In celebration of the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary, ABKO Films has unearthed the long lost “Charlie is My Darling,” a 1965 documentary treasure chronicling the band's brief tour of Ireland just after the release of its first bona fide worldwide megahit, “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.”
Directed by British documentarian Peter Whitehead in what he called a “socio-realistic cinema verite” style, the black-and-white film captures the future bad boys of rock when they were very young and still relatively innocent, playing the biggest available venues at the time — movie theaters — and looking bewildered and even a little bit frightened when screaming girls and boys rush the unprotected stage and mob them in the middle of grinding out “It's Alright.”
The band's then 19-year-old manager Andrew Loog Oldham commissioned the film, in his words, as “sort of a trial run, get-your-celluloid legs together for any forthcoming feature film and an effort on my part to keep the Stones interested in the idea of film.”
Curiously, “Charlie is My Darling” — named affectionately for the aloof, no-nonsense Stones drummer Charlie Watts — was never publicly released until now.
“I'm just a drummer,” Watts tells an interviewer at one point. “I'm not a musician of (classical) caliber ... maybe it's just an inferiority complex. Maybe I'm great after all."
Late-night motel room footage features Mick Jagger and Keith Richards casually jamming on “Sittin' On a Fence” and “Tell Me,” then breaking out with two Beatles numbers — “Eight Days a Week” and “I've Just Seen a Face” — while Oldham looks on and Watts sits quietly in a corner looking very bored.