The jury – to say nothing of the legal teams – appear to still be out on precisely how much of a bigger bang the Rolling Stones are planning next year to mark their fiftieth (!) year together as a band. Will they in fact, even for a concert or two, be able to regain the best bass player they ever had? Can even long-lost Mick Taylor again be convinced to try to fill Brian’s musical shoes for maybe a solo or two?? Anything to prevent, or at least delay, the next Jagger so-low album, I can already hear all of you thinking out there!
But seeing as the vast majority of the Stones’ fan base now prefer reclining in front of flat screens as opposed to braving the crush at the local EnormoDome, the band has already gotten the anniversial ball, well, rolling with two brand new/old DVD releases specially made for all December’s remaining children.
One package comprises four – or six if you spring for the Deluxe edition – complete (with commercials even!) Stones-featured Ed Sullivan Shows remastered from those once-Swinging Sixties. And, on much the opposite end of the musico-historical scale, a long-rumored and ultimately shelved (because, as director Lynn Lenau recalls, “they thought they looked too old”) semi-low-budget 16mm film of a typical Stones show from their S.E.A.T. (as in “Seventy Eight American Tour”) supporting the just-released “back-to-basics” Some Girls long-player is also finally available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and/or “Special Edition with CD digipack presentation including a reproduction tour program” (included on all configurations however, it should be noted, is the Stones’ (in)famous 1978 Saturday Night Live appearance starring Dan Aykroyd as Tom Snyder).
Now, those Christmas shoppers still reeling from last year’s budget-crunching Exile On Main St. re-issue onslaught may perhaps be forced to have Santa choose between The Ed Sullivan Show Starring The Rolling Stones OR Some Girls Live in Texas ’78 this holiday season. In which case, allow me then to provide a Rock and Roll Consumers Report between these two temptful Yule packages:
SULLIVAN: CBS Television Studio 50, New York, New York and CBS Television City, Los Angeles, California.
SOME GIRLS: Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, Texas.
SULLIVAN: Six Sunday nights between October 25, 1964 and November 23, 1969.
SOME GIRLS: Tuesday night, July 18, 1978.
ROLLING STONES’ ALIAS:
SULLIVAN: England’s Newest Hit Makers.
SOME GIRLS: The London Green Shoed Cowboys.
SOME GIRLS: 2,856
SULLIVAN: Lipton Tea, Pillsbury, Dove soap, Anacin, Easy-On Spray Starch, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, Lux Liquid, The Man From Glad, Geritol (“America’s #1 tonic”), Aqua Velva, Aero Shave, Aero Wax, Burlington Mid-Length Socks, Infra-Rub, Lees Carpets, Polaroid Corporation, Pacquin Cold Cream, Ben-Gay Lotion, FTD Florists, Sleep-Eze (“when you can’t sleep because tension has you all wound up”), Sominex (“if you can’t sleep because of simple nervous tension or daily problems”), Vivarin Stimulant Tablets (“Give yourself a lift!”), ProSlim 7-day reducing wafers, Norelco, Cheesecake nylons (yes, cheesecake), Hai Karate After Shave and Cologne, Juan Valdez’s 100% Colombian Coffee, Teflon II Certified Cookware, and Zerex anti-leak anti-freeze.
SOME GIRLS: Bill Graham.
SULLIVAN: Giant cheese wheels, ironic chandeliers, orange then blue screen, purple and (paint it) black screen, psychedelic rib cages and lots of reflective foil.
SOME GIRLS: In the words of Old Gods Almost Dead author Stephen Davis, “a bare stage surrounded by a huge red lips and tongue logo painted on a scrim. A pair of giant tonsils floated over Charlie’s drums.”
