Brian Jones served as a bridge between southside Chicago Blues and the young, white audience for Rock and Roll. He founded the Rolling Stones, along with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Their original niche was to play fairly faithful covers of classic blues songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and other black blues masters from Chicago. He was the most musically talented member of the Rolling Stones – being able to play many different instruments.
He also was the symbol of the “mod rebel rocker.” He was fired from the Rolling Stones because he was no longer reliable and would not be able to get a work permit to tour America. A month later he was found dead in his swimming pool. His death at 27 was the first of the Sixties rock movement to die of excessive alcohol and drug consumption. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison also died at the age of 27 within two years. Ironically, Jim Morrison died two years to the day after Jones. The coincidence of ages has been described as the “27 Club.” Click below for the most complete tribute on the Web!
In the 1964 British Invasion the Stones were promoted as bad boys, a gimmick that stuck as an indelible image (partly because it was true). Their music started as a gruffer, faster version of Chicago blues, but eventually the Stones pioneered British rock’s tone of ironic detachment and wrote about offhand brutality, sex as power, and other taboos. Jagger was the most self-consciously assured appropriator of black performers’ up-front sexuality; Keith Richards’ Chuck Berry–derived riffing defined rock rhythm guitar (not to mention rock guitar rhythm); and the stalwart rhythm section of Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts held everything together, making sure teenagers could dance to whatever Mick and Keith would dream up. …
Meanwhile, Brian Jones had begun skipping school in Cheltenham to practice bebop alto sax and clarinet. By the time he was 16, he had fathered two illegitimate children and run off briefly to Scandinavia, where he began playing guitar. Back in Cheltenham he joined the Ramrods, then drifted to London with his girlfriend and one of his children. He began playing with Alexis Korner’s Blues, Inc., then decided to start his own band; a want ad attracted pianist Ian Stewart (b. 1938; d. December 12, 1985).
As Elmo Lewis, Jones began working at the Ealing Blues Club, where he ran into a later, loosely knit version of Blues, Inc., which at the time included drummer Charlie Watts. Jagger and Richards began jamming with Blues, Inc., and while Jagger, Richards, and Jones began to practice on their own, Jagger became the featured singer with Blues, Inc. …
“Not Fade Away” also made the U.S. singles chart (Number 48). By this time the band had become a sensation in Britain, with the press gleefully reporting that band members had been seen urinating in public. In April 1964 their first album was released in the U.K., and two months later they made their first American tour. Their cover of the Bobby Womack/Valentinos song “It’s All Over Now” was a British Number One, their first. Their June American tour was a smashing success; in Chicago, where they’d stopped off to record the Five by Five EP at the Chess Records studio, riots broke out when the band tried to give a press conference. The Stones’ version of the blues standard “Little Red Rooster,” which had become another U.K. Number One, was banned in the U.S. because of its “objectionable” lyrics. …
In January 1965 their “The Last Time” became another U.K. Number One and cracked the U.S. Top 10 in the spring. The band’s next single, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” reigned at Number One for four weeks that summer and remains perhaps the most famous song in its remarkable canon. Jagger and Richards continued to write hits with increasingly sophisticated lyrics: “Get Off My Cloud” (Number One, 1965), “As Tears Go By” (Number Six, 1965), “19th Nervous Breakdown” (Number Two, 1966), “Mother’s Little Helper” (Number Eight, 1966), “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” (Number Nine, 1966).
Aftermath, the first Stones LP of all original material, came out in 1966, though its impact was minimized by the simultaneous release of the Beatles’ Revolver and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. The Middle Eastern–tinged “Paint It, Black” (1966) and the ballad “Ruby Tuesday” (1967), were both U.S. Number One hits.
In January 1967 the Stones caused another sensation when they performed “Let’s Spend the Night Together” on The Ed Sullivan Show. Jagger mumbled the title lines after threats of censorship (some claimed that the line was censored; others that Jagger actually sang “Let’s spend some time together”; Jagger later said, “When it came to that line, I sang mumble”). In February Jagger and Richards were arrested on drug-possession charges in Britain; in May, Brian Jones, too, was arrested. The heavy jail sentences they received were eventually suspended on appeal. The Stones temporarily withdrew from public appearances; Jagger and his girlfriend, singer Marianne Faithfull, went to India with the Beatles to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In December came Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones’ psychedelic answer record to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper — and an ambitious mess. By the time the album’s lone single, “She’s a Rainbow” had become a Number 25 hit, Allen Klein had become the group’s manager.
May 1968 saw the release of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a Number Three hit, and a return to basic rock & roll. After five months of delay provoked by controversial album-sleeve photos, the eclectic Beggars Banquet was released and was hailed by critics as the band’s finest achievement.
On June 9, 1969, Brian Jones, the Stones’ most musically adventurous member, who had lent sitar, dulcimer, and, on “Under My Thumb,” marimba to the band’s sound, and who had been in Morocco recording nomadic Joujouka musicians, left the band with this explanation: “I no longer see eye-to-eye with the others over the discs we are cutting.” Within a week he was replaced by ex–John Mayall guitarist Mick Taylor. Jones announced that he would form his own band, but on July 3, 1969, he was found dead in his swimming pool; the coroner’s report cited “death by misadventure.” Jones, beset by drug problems — and the realization that the band now belonged squarely to Jagger and Richards — had barely participated in the Beggars Banquet sessions.
At an outdoor concert in London’s Hyde Park a few days after Jones’ death, Jagger read an excerpt from the poet Shelley and released thousands of butterflies over the park. On July 11, the day after Jones was buried, the Stones released “Honky Tonk Women,” another Number One, and another Stones classic. By this time, every Stones album went gold in short order, and Let It Bleed (a sardonic reply to the Beatles’ soon-to-be-released Let It Be) was no exception. “Gimme Shelter” received constant airplay. Jones appeared on most of the album’s tracks, though Taylor also made his first on-disc appearances.
The Rolling Stones are one of the most prolific bands in rock & roll history. Their often forgotten founding member, Brian Jones, stands as a symbol of the 1960s counter culture. …
Most Stones fans cite the prolific material of the 1970s as the group’s best work and few can downplay the importance of Exile On Main Street and Let It Bleed. But, the term ‘best’ is open to interpretation. Surely, it had a strong impact on bands to follow but the same can be said of the Stones early material, represented by such classic albums like 1966’s Aftermath and 1968’s Beggars Banquet. The early live shows and recordings set new boundaries by tying classic blues and R&B together with raw rock n’ roll. The blues foundation, which carried over into the Stones 70s material, was rooted in the band’s original guitarist and founder, Brian Jones. The “forgotten Stone” is known to few newer Stones fans.
