Friday, November 6, 2009
Friday Night Videos: Yer Blues
In late 1968 The Rolling Stones and a plethora of music royalty from that era performed and filmed two concerts on a circus stage. Intended to air on the BBC, these concerts never made it to air as originally intended and were held private until their release in 1996 as The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.
The Stones and their guests performed in a replica of a seedy big top which was set on the sound stage of Abbey Road Studios. The event began at about 2pm, but setting up between acts took longer than planned and the cameras kept breaking down, which meant that the final performances took place at almost 5 o'clock the next morning.
From these concerts comes tonight's Friday Night Video: Yer Blues. The clip includes The Stones Mick Jagger and John Lennon of The Beatles introducing the song, and has a wonderful cameo of Yoko Ono as she sits in front of the band with a black sheet over her head. Many say it is Yoko's finest work.
A song penned by Lennon and originally released on the two-album set The Beatles (also known as The White Album) this version was performed by a 'supergroup' called Dirty Mac. Comprised of Lennon (guitar, vocals), Keith Richards (bass guitar) of The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton (lead guitar) of the recently defunct Cream, and Mitch Mitchell (drums) of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Dirty Mac was a one-time only band that performed only two songs during their one day of existence; the other being an instrumental with Yoko.
It is said that Lennon originally intended the song as a friendly parody of British blues. He said in a Rolling Stone interview that he used the humorous title as something of a defense mechanism, so that if anyone criticized the song, he could write it off as a parody. Aside from that, he claimed to be serious about the content of the song. The lyrics are extremely suicidal, and include references to Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" as well as cosmology, and were possibly reflective of Lennon's well-documented battles with his psychological demons.
In my opinion, any time such great musicians are gathered that Keith Richards must step away from a six-string guitar and pick up a bass means there's bound to be good music, and these four are certainly all legends who fortunately came together and gave us one song of great music.
Enjoy - Yer Blues.