Rolling Stones’ ‘Rock and Roll Circus’ introduced Julian Lennon to pot: ‘I went, What is this?’

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As John Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon occasionally found himself in settings that would boggle the mind of the average kid. One was the taping of Rock and Roll Circus, a December 11, 1968 concert documentary sponsored by the Rolling Stones.

And, in that moment, something very rock ‘n’ roll happened.

“In fact, recently I got given a tape from someone who filmed me,” Julian Lennon told HazyRock.com. “It’s me with Dad, [Mick] Jagger and Yoko [Ono]. I had a look at it the other day — and it was so bizarre, seeing me sitting there chatting away. I shouldn’t bring this up, but I was sitting in the middle of everybody, smoking a joint. At five years old; four or five years old! I don’t know, but it looked like I was passing it on. It did. I guess I decided to discover what it was, at five. I went, ‘What is this?,’ and then said: ‘Who wants this?'”

Rock and Roll Circus was scheduled to air on the BBC, but was ultimately withdrawn by the Rolling Stones — despite also including performances from the Who, Jethro Tull and a supergroup (dubbed the Dirty Mac) featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards. The documentary was finally released on VHS, CD and Laserdisc in 1996, followed by a DVD edition in 2004.

Beyond that ultra-rare live performance from John Lennon (he did a rendition of “Yer Blues” from the Beatles’ White Album), the concert is also famous for documenting Tony Iommi’s brief flirtation with Jethro Tull, prior to Black Sabbath’s success.

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