Brian’s enigmatic persona and unique style mirrors Lennon’s in the Beatles. Accounts claim Lennon was, in fact, closer to Brian than any of the other Stones. The two were inseparable during the infamous Rock N’ Roll Circus debacle of 1968 and there were even rumors they discussed the possibility of a musical collaboration prior to Brian’s untimely death in 1969. Our imaginations could only envision how it would have turned out. Sadly, too few remember Brian and the often understated impact he had on one of the most quintessential rock n’ roll bands of all time. …
The Rolling Stones were formed in the early 60s when Brian came together with childhood friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In the early years, the three held each other in admiration and even lived together in squalor in a small London apartment without heat during one of the roughest winters on record in the UK. Brian had a hard time holding onto steady work and he and Keith would spend hours practicing guitar riffs in their freezing apartment.
Truly gifted, Brian was able to pick up just about any instrument and learn how to play it in just a few hours time. His brilliant sitar performance on “Paint It Black” is heralded as one of his best. The song owes its “classic” status to Brian’s inspired performance. Regardless, Brian was gradually removed as self-proclaimed ‘leader’ of the Stones. Only those present can be certain of the dynamics at play, but the accepted version is that Mick and Keith grew closer while writing, as Brian became more and more alienated. His severe self-esteem problem, something he was never able to conquer, apparently kept him from offering input and further isolated him from the band. …
The Stones asked Brian to leave the group in June of 1969. The split was reported in the press as mutual, and Brian retired to his home, Cotchford Farm, formerly owned by A.A. Milne, writer of the classic “Winnie the Pooh” books. Brian spent much time working on music and ‘detoxing’ during this time. He reportedly discussed collaborations with other musicians, including the members of Credence Clearwater Revival and John Lennon. Sadly, on July 2, 1969, Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool, his passing ruled “death by misadventure” a/k/a drowning. Interestingly, neither Mick Jagger nor Keith Richards attended Brian’s funeral, though the Stones held a ‘memorial concert’ in Hyde Park days after his death. Both Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman attended the service.
Rumors that Brian’s death was actually murder surfaced shortly thereafter. First, his girlfriend at the time, Anna Wohlin, was whisked away never to be seen again. Second, though Brian was an expert swimmer and there was a nurse at his home the evening of his death, no one was able to save him. Third, though Brian did have narcotics in his system at the time of his death, they were not strong enough to have rendered him helpless in his own pool. New theories have abounded in books by Wohlin and Terry Rawlings, among others. The general consensus is that Brian was killed by a live-in contractor, Frank Thorogood. Published reports claim the two had a falling out, prompting Thorogood to hold Brian’s head under the water until he drowned.
Official Death Notice
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND, July 10, 1969- Scores of teenage girls wept outside an ancient parish church here where Rolling Stone Brian Jones was once a choir boy and where his last rites were held today. Hundreds of mini-skirted long-haired girls heard Rector Hugh Hopkins, who confirmed Jones, speak of “Brian the rebel”. Reading the Scripture story of the prodigal son, Hopkins said Jones “had little patience with authority, convention and tradition” “Typical of Generation” In this, Hopkins said, “he was typical of many of his generation who have come to see in the Rolling Stones an expression of their whole attitude to life. Much that this ancient church has stood for 900 years seems totally irrelevant to them. And yet it is not humbug to come here today to offer our prayers on this tragic occasion.”
The death of former Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones is to be reviewed following new evidence, it has been revealed. Police in Sussex were handed new information connected to the musician’s untimely death 40 years ago. Mr Jones, was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool at a house in Cotchford farm, Hartfield, East Sussex.
An inquest recorded a verdict of death by misadventure but speculation continued that he was murdered. A spokesman for Sussex Police said the force had been handed documents connected with Jones’s death, prompting the review. But he added it was too early to launch a fresh investigation. He added: “These papers will be examined by Sussex Police, but it is too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome will be.” Jones, who was 27 when he died, was a founding member of the Rolling Stones.
In August 2009 it was reported around the world that Sussex Police had decided to review Brian Jones’ death for the first time since 1969, after new evidence was handed to them by Scott Jones, an investigative journalist in the UK. Scott Jones has traced many of the people who were at Brian Jones’ house the night he died, plus unseen police files held at the National Archives. In the Mail on Sunday in November 2008 Scott Jones said Frank Thorogood killed Brian Jones in a fight and the senior police officers covered up the true cause of death. Robert Greenfield wrote about the police review in the March 2010 edition of Playboy. Depending on the results of this review, the 1969 case that was originally ruled to be death by misadventure could be reopened as a murder investigation.
In May 1963 the Rolling Stones signed to Decca Records and cut their first single. With a Chuck Berry-penned A side (“Come On”) and a Willie Dixon cover on the flip (“I Want to Be Loved”), this 45 set forth the rock/blues dichotomy whose eventual melding in the Jagger/Richards songwriting team would come to define the Stones’ sound and sensibility. Their second single, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” was provided to them by the Lennon/McCartney songwriting tandem, proving from the outset that there no hostilities existed between the Beatles and the Stones. However, a spirit of friendly competition would serve each band well throughout the Sixties. The first half of 1964 saw the Rolling Stones headline their first British tour (with the Ronettes) and release the single “Not Fade Away” (a powerfully retooled Buddy Holly cover) and their eponymous first album, retitled England’s Newest Hitmakers/The Rolling Stones for U.S. release.
The Rolling Stones’ commercial breakthrough came in mid-1964 with their swinging, country-blues rendition of Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now,” which went to #3 on the British chart and just missed the U.S. Top Forty. But it was in 1965 that the Stones discovered their own voice with the singles “The Last Time” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The last of these, built around a compelling fuzztone guitar riff from Richard, is more than a standard; quite possibly it is the all-time greatest rock and roll song. It also captured the Stones’ surly, impolite attitude, which would bring them into disfavor with rock-hating elements in the establishment. Of course, that only made the group more appealing to those youthful listeners who found themselves estranged from the adult world.
Aftermath, released in April 1966, was the first Rolling Stones album to consist entirely of Jagger-Richards originals. Their hard-rocking British pop songs detailed battles between sexes, classes and generations. The contributions of Brian Jones, the one-time blues purist, were now key to the Stones’ more eclectic approach , as he colored the songs with embellishments on a variety of instruments including marimba (“Under My Thumb”) and dulcimer (“Lady Jane”). The group’s subsequent singles further pushed the envelope of outrage, which the Stones were learning to work to their benefit. “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow” was a pounding rocker whose picture sleeve depicted the Stones in drag, while “Let’s Spend the Night Together” engendered controversy in the States for the bluntly sexual come-on of its title and lyrics.
