Rolling Stones' Really Big 'Ed Sullivan' Shows Getting Released: Exclusive
All 17 of the Rolling Stones' performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" will be released Nov. 1 in a deluxe package from Universal Music Enterprises and Sofa Entertainment. An abridged version of the Stones on "Sullivan" will be released Oct. 4.
The deluxe edition, titled "Six Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Rolling Stones" includes several performances that have never been released, including their final appearance on the variety show on Nov. 23, 1969. The deluxe package includes six full episodes of "The Ed Sullivan Show" while the Oct. 4 release is "Four Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Rolling Stones."
"The best Rolling Stones TV performances are on these shows," says Andrew Solt, executive producer of the sets and founder of Sofa Entertainment, who researched the band's visual history while making a documentary on the band's first 25 years. "On the concert films and on other shows you don't get the same production values, and here the sound is as good as the visuals. ... Groups knew they would appear in front of 35 million people so they rehearsed and made sure they would look good before going on. Knowing they were playing live on TV made them do their best."
The Rolling Stones appeared six times on "Ed Sullivan" between 1964 and 1969. Their first appearance, Oct. 25, 1964, featured a performance of "Time Is On My Side." They returned May 2, 1965 to perform "The Last Time," "Little Red Rooster," "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and, over the end credits, "2120 South Michigan Avenue."
Later performances, presented in color, came on Feb. 13, 1966 ("(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "As Tears Go By," "19th Nervous Breakdown"); Sept. 11,1966 ("Paint It, Black," "Lady Jane," "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadows?") and Jan. 15, 1967, the final "Sullivan" appearance with founding member Brian Jones ("Ruby Tuesday" and the reworded "Let's Spend The Night Together" that became "Let's Spend Some Time Together"). The Nov. 23, 1969 appearance -- with guitarist Mick Taylor -- featured the songs "Gimme Shelter," "Love In Vain" and "Honky Tonk Woman." The Oct. 4 release features the 1965, '66 and '67 shows.)
Both packages include all of the complete episodes, which feature performances from Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Tom Jones and Petula Clark, comedians Phyllis Diller, Robert Klein and Rodney Dangerfield, plus the Muppets, dance troupes and opera singers.
Bonus material in the deluxe edition includes a 24-page booklet featuring rare "Ed Sullivan Show" documents, photos, TV production files, liner notes by Greil Marcus, and a replica ticket to a 1966 show starring the Rolling Stones.
While the Stones' first US television appearance came on the Dean Martin-hosted "Hollywood Palace," Sullivan provided a consistent national platform for the band. Keen on keeping his ratings high, Sullivan's show was a common showcase for British Invasion and Motown acts that, on the surface, did not necessarily fit in stylistically with other performers.
"At the time of 'Satisfaction," 1966, Ed is 64, so here he is doing this eclectic show with something for the kids, something classical or Broadway and something for the chickadees as he would call teenagers," Solt tells Billboard.com. "With the other performances and the ads, it's an interesting ride in a time capsule."
Solt produced "25 x 5: The Continuing Adventures of The Rolling Stones," documenting the band's first 25. The Stones will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their formation next year, but these packages are not tied in with commemorative projects.