TV special for the Stones to promote their latest album, Beggars Banquet, and featured the band's final performance with Brian Jones, along with along with performances by the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, and the Dirty Mac — a one-off supergroup with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, the Stones' Keith Richards, and Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Not only was it Lennon's first gig apart from the Beatles, it was also his first live appearance with Yoko Ono, when she joined the Dirty Mac for an impromptu jam.
Many reasons have been given as to why the Stones eventually shelved the show — but the main one seems to be that the Who was reaching the peak of their performing career and were caught while limbered up from an exhausting series of UK dates. Simply put, the Stones' ragged set was completely upstaged by Lennon's first solo performance and the Who's incredible run-through of their 1966 mini-opera “A Quick One While He's Away.” To underline the fact that the Stones were not at their best, plans were in motion shortly after for the Who to purchase the rights to the special and release it as The Who's Rock And Roll Circus.