At mid-decade, the three pre-eminent forces in popular music were the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. They mutually influenced one another, and aspects of Dylan’s folk-rock and the Beatles’ similar turn in that direction with Rubber Soul were clearly evident on the Stones’ Between the Buttons, which appeared in 1967. It remains the group’s most baroque and understated recording. After the release of Flowers, an album that compiled stray tracks for the American market, the Stones unleashed the bombastic psychedelia of Their Satanic Majesties Request. It was the group’s portentous retort to the Beatles’ Summer of Love manifesto, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It also marked the last time that the Stones would blatantly shadow the Beatles in a stylistic sense.
The year 1967 was an eventful one for the Rolling Stones. Not only did they release three albums, but also they were beset with legal troubles stemming from a string of drug busts engineered by British authorities wanting to make an example of them. When the dust cleared, Jagger, Richards and Jones narrowly escaped draconian prison sentences. However, whereas the ordeal seemed to strengthen Jagger and Richards’ resolve, ongoing substance abuse was rapidly causing Jones’ physical and mental states to disintegrate. He was only marginally involved in sessions for Beggar’s Banquet, the Stones’ 1968 masterpiece, and his departure due to “musical differences” was announced on June 8th, 1969. Less than a month later, Jones was found dead in his swimming pool, the official cause being given as “death by misadventure.”
Brian Jones had begun a career in truancy to practice the sax. By the time Jones had reached sixteen, the future Stone had fathered two illegitimate children and skipped town to Scandinavia, where he began to pick up guitar. Jones eventually drifted to London where he spent some time with Alexis Korner’s Blues, Inc., then made the move to start up his own band. While working at the Ealing Blues Club with a loose version of Blues, Inc. and drummer Charlie Watts, Jones began jamming with Jagger and Richards on the side. Jagger would front the new band.
Jones, Jagger and Richards, along with drummer Tony Chapman, cut a demo tape that was rejected by EMI. Chapman left the band shortly after to attend Art College. By this time Blues, Inc. had changed their name to the Rolling Stones, after a Muddy Waters song. The Rolling Stones’ first show occurred on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee. In January of 1963, after a series of personnel changes, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts rounded out the Stones’ line-up.
In June of 1963, the Stones released their first single, a Chuck Berry tune, “Come On.” The group performed on the British TV show “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” where the producer told Oldham to get rid of “that vile-looking singer with the tire-tread lips.” The single reached #21 on the British charts.
After proving themselves with a series of chart topping hits, Jagger and Richards began writing their own songs using the pseudonym “Nanker Phelge.” “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)” became the band’s first U.S. Top Forty hit. January of 1965 was the year the Stones broke another # 1 in the U.K. with “The Last Time” and broke the top ten in the U.S. with the same tune. The band’s next single, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” held the # 1 spot for four weeks and went on to become probably their most famous.
The Stones released their first album of all-original material in 1966 with “Aftermath.” The impact of the release was dulled, due in part, to the simultaneous release of the Beatles’ “Revolver” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” – a good year for rock and roll. The following year, the Stones were back in the limelight when the group performed “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” Amid threats of censorship, Jagger mumbled the title lines of the song. Some claim Jagger sang “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.”
With the release of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper,” it seemed every band began to gauge themselves against the landmark recording – including the Stones. In December of ’67, the Stones released “Their Satanic Majesties Request” – panned as an “ambitious mess.” The following year the Stones went back to their roots with the release of “Jumping Jack Flash.” The song landed them a # 3 hit. “Beggar’s Banquet” was hailed as the band’s finest achievement.
On June 9, 1969, Brian Jones announced he was leaving the group saying: “I no longer see eye to eye with the others over the discs we are cutting.” Within a week, Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor (ex-John Mayall guitarist). Plans Jones had made to start his own band were cut short when on July 3, 1969, he was found dead in his swimming pool. After the death, at a concert in London’s Hyde Park, Jagger read an excerpt from a poem by Shelley and released thousands of butterflies over the park.
Brian Jones founded The Rolling Stones in 1962. A slide and rhythm guitarist, he became the band’s utility instrumentalist, before parting ways with them in 1969, shortly before his death, aged 27. Brian Jones was an extravagantly talented musician who could play any instrument that took his fancy, and frequently did. The three Stones albums that span the mid-to-late sixties – Aftermath, Between The Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request – all bear tribute to his versatility. This musical inventiveness led The Rolling Stones into some strange new pastures, which are not always fully recognised or appreciated, because of their difference to both the original derivative R ‘n’ B sound of the band during their initial ‘cover band’ era.
That classic, heavy, tuneful rock sound remains The Rolling Stones’ great contribution to the evolution of rhythm and blues music; but it emerged only during Brian Jones’ swansong, on Beggars Banquet, and was not to reach its mature peak until after he’d left the band, and died. This timing lends an ambiguity to Brian Jones’ contribution to The Rolling Stones. It’s clear that his original vision, talent and drive were essential to getting the band going; and in no small part to their original success between 1963 and 1966. Listen to the guitar solo on ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, which he performed spontaneously, unrehearsed, in one take, and weep at what The Stones and their fans lost with Brian’s demise.
“At this point I don’t think Brian was necessarily shying away from guitar. He just enjoyed being a colorist and that was very effective. His guitar playing was good when he played slide guitar – that was a strength – but he wasn’t much of a rock player, really. Keith could do the other parts and Brian wasn’t really that needed, so he was more interested in playing the recorder or the sitar. Brian was more like an all-round musician rather than a specialist guitar player.” Brian Jones was also a lifestyle pioneer. His early adoption of increasingly outlandish fashion, along with relatively overt and extreme recreational drug abuse, made him a poster boy for the new youth culture – a cosmically inappropriate piece of ‘casting’, as it turned out. … .
Brian Jones was clearly a complicated man, not always popular even with his closest friends and ultimately not cut out for the demands of the band leadership he craved; or the pressure of writing hit singles and best -selling albums; or super-stardom; or the extreme work hard, play hard life of a touring and recording musician in a sixties rock band.
But his love and mastery of performing blues-based rock ‘n’ roll – and, over time, of other forms of music – remains as a powerful legacy to the band he founded and named. The concept of guitar weaving, which involves dual guitars playing both lead and rhythm/harmony lines in the same song, which became a fundamental part of The Rolling Stones sound and persists to the present day, was developed by Brian and Keith Richards in the band’s early days.
