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The Dirty Mac
Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards during filming in December 1968
Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards during filming in December 1968
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Years active1968
Past members

The Dirty Mac was John Lennon's temporary supergroup organised in December 1968 that featured Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell and himself (as "Winston Leg-Thigh"). The band assembled for a one-off performance on the Rolling Stones' TV special titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The Dirty Mac played Lennon's Beatles composition "Yer Blues" and "Whole Lotta Yoko", an extended blues improvisation in which they were joined by Lennon's then-girlfriend Yoko Ono and violinist Ivry Gitlis. The TV special, which included appearances by the Rolling Stones, the Who and Jethro Tull, among others, did not air as originally planned and was not released officially until October 1996.

Lennon and Clapton later appeared together on the first Plastic Ono Band album, Live Peace in Toronto 1969, which also includes a performance of "Yer Blues".


Recorded on 11–12 December 1968, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was the first time since the formation of the Beatles that Lennon – who was still in the group – had performed in public without them. Aside from singing "All You Need Is Love" live on the 1967 Our World TV special, it was also the first time he had performed live since the Beatles' final tour ended in August 1966. Before the performance, Lennon was filmed chatting with Mick Jagger while eating a bowl of noodles. He listed the other members of the Dirty Mac by their proper names but introduced himself as "Winston Leg-Thigh".[1]

The Dirty Mac performed a rendition of Lennon's Beatles track "Yer Blues". They then went on to back up Yoko Ono and violinist Ivry Gitlis on "Whole Lotta Yoko", essentially an extended blues jam with Ono's improvised free-form vocalisations. The band's name, thought of by Lennon, was a play on that of Fleetwood Mac.[2] When asked what type of guitar amp he wanted to use for the performance, Lennon answered: "One that plays."[3]

In 1996, the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus album was issued, concurrently with the home video of the event. The DVD edition followed in October 2004. Fifteen years later, a limited US remastered theatrical release of the film ran during the first week of April 2019, in conjunction with the North American leg of the Rolling Stones' No Filter Tour.[4] A remaster (4-disc and 3LP vinyl) reissue box set followed on 7 June 2019.[5][6]


Additional musicians on "Whole Lotta Yoko"


  1. ^ "Dirty Mac - Yer Blues - Vidéo".
  2. ^ Peacock, Tim (11 December 2020). "Lennon, Clapton, Richards, Mitchell: A Tidy Guide To The Dirty Mac". Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  3. ^ "The Dirty Mac | News, Music Performances and Show Video Clips". MTV.
  4. ^ "Rolling Stones' 'Circus,' once lost and unfinished, will receive a theatrical release". Los Angeles Times. 19 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Rolling Stones Prep Remastered 'Rock and Roll Circus' Box Set: Reissue will boast previously unreleased recordings from impromptu John Lennon, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell, Eric Clapton supergroup, the Dirty Mac (by Jon Blistein)". Rolling Stone. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Rolling Stones / Rock and Roll Circus four-disc box and 3LP vinyl: Dolby Atmos surround – 2CD+DVD+blu-ray box – unheard audio (by Ian Wade)". 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.