In September 1965, The Rolling Stones did four shows in Ireland with a film crew in tow. The resulting footage became Charlie Is My Darling, a documentary that has rarely been seen and has never been widely circulated. Friday, this revealing piece of history was shown in New York, followed by a Q-and-A with the band's first manager and producer, Andrew Loog Oldham.
What's remarkable about the hour-long Charlie Is My Darling -- shot just as "Satisfaction" matched its American success by topping the British charts -- is how lively and playful the young band was, and how wild their audiences were. One of the concerts, which lean heavily on the blues and R&B covers which launched the band's career, ends abruptly as they're chased from the stage by overzealous fans.
Offstage, they joke and kid with each other, work on original songs, mimic The Beatles and Elvis Presley, and comment thoughtfully on their rising fame. Brian Jones, who founded the band and was split between his loyalty to the blues, his ambition to grow as a musician and his doubts about the future, is already falling by the wayside, as Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are clearly holding the band's creative reins.
In his remarks, Oldham explained that the film's purpose -- in the wake of A Hard Day's Night and other such rock and roll features -- was to see how the band would fare on film, and to warm them to the idea of making a movie. He remarked that, as had happened with The Beatles, the surprising discovery was that it was the drummer who most charmed the camera -- hence the title.
Charlie Is My Darling will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 6th.