In is birth place of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, memorials of Brian (Lewis Hopkin) Jones now stand. The legacy he left behind, including an unknown number of offspring to either underage or at times married women, have for the most part been forgiven since his life came to an unfortunate end some 35 years ago. There could be no doubt of his place in the annals of popular music history, something the residents of Cheltenham clearly recognized. Though most commonly regarded as the founder of the Rolling Stones, it does Brian no justice to imprison his talent to such a singular event. Among select others, he was a representative of the sixties musical output as a whole. …
It is said that Brian was strongly against the idea of writing new material, and hoped the Stones would remain a blues ‘cover’ band as they were until late 1965. This was essentially Brian’s band at first, and many strongly believe that he played the role of promotional representative and co-manager for the first few years. It was Brian’s determination that brought the Stones to success so quickly. However, Mick was a talented writer and savvy businessman himself who’s cooperation with Keith Richards became a prized commodity. The simple fact that Mick attracted so much attention was enough to break such an emotional soul (as was Brian’s), but he found it more difficult to accept what was ever-increasingly clear … that the band was heading in the direction that his lead singer wanted and not his own. …
Though jobs of the other Stones were generally centralized to one or two roles, Brian’s role was not so simply defined. He was the band’s utility player on piano, guitar, harmonica (harp), drums, or whatever else was needed. At times, though more so in the earliest period, he had a strong hand in influencing the musical direction of the group. We witness a highlight in the sitar he introduced to the #1 single Paint It, Black. As Mick Jagger stated in his 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Brian “…often took us off our bluesy course, with at times marvelous results.” …
Brian had a close relationship with his fans and, to this day, many have fond memories of him beyond admiration of his musical talent. Though he may have tried, he failed to overcome his addictions until after he was forced to leave the Rolling Stones in 1969. His last full tour as a member was in 1966, after which he would only make few sporadic appearances, the final being the Rock and Roll Circus in December of 1968.
DISCOGRAPHY of ROLLING STONES ALBUMS THAT INCLUDED BRIAN JONES
- England’s Newest Hit Makers: The Rolling Stones
- 12 X 5
- The Rolling Stones, Now!
- Out of Our Heads
- December’s Children
- Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)
- Got Live If You Want It
- Between the Buttons
- Their Satanic Majesties Request
- Beggars Banquet
Rolling Stones founder, Rolling Stones reject; ruthless controller, helpless passenger; blues obsessive, dabbler in the exotic; countercultural networker, paranoid recluse; adored Prince Charming, vicious heartbreaker; ’60s legend, real life murder victim? Thirty years after his death, the twisted saga of Brian Jones. …
A complex and bewildering bunch of multiple personalities, a man who panhandled the Cheltenham Delta and then upped and left for London, where he conceived and founded the biggest rock’n’roll group of all time. A short guy with broad shoulders and a little Welsh-bull chest that tapered down to a skinny waist, a bum like two boiled eggs in a handkerchief, drainpipe legs and matching Achilles heels. How many contradictions can one frame take? …
A softly spoken, drinking, smoking, womanizing Narcissus with a psychosomatic condition (asthma). A strutting, intense egotist with a gentle, shy smile that played across his face whenever the TV camera lingered long enough. A musical purist blessed, or cursed, with pop star looks. Eulogized by many. “Brian Jones, with his puffed-up Pisces, all-knowing suffering fish eyes. Brian always ahead of style. Perfect Brian,” as Lou Reed put it in Fallen Knights And Fallen Ladies, his elegiac 1972 essay on rock deaths.
The whole ‘Is it a boy or is it a girl?’ thing starts with Brian Jones. He was the first heterosexual pop star to wear costume jewelry, off-stage and on. At the first of several drug-bust trials in 1967 he wore a navy blue Mod suit with bell-bottom trousers and flared jacket, large floppy blue-and-white spotted tie and Cuban-heeled shoes. As you do. “He was the definitive, quintessential pop star,” says Nick Kent. “He looked as good as any of the women in the ’60s like Verushka or Francoise Hardy or Nico. And he did it himself. He didn’t get a bunch of designers. It wasn’t ‘Brian Jones dressed by…’ It was self-presentation. That was his art.” …
He played bottleneck guitar and loved soprano saxophone – his big heroes were Sidney Bechet and Elmore James. He used to play harp quite well, too, which not many people did then.” Brian, with Alexis Korner’s blessing, eventually convinced Charlie Watts to join his fledgling outfit. “Brian saw in Charlie what he had in abundance and demanded from any musician: commitment and idealism,” Bill Wyman later noted.
It was Brian who placed a Musicians Wanted ad in Jazz News. It was Brian who auditioned future members, named the band after a Muddy Waters song, and assertively defended his callow crew when the purists gathered round to sneer. Not that Brian wasn’t a fundamentalist himself. His R&B was Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker. He had to be convinced, by Keith Richards, that Chuck Berry wasn’t just pop.
When the Stones toured with Bo Diddley the following year, such was Brian’s reverence that the band dropped their Bo Diddley covers. Like The Beatles, the Stones occasionally had to pretend they played trad just to get a gig. It was the changing of the guard culturally; the Stones just took that place. We had front-row seats and girls in the third row were threatening us with their stilettos. Backstage Brian was clearly the leader. The others were sulking around but Brian was smiling and talking to all the girls.”
The Rolling Stones’ self-appointed leader had the musical acumen to back up his promotional skills. He ‘worked out’ blues harp, ‘worked out’ slide, ‘worked out’ the Bo Diddley beat, and later the dulcimer and sitar like they were mere math equations.
“The first time I met Brian Jones was at a club in Great Newport Street in late 1964. The first impression I had was of somebody who was very together, yet as I got to know him I realized he was someone with personality flaws. He was capable of being very difficult, though when I first met him he couldn’t have been nicer. He was charming, extraordinarily good looking, vivacious – the most charismatic member of the band at that point, the star. Brian was very striking; he had that gorgeous blond hair, he had that pop star physique of broad shoulders but very small hips. He had a weakness for those wide-check trousers and roll-neck sweaters, quite a dandy. But it was also clear that he enjoyed the darker side of being in a pop group.
Back then, the experience of being in a band was very shared; this was a time when they had to grin and bear the rather crude backstage facilities and hotels. The routine was grueling. No one stood up as the funny man; no one was particularly the life and soul of the party. Mick was coming into his own; Keith was still in formation; Charlie had that cool East Coast jazz look to him; Bill was just Bill – there’s no other way to describe him.