SULLIVAN: London Lee, Itzhak Perlman, Stiller and Meara, Peg Leg (really!) Bates, Laurence Harvey, The Kim Sisters, The Berosinis, Phyllis Diller, Morecambe and Wise, Leslie Uggams, Gitta Morelly, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Totie Fields, The Half Brothers, Señor Wences, Les Olympiades, Eddie Schaeffer, Hal Holbrook, The Romanian Folk Ballet, Sandy Baron, The Muppets (twice!), Franco Corelli and Renata Tebaldi, Louis Armstrong, Joan Rivers, Robert Goulet, Red Skelton, The Michael Bennett Dancers, Flip Wilson, Petula Clark, Monroe the Acrobat, “this group of forty-four nuns from the Convent of the Sisters of Saint Benedict in Erie – that’s Erie, Pennsylvania, of course” aka Sisters ’67, Alan King, Rodney Dangerfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Robert Klein, “from the Hawthorne Circus, an amazing tiger riding a horse,” the even more amazing Lucho Navarro (who impersonates motor cars with his mouth) and, of course, Topo Gigio.
SOME GIRLS: Peter Tosh.
SULLIVAN: “And now (pause) singing (pause) singing Time on my si- (pause) Time On My Side (pause) The Rolling (pause) Stones!”
SOME GIRLS: “Welcome the fucking amazing Rolling Stones!”
SULLIVAN: Merry Clayton, vocals, “Gimme Shelter” (but you can’t see her; you can only hear her).
SOME GIRLS: Doug Kershaw, fiddle, “Far Away Eyes.”
SULLIVAN: Brian Jones, guitar, bottleneck, sitar, dulcimer, recorder, piano.
SOME GIRLS: Ron Wood, if you let him, guitar.
SULLIVAN: Singing “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” under Ed’s strict orders.
SOME GIRLS: Singing “Sweet Little Sixteen, she’s got the grown up blues, tight dresses and Tampax, she’s sportin’ high-heel shoes” without Chuck Berry’s consent.
NUMBER OF TIMES CHARLIE WATTS SMILES:
SOME GIRLS: 2 (though he is positively on fire throughout this show!)
NUMBER OF TIMES BILL WYMAN MOVES:
SOME GIRLS: 0
(Sorry, I kid: During the Stones’ inaugural Sullivision appearance, Bill was actually given a live microphone into which he was moved to add harmonies during “Time Is On My Side”)
GREATEST HITS PERFORMED:
SULLIVAN: “The Last Time,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “As Tears Go By,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Paint It, Black,” “Lady Jane,” “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Honky Tonk Women.”
SOME GIRLS: “Honky Tonk Women,” “Starfucker,” “When The Whip Comes Down,” “Beast Of Burden,” “Miss You,” “Shattered,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Happy,” “Brown Sugar,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
GREATEST HITS IGNORED:
SULLIVAN: “Street Fighting Man,” “Under My Thumb,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Get Off Of My Cloud,” “2000 Light Years From Home,” “Connection.”
SOME GIRLS: “Sister Morphine,” “Bitch,” “Turd On The Run,” “Short and Curlies,” “Cherry Oh Baby,” “Claudine,” “I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys.”
NUMBER OF MINUTES ON STAGE:
SULLIVAN: Six-and-a-half to twelve (per appearance).
SOME GIRLS: Approximately eighty-three.
SULLIVAN: well, It’s important to remember that eight months before the Stones’ debut appearance there, The Beatles were paid a total of only $10,000 for their first THREE Ed Sullivan Shows.
SOME GIRLS: It should also be remembered that the Stones paid filmmaker Lynn Lenau and her crew a total of only $1,000 to shoot Live in Texas ’78.
SULLIVAN (in a message to Stones co-manager Eric Easton following the band’s first Ed Sullivan Show): “We were deluged with mail protesting the untidy appearance, clothes and hair, of your Rolling Stones. Before even discussing the possibility of a contract, I would like to learn from you, Eric, whether your young men have reformed in matter of dress and shampoo.”
SOME GIRLS (Mick Jagger, by way of introducing “Respectable” to the bemused citizens of Fort Worth): “I’m afraid if the band’s lacking slightly in energy, it’s because they spent all last night fucking …but we’ll do our best.”