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Rolling Stones’ Youth Recaptured in Footage From 1965

Brian Jones And Mick Jagger
Brian Jones, guitarist of the Rolling Stones, left, and Mick Jagger, lead vocalist of the Rolling Stones, perform at the Adelphi Theatre in Dublin. The band's Irish weekend tour in 1965 is captured in a new movie. Source: Irish Photo Archives via Bloomberg

A new documentary celebrating the the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary offers a rare, intimate look at the group at the start of its career, during a 1965 tour of Ireland.

“Charlie Is My Darling -- Ireland 1965” shows a 22-year-old Mick Jagger, now 69, singing the band’s newest hit, “Satisfaction,” before crowds of screaming teens. In it, the members express doubts about their longevity as a band.

“One’s brought up to think that pop music is a very ephemeral thing and it lasts for nothing,” Jagger tells an interviewer. “So and when we first made a record and it got in the charts we thought, well it’s good. We’ll probably be around for a year or maybe a year and a half, and then it’s all going to be over.”

The film will play for one night only on Oct. 24 at Graumann’s Chinese theater in Hollywood, move to a handful of other cities and become part of satellite provider DirecTV’s “Something to Talk About” documentary series. A Blu-ray disc goes on sale Nov. 6.

Running 65 minutes, “Charlie” was never intended as a movie. Documentary filmmaker Peter Whitehead was hired to capture the Stones’ weekend in Dublin and Belfast to get the band used to being in front of a camera. Then-manager Andrew Loog Oldham, inspired by the commercial success of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” thought the exercise might prepare the band for a feature film.

“It was never supposed to come out,” Robin Klein, the documentary’s producer, said in an interview. “All of these groups were making movies so Andrew decided to take them to Ireland and just do a test shot.”

Scouring Vaults

The archival footage is making its way to fans as the Stones prepare for a handful of concerts and a broader documentary is released. Yesterday, the band announced four live dates in Britain and the U.S. “Crossfire Hurricane,” a longer film covering the Stones’ five-decade career, makes its debut at the London Film Festival on Oct. 18.

Ahead of the Blu-ray release, “Charlie Is My Darling” will play at theaters in New York, Washington, Dallas, Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Santa Monica, California. The show airs on DirecTV on Nov. 10.

Much of the footage has never been seen. Director Mick Gochanour scoured vaults in England for bits of Whitehead’s footage to create a cohesive narrative of the band’s weekend in Belfast and Dublin. The material includes the first performance of “Satisfaction” filmed live, Klein said.

Watts’ Skills

Fans also will see Jagger and Richards writing “Sittin’ on a Fence,” and Charlie Watts ruminating over whether he is really a good drummer. Three of the Stones featured in the film are still playing, including Jagger. Watts is now 71, his place among rock’s great drummers affirmed, and guitarist Keith Richards is 68. Bassist Bill Wyman left the band in 1992. Guitarist Brian Jones drowned in 1969.

The near-simultaneous theatrical, television and home-video release is being used increasingly for smaller productions to capitalize on publicity for the film and generate sales through various outlets.

The film will continue to be shown at festivals in order to generate a wider theatrical release, according to the production company, Abkco Films.

“The way it was shot and restored, the best way to see it is that way,” said Alisa Coleman, senior vice president at Abkco.

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