When I toured America with them in 1965, I noticed he had a manipulative side – he maneuvered people into situations so they’d respond in such a way that would satisfy his paranoid idea of what everybody thought of him. He was quite unstable on occasions, and you never quite knew what you were going to get: nice Brian or nasty Brian. He could be quite cutting and sarcastic. As time went on, it got worse and that dual personality became even more pronounced. He was becoming more experimental in his attitude to drugs, and harder and harder to handle. He was so out of it sometimes he couldn’t play or he had to be propped up in the studio. Sometimes he collapsed – it was quite tragic. …
There are some shots in my book of Brian’s flat in South Kensington. It was littered with piles of clothes and books. There was a mural on his wall, which pictured an unnamed tombstone; Marianne Faithfull says in her book that everybody knew that tombstone was Brian’s. The other picture shows his rather Gothic mantelpiece with all the awards on it; it was a bourgeois, rather normal thing to have. That summed up Brian, really. On one hand the ordinary, elegant middle-class young man, and the other the dark, wild, unfathomable, extraordinary person. …
At the end, Brian just became unreliable. He was getting more into drugs and alcohol. He had his little entourage – Tom Keylock, the Stones’ driver, who always poured him into the back of the Rolls and took him home at the end of the night; then there was Anita plus other, more sycophantic hangers-on. It wasn’t a case that he was ousted from the band, it was a practical thing of them having to rely on others to do his job. I never sensed that the others ganged up on him. I never saw that. The last time I saw him? Possibly the Ad Lib club in 1968 – I don’t have any vivid recollections. I don’t think I even went up and talked to him. Ultimately, Brian’s death in ’69 was a waste of genuine talent.”
Brian’s interest in music began to show at a very young age. At around six or seven Brian started piano lessons and later at the age of twelve while attending Pates Grammer School, Brian joined the school orchestra and learned clarinet. Years later, reflecting on his early interest in music Brian said “Musically, I was guided by my parents. Later, there were several piano teachers in Cheltenham. I struggled to get the notes right early on, but eventually I found I had a feel for music. I guess I knew that I was going to be interested in music early on-and that was because I quite honestly didn’t feel much of an urge to do anything else.” …
While growing up in Cheltenham, Brian had very few friends. His rebel attitude and obsession with music seemed to make Brian somewhat of a loner or outcast with other kids his age. Pat Andrews, his former girlfriend from Cheltenham remembers “A lot of people didn’t understand him, that’s mainly it, not because he wasn’t a friendly person, they just didn’t understand him.” Brian listened to a wide range of music while growing up from traditional Jazz and Country music, to the music he loved most, the American Blues. His musical idols were jazz saxophonist Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker, American Country singer Johnny Cash and American bluesman Elmore James as well as many others. In his teens Brian began taking music more seriously by performing with a local band from Cheltenham called The Ramrods in which he played saxophone. …
The Rolling Stones would start their first ever British tour on September 29th. During the tour they would be the opening act for The Everly Brothers, Little Richard and one of their idols…Bo Diddley. While on tour the group would go into De Lane Lea Recording Studios to record a follow up single to “Come On”. Once again the band would receive help from old friends John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The result was a fast and exciting number featuring Brian on slide guitar of a recently penned Lennon/McCartney song titled “I Wanna Be Your Man”. The song featured Brian playing brilliant slide guitar giving the song more of an Elmore James bluesy sound. The song would peak at number 11 on the British charts giving the Stones’ their biggest hit to date.
In early 1964, The Rolling Stones released their third single in the U.K., a version of the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away”. The single would do even better than their second, peaking at number 3 on the U.K. charts. Again, it was Brian who would give the song a more bluesy sound by adding a harmonica, making the song slightly different from the original Buddy Holly version.
Over the next six years The Rolling Stones would rise to world fame. Their records would sell millions and their concert tours would become sellouts. Brian’s musical genius would continue to flourish, as he would go on to play countless instruments on their records making him one of the most versatile musicians Rock and Roll would ever see. The Rolling Stones rise to fame became very controversial during the 1960’s. Their music, appearance and rebellious attitude would be the center of much criticism making them one of the most loved and hated groups of the time.
At the funeral service for Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, the stiff-backed English preacher was caustic. Speaking of the deceased in the eulogy, Canon Hugh Evan Hopkins said, “He had little patience with authority, convention and tradition. In this he was typical of many of his generation who have come to see in the Stones an expression of their whole attitude to life. Much that this ancient church has stood for in 900 years seems totally irrelevant to them.” The canon was indicting the young man in the solid bronze casket for all the sins and excesses of his generation. But this was 1969, and the youth culture had plenty of excesses to cluck at—marijuana, hallucinogens, free sex, loud music, colorful and outlandish fashion, “flower power,” the automatic rejection of the status quo and a compulsive need for change.
“Sex, drugs, and rock and roll” was the mantra of the era, and the late Brian Jones, founding member of the Rolling Stones, had indulged—and overindulged—in all three. …
On the night of his death, Jones had been drinking wine and taking downers. Some suggested that he might have taken his own life, but those closest to him said he had no reason to commit suicide. Even though he had been officially ejected from the Stones several months earlier, Jones was reportedly getting over it and was planning new musical projects on his own. According to the coroner’s report, Jones was the victim of “death by misadventure,” an accidental drowning precipitated by drug and alcohol abuse. But as time passed, rumors gained momentum that Jones had been murdered. Inconsistencies in the accounts of that evening were gradually uncovered. A deathbed confession by the alleged killer was squelched by a loyal Stones’ retainer. More than 30 years later, suspicions persist. …
Notably absent that day were lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, and Richards’ girlfriend, model and actress Anita Pallenberg. Two years earlier the pretty blonde had been Brian Jones’ companion before Richards “rescued” her from Jones. The emotional scars of that breakup would never fade completely, but Jones had finally accepted Pallenberg’s defection and found other girlfriends. And though relations were often tense in the last years of Jones’ life, he was still on speaking terms with Pallenberg and his old bandmates. Professionally the Stones were doing well, and Richards and Pallenberg were in love. Jones had been a mess personally, but he was getting back on track, settling in with a new woman and exploring new musical opportunities. So why did Jagger, Richards and Pallenberg stay away from their poor old friend’s funeral?
Brian Jones died on 3 July 1969. He was found floating in his swimming pool at his home, Cotchford Farm, Sussex. The coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure, taking into account the amount of drink and drugs in his system, but there are many questions to be asked surrounding the exact circumstances of Brian’s last moments. The many theories of murder mostly revolve around the many people who were at Brian’s home that night, and whose police statements all clash and contradict one another. These theories carry a lot of weight and there seems to be too much proof to be just rumors. …
As a tribute to Brian, only two days after his death, the pre-planned free concert at Hyde Park in London by his former band the Rolling Stones went ahead. As Mick took the microphone, he asked for silence, then went on to read from Shelley’s ‘Adonis’:
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep-
He hath awakened from the dream of life-
‘Tis we, who, lost in the stormy visions keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings.-We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.
The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments.-Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!-Rome’s azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting words to speak.
Perhaps the saddest thing about Brian’s death was the fact that he’d cleaned up his act and was ready to deliver his best music yet- he had given up drugs completely and was in the middle of starting his solo career; he had already demoed a first single, and had arranged auditions for his own group for the 4th of July. The man they called the Golden Stone died with his creative potential unfulfilled but, unlike so many other casualties from his generation, he’s not forgotten.
Brian Jones was a friend of mine in the early Who years. We first met the Stones when we were still called The Detours, before Keith Moon joined the band. I spoke about Mick Jagger’s effect on me on a VH1 plug-clip recently; he really was quite beautiful and erotic, even to men, I think. Brian by contrast looked like a pretty sheepdog. His stage movements were confined to an urgent head-thrust like a strutting cockerel. But the Mod girls in the audience (pretending to like short haired Mod style, but really wanting teddy bears in bed) screamed more at him than Mick.
He played very well, I thought, and played harmonica, too, in a slightly more country style than Mick. On Last Time it was his guitar that repeated the intoxicating riff-catch. He was musical, almost musicologist, in nature and loved to talk about music.
We hung out a lot from about 1964 to 1966. Part of the time he was seeing Anita Pallenberg. She was a stunning creature. I mean literally stunning. It was quite hard to maintain one’s gaze. One time in Paris I remember they took some drug and were so sexually stimulated they could hardly wait for me to leave the room before starting to shag. I felt Brian was living on a higher planet of decadence than anyone I would ever meet.
Brian and I used to go to a club called Scotch of St. James. Everyone hung out there. We were together when we first heard I Got You Babe. Brian was really excited and enthused by it. He loved pop music as well as R&B; that appealed to me. I hated snobbery, even though I’m sad to say I later became rather snobbish about pop versus rock. Alongside the gems there was so much utter shit in the charts at the time. I wanted to make a distinction. We sat together to watch Stevie Wonder’s first UK show. Stevie was so excited he fell off the stage. Brian never offered me drugs. I didn’t use them, and he didn’t press me. I was not seeing my girlfriend much at the time. Had I been, he may have hit on her and I would hate him, but in fact he was always very kind to me. Very encouraging of my writing. He loved my first Who song, Can’t Explain.
When we played The Rolling Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus I was very upset about Brian’s condition. I was upset at Keith Richards’ green complexion, too, but he seemed in good spirits. Brian was defeated. I took Mick and Keith aside and they were quite frank about it all; they said Brian had ceased to function, they were afraid he would slip away. They certainly were not hard nosed about him. But they were determined not to let him drag them down, that was clear. Brian certainly slipped away that evening. He died soon after.
I was melodramatically upset when he died. He was the first friend of mine that had ever died. He was the first person I knew well in my business that died. It seemed to me to be a portent and thus it proved to be. I wrote a really crap song for him, Normal Day For Brian. He deserved better and one day he will get it. …
I told Jim Morrison he was turning into a fat drunk in1971. I could tell from his stunned expression that until then no-one had indicated they might even care. A little while before he died Jimi Hendrix told me he owed me a lot. (He meant with respect to the guidance I gave him on what amplifiers to use when he first came to London, but perhaps too for my unadulterated support.) These people were my friends. Brian was a pleasant and quite well-educated fellow. Really.
The group played at local blues and jazz clubs, garnering fans in spite of resistance from traditional jazz musicians who felt threatened by their popularity. While Jagger was lead singer, Jones, in the group’s embryonic period, was the leader—promoting the band, landing gigs, and negotiating with venue owners. Jones played guitar and harmonica, and during performances, especially at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, he proved to be a more lively and engaging performer than even Jagger. Jagger initially stood still while singing—partly by necessity, as their early stages hardly provided enough room to move. …
In June 1967, Jones attended the Monterey Pop Festival, with singer Nico, with whom he had a brief relationship. There he met Frank Zappa and Dennis Hopper, and went on stage to introduce the Jimi Hendrix Experience, then unknown in the US. One review referred to Jones as “the unofficial ‘king’ of the festival.” …
Jones’s main guitar in the early years was a Harmony Stratotone, which he replaced with a Gretsch Double Anniversary in two-tone green. In 1964 and 1965 he often used a teardrop-shaped prototype Vox Mark VI. From late 1965 until his death, Jones used Gibson models (various Firebirds, ES-330, and a Les Paul model), as well as two Rickenbacker 12-string models. He can also be seen playing a Fender Telecaster in the 1968 “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” promo video.
From 1966 onwards Jones’s contributions in the recording studio were more as a multi-instrumentalist than as a guitarist. His aptitude for playing a wide variety of instruments is particularly evident on the albums Aftermath (1966), Between the Buttons (1967) and Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).
Examples of Jones’ Slide Guitar can be heard on
- “I Wanna Be Your Man” (1963)
- “I’m a King Bee” (1964)
- “Little Red Rooster” (1964)
- “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (1965)
- “I’m Movin’ On” (1965)
- “Doncha Bother Me” (1966)
- “No Expectations” (1968)
Jones played harmonica on many of the Rolling Stones’ early songs.
- “Stoned” (1963),
- “Not Fade Away” (1964),
- “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (1964)
- “Now I’ve Got A Witness” (1964),
- “Good Times, Bad Times” (1964),
- “2120 South Michigan Avenue” (1964),
- “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man” and “One More Try” (1965)
- “High and Dry” and “Goin’ Home” (1966),
- “Who’s Driving Your Plane?” (1966),
- “Cool Calm and Collected” and “Who’s Been Sleeping Here” (1967)
- “Dear Doctor” and “Prodigal Son” (1968)
Jones can also be heard playing
- Sitar on “Street Fighting Man” and “Paint It, Black”;
- Organ on “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Complicated,” and “2000 Man”;
- Marimba on “Under My Thumb,” “Out Of Time” and “Yesterday’s Papers”;
- Recorder on “Ruby Tuesday” and “All Sold Out”;
- Trumpet on “Child of the Moon”;
- Appalachian dulcimer on “I Am Waiting” and “Lady Jane”
- Harpsichord on “Lady Jane”;
- Accordion on “Backstreet Girl”;
- Saxophone and Oboe on “Dandelion”;
- Mellotron on “She’s a Rainbow, “We Love You, “Stray Cat Blues, and “2000 Light Years from Home”
- Autoharp on “You Got the Silver” – for his final recording as a Rolling Stone.
In the early years, Jones also sometimes served as a backing vocalist. Notable examples are “Come On”, “I Wanna Be Your Man”, “I Just Wanna Make Love to You”, “Walking the Dog”, “Money (That’s What I Want)”, “I’m Alright,” “You Better Move On” and “It’s All Over Now”.
As tensions and Jones’s substance use increased, his musical contributions became sporadic. He became bored with the guitar and sought exotic instruments to play, and he was increasingly absent from recording sessions. However, Jones maintained close relationships with many performing artists outside of the Stones camp, including Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding, Eric Burdon and Steve Marriott. …
Several songs have been written about Jones:
- The Doors’ song “Tightrope Ride” was originally written for Jones by Morrison, but after Morrison’s death Ray Manzarek rewrote some of the lyrics so that they apply to both musicians.
- The Psychic TV song “Godstar” is about Jones’s death, as are
- Robyn Hitchcock’s “Trash”,
- The Drovers’ “She’s as Pretty as Brian Jones Was”
- Ted Nugent’s “Death by Misadventure”.
- Toy Love’s song “Swimming Pool” lists several dead rock icons including Jones (the others are Morrison, Hendrix, and Marc Bolan);
- He is also mentioned in De Phazz’s song “Something Special”.
- The 2005 film Stoned is a fictional account of Jones and his role in the Rolling Stones. The part of Brian was played by British actor Leo Gregory.
QUOTES BY BRIAN JONES
We knew all along, you see. The blues was real. We only had to persuade people to listen to the music, and they couldn’t help but be turned on to all those great old blues cats. I’d been through the jazz scene, and I knew that it had to die because it was so full of crap and phony musicians who could hardly play their instruments. And Keith knew a bit about the ordinary pop scene, so he knew what a lot of rubbish that was. We didn’t like being hard-up, but we put up with it because it was the price we had to pay to play decent music. Plus we were beginning to sense that more and more people were getting sick of traditional jazz, and they were looking around for something that was different – and we all knew that something was us. – Brian Jones
Our generation is growing up with us and they believe in the same things we do… Our real followers have moved with us – some of those we like most are the hippies in New York, but nearly all of them think like us and are questioning some of the basic immoralities which are tolerated in present day society – the war in Vietnam, persecution of homosexuals, illegality of abortion, drug-taking. All these things are immoral. We are making our own statement – others are making more intellectual ones…. We believe there can be no evolution without revolution. I realize there are other inequalities – the ratio between affluence and reward for work done is all wrong. I know I earn too much but I’m still young and there’s something spiteful inside me which makes me want to hold on to what I’ve got. I believe we are moving on to a new age in ideas and events. We are soon to begin the Age of Aquarius, and a young revolution in thought and manner is about to take place. – Brian Jones.
QUOTES ABOUT BRIAN JONES (BY HIS BAND MATES)
Brian was… enthusiastic, insightful, intelligent, and a good musician with a very nice side to him. But I don’t think he was really cut out to be famous. He hated to be misquoted in the papers, for instance, and all those things you have to get used to if you want to be famous, which he did. When he became famous, he realized he didn’t like it, but by then it was really too late. – Mick Jagger, 1983
No, I don’t really. I do feel that I behaved in a very childish way, but we were very young, and in some ways we picked on him. But, unfortunately, he made himself a target for it; he was very, very jealous, very difficult, very manipulative, and if you do that in this kind of a group of people, you get back as good as you give, to be honest. I wasn’t understanding enough about his drug addiction. No one seemed to know much about drug addiction. Things like LSD were all new. No one knew the harm. People thought cocaine was good for you. – Mick Jagger (when asked if he felt guilty about Jones’ death in 1995.)
The thing about Brian is that he was an extremely difficult person. You don’t really feel like talking bad about someone that’s had such a miserable time. But he did give everyone else an extremely miserable ride. Anyway, there was something very, very disturbed about him. He was very unhappy with life, very frustrated. He was very talented, but he was a very paranoid personality and not at all suited to be in show business (laughs). – Mick Jagger
Such a beautiful cat, man. He was one of those people who are so beautiful in one way, and such an asshole in another. Brian, how could you do that to me, man? It was like that. – Keith Richards, 1971
Mick and I being songwriters affected Brian a lot. It took Brian a long time to come to terms with that because it was very early on. After that he never regained any sort of status. He lost more and more interest as he went along. It got to the point where we were going in the studio and Brian had to play or learn a song that Mick and I had written. That would bring him down more and more. Brian’s only solution became clinging to either Mick or me, which created a triangle of sorts. It was like Brian’s open wound. Eventually, though, he became a sort of laughingstock to the rest of the band. – Keith Richards, 1979
Brian’s trouble wasn’t musical. There was something in him that meant that if things were going well, he’d make sure it screwed up. I know the feeling: there’s a demon in me, but I only own up to having ONE of them; Brian probably had 45 more. With Brian it was all self-consuming pride. If we’d been living in another century I’d have been having a duel with the motherfucker every single day. He would stand on his little hind legs about some piece of bullshit and turn it into a big deal – You didn’t smile at me today – and then he started to get so stoned, he became something you just sat in the corner. – Keith Richards, 2003
Brian wanted to be a pop star the minute he saw the Beatles. He got left behind in the crush and someone asked him for his autograph… Success went to Brian’s head immediately. And the more successful we became, the more he thought it interfered with his compatibility with the band, the more he thought he was involved in a competition with me and Mick. – Keith Richards
There are some people who you know aren’t going to get old. Brian and I agreed that he, Brian, wouldn’t live very long… I remember saying, You’ll never make 30, man, and he said, I know. – Keith Richards
He got much nicer just before he died, the last few years of his life, but I felt even sorrier for him for what we did to him then. We took his one thing away, which was being in a band, I felt. – Charlie Watts, 1989
Brian was the leader of the band, but he had this obsession about educating Britain about the blues. Brian was very popular with the fans, but Mick became recognized as the front man. Brian really couldn’t handle that, and it just went from bad to worse. – Bill Wyman, 1979
Brian was the inventor and inspiration of the Rolling Stones. The band would not have existed without him. He never received that proper credit during his life. – Bill Wyman.
He was one of those people that are a bit of a hypochondriac and also a bit of a worrier. He was highly intelligent, very articulate. But he was sort of on the edge all the time. He could be the sweetest, softest, most considerate man in the world and the nastiest piece of work you’ve ever met. Opposites all the time. He’d flit from one to the other. He wouldn’t give a shit for anything and then he’d worry about the slightest detail. – Bill Wyman
QUOTES ABOUT BRIAN JONES (BY HIS FRIENDS)
“He radiated sunshine, but you could see that he had all the problems of the world on his shoulders. There was such an ugliness there as well as the beauty.” Shirley Arnold.
“When Brian was off-stage it did seem to me as if he had difficulty coping with the real world. But it’s something I myself had similar problems with later on. Brian also though seemed to have the additional problem of being slightly schizophrenic. But then who wouldn’t be in that band. Having said that, Brian was still easily the star of the Rolling Stones.” Ray Davies.
“It was a really terrible thing they did to Brian. They had a lot of other options than to sack him as cruelly as that. That took away whatever last reserves Brian had. It was Mick being the Godfather.” John Dunbar.
When I met him I liked him quite a lot. He was a good fellow, you know. I got to know him very well, I think, and I felt very close to him; you know how it is with some people, you feel for them, feel near to them. He was born on February 28, 1942, and I was born on February 25, 1943, and he was with Mick and Keith and I was with John and Paul in the groups, so there was a sort of understanding between the two of us. The positions were similar, and I often seemed to meet him in his times of trouble. There was nothing the matter with him that a little extra love wouldn’t have cured. I don’t think he had enough love or understanding. He was very nice and sincere and sensitive, and we must remember that’s what he was. – George Harrison
“Up to a certain point, Brian was a perfectly normal, conventional boy who was well behaved and well liked. He did his studies. He was quite a model school boy. Then came this peculiar change in his early teens. He began to have some resentment of authority. He seemed to have first a mild rebellion which unfortunately became stronger as he grew older.” … “For many years from the formation of the Stones, up to the end of 1966, Brian was extremely happy. What I firmly believe was the turning point in Brian’s life was when he lost the only girl he ever truly loved. He changed suddenly and alarmingly from a bright enthusiastic young man to a quiet, morose, and inward-looking young man. His mother and I were quite shocked by the change in his appearance, and in our opinion, he was never the same boy again. It was at that time I think that he got mixed up with drugs perhaps, if indeed he was.” Lewis Jones (father)
At the start of the Stones it was Brian who was the monster head. Brian was incredibly aggressive in performance. By then his hair was pretty long, and he had what was almost a permanent pout, crossed with a leer, and he used to look incredibly randy most of the time. He used to jump forward with the tambourine and smash it in your face and sneer at you at the same time. – Alexis Korner
He was different over the years as he disintegrated. He ended up the kind of guy that you dread he’d come on the phone, you know, because you knew it was trouble. He was really in a lot of pain. But in the early days he was all right, because he was young and confident. He was one of them guys that disintegrated in front of you. And he was all right, and he wasn’t sort of brilliant or anything, he was just a nice guy. – John Lennon, 1970
“At first Brian was the most interesting Stone, but he changed over the years as he disintegrated. He ended up the kind of guy that you dread when he would come on the phone because you knew it was trouble. He was really in a lot of pain. In the early days he was all right because he was young and confident. He was one of them guys that disintegrated in front of you.” John Lennon.
I fell in love with Brian – in love all the way. He was a great guy, you know. Talented, funny, and with the instant quality of Let’s do it. Let’s try anything. – Anita Pallenberg
He was quite a bully, you know? Like small guys are. He’s a small guy, like when he got drunk, like what he would do if he felt threatened – that’s when I knew trouble was coming – break a bottle on the table edge and put the glass in his pocket. – Anita Pallenberg
“Brian was very moody, which I like, and he was physically attractive as well – he looked kind of like a girl in a funny kind of way; sexually I like girls as well as men and Brian seemed to combine both sexes for me. At the same time, he was funny as well. He had a great sense of humor – how could I not love a man who could make me laugh? Also, Brian was very outspoken, blunt, said everything on his mind, outrageous things, and he had a wonderful curiosity – curious about new things, new places, wanted to know everything that was going on, wanted to meet new people, new ideas, learn the new dances.” Anita Pallenberg.
“I liked Brian and trusted him. You could feel that he had a lot of creativity. He was a poet, an enfant terrible it’s true, but he was very much in touch with his time and he was also very much in love with Anita, the only actress in the movie – and its soul. She was bound to inspire him, if he was to write the music for her. Brian was extremely likeable. He really was! Yet he wouldn’t often allow you to like him. Strangely at times he’d rather challenge you, provoke you. There was also something definitely devilish about Brian. He’d sense your weakness with incredible intuition and, if the mood took him, he’d exploit it. On the other hand, he could turn around and be incredibly nice to you. I liked Brian, but he was a complicated guy. It must’ve been hard.” Volker Schlondorff.
“He seems never to have been able to find himself, he had a lost quality, not knowing what he wanted to do, or unable to express some part of himself. He was actually quite a nice person who didn’t want people to think he was nice. He wanted to be known as an evil character, but he wasn’t really, and the end result of it was he just had to be so off to everybody.” Ian Stewart.
“Brian should have been put in a straitjacket and treated. I used to know Brian quite well. The Stones have always been a group I really dug. Dug all the dodgy aspects of them as well, and Brian Jones has always been what I’ve regarded as one of the dodgy aspects. The way he fitted in and the way he didn’t was one of the strong dynamics of the group. When he stopped playing with them, I thought that dynamic was going to be missing, but it still seems to be there. Perhaps the fact that he’s dead has made that dynamic kind of permanent. A little bit of love might have sorted him out. I don’t think his death was necessarily a bad thing for Brian. I think he’ll do better next time. I believe in reincarnation.” Pete Townshend.
I’m a resident of a city
They’ve just picked me to play
the Prince of Denmark
All those ghosts he never saw
Floating to doom
On an iron candle
Come back, brave warrior
Do the dive
On another channel
Hot buttered pool
Under the falls
the wild storm
where savages fell out
in late afternoon
monsters of rhythm
You’ve left your
to compete w/
I hope you went out
Like a child
Into the cool remnant
of a dream
The angel man
w/ Serpents competing
for his palms
The diving board, the plunge
You were a fighter
a damask musky muse
You were the bleached
for TV afternoon
maverick of a yellow spot
Look now to where it’s got
in meat heaven
w/ the cannibals
The body, rampant, Floating
What is this green pale stuff
You’re made of
Poke holes in the goddess
Will he Stink
Thru the halls
Requiem for a heavy
That porky satyr’s leer
has leaped upward
into the loam