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Brian Jones

Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969) was a British musician and one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones. Jones was known for his use of multiple instruments, (most notably the sitar, and the electric mandolin) rebel image, and tragic death at the age of 27.

Early Days Edit

Brian was born at the Park Nursing Home in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom on February 28, 1942. His parents were Lewis Blount Jones, and Louisa Beatrice Jones. His mother, Louisa, played piano, and his dad, Lewis, also played piano, and organ. Lewis worked as an aeronautical engineer, and Louisa stayed at home. Brian started clarinet in 1956, at age 14. In 1957, at age 15, Brian's parents bought him a saxophone, because of his interest in jazz at the time. Two years later, in 1959, Brian got his first guitar as a 17th birthday present. From 1949 to 1953, Brian attended Dean Close School, then swtiched to Cheltenham Grammar School For Boys from '53-'59 after passing a special exam. He was very good in school, and got high grades all the time. After school, Brian lived in Scandinavia for a summer, supposedly taking on a 'bohemian' lifestyle. He had a passion for blues music, and after returning to England in late 1959, Brian stayed at a hotel in Guildford, and saw a blues band play.

Forming the Stones Edit

Jones wanted to form a band. In 1962, he put an ad in a jazz newspaper, inviting people to jaudition for his new R&B group. A piano player, Ian Stewart, was the first to request an audition (he would later be fired from the main lineup, but still played occasional piano for the band, and became their road manager). Singer Mick Jagger was the second. Keith Richards joined, a friend of Mick, joined 3rd. They didn't have any name until one night, Brian was trying to schedule a performance over the phone. The owner asked "What are you called?". According to Keith Richards, the first thing Brian saw after the question was asked was a Muddy Waters LP on the floor, with a song on it called "Rollin' Stone Blues". Brian used the The Rollin' Stones for their name. The "G" in rolling was added later. Between 1962 and 1963, the Rollin' Stones did various gigs with various drummers and bassists unti they invited Bill Wyman to play bass for them in late 1962. In January 1963, Charlie Watts, a known drummer in London, was persuaded to join, also.

Musical contributions Edit

Brian played slide guitar on Rolling Stones songs such as "I Wanna Be Your Man", from 1964, and "No Expectations", 1968. He also played the indian classical instrument, the sitar, on "Street Fighting Man" from 1968, and "Paint It, Black", 1966. He also played organ, marimba, recorder, saxophone, oboe, harpsicord, Mellotron, autoharp, kazoo, accordion, and theremin on many of the Stones' songs.

Seperating from the Stones Edit

Starting in about 1967, Jones was getting depressed. He was tired of money, fame, and tours. With the arrival of Andrew Loog Oldham as the Stones' manager, Brian couldn't manage the band himself any more. Oldham also wanted the live performances of the group to focus more on Jagger than on the rest of the band. This made Jones feel further estranged. The band's live sets had more Jagger/Richards songs than blues covers, which is what Brian prefered. Brian got into LSD, pills, weed, (marijuana) and became an alcoholic. He didn't do much for the Stones betweeen 1967-69. Anita Pallenberg, in 1967 after she left him for Keith Richards. This made him further depressed, and hostility grew between Jagger, Jones, and Richards. In 1968 Jones' drug and alcohol use, and mood swings were getting too bad. His last public performance with the Stones was in December 1968, while they filmed Rock and Roll Circus. Many in the audience knew his days with the Stones were limited. He had to be dragged down to recording sessions, could rarely sit through one without being drunk or high, and almost never showed up for them. Keith Richards himself said Brian knew he was getting fired sooner or later. On June 8, 1969, it finally happened. The Stones wanted to tour the US again, but with Jones' problems, it just wasn't possible. Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor, a 20-year old from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He lived on his farm in Sussex, from the time he was fired, to his death. Most friends who saw him at that time said he was happier than ever, and doing fine. Reportedly, he had stopped doing hard drugs, and was considering starting up another band with himself and some friends.

Death Edit

On the night of July 2-3, 1969, Brian was discovered dead and drowned in the pool at his farm. Anna Wohlin, said he was alive when they removed him, and that he still had a pulse. But when the paramedics arrived, it was already too late. He was pronounced dead, with the official cause of death, 'Death by misadventure'. Some think he was murdered, because a builder present, Frank Thoorgood, who was the last to see Brian alive, allegedly confessed to murdering Brian on his deathbed to the Rolling Stones' driver. The driver later denied this happening. Others have also claimed to have witnessed the so-called 'murder'. However, there is not enough evidence to re-open the case.

The last known photos of Brian, taken in mid-June 1969 at AA Milne's former farm, Cotchford.

Other contributions & drug arrests Edit

In 1966, Jones wrote the soundtrack for a German movie, Mord und Totschlag, Anita Pallenberg. In 1968 he went to Morocco, and a friend showed him the Master Musicians of Jajouka there. He recorded them and Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (misspelled) was released after his death, in 1971. He also played alto-sax on the Beatles' 1969 single 'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)'. Brian was arrested for drug use two times, the first on May 10, 1967, when he pleaded guilty to marijuana use. He got fined and put on probation. He also started seeing a counselor. The second time was on May 21, 1968, for marijuana possession again. He was fined £155.

Legacy Edit

Brian was a fashion icon. Young people took after his cool 'mod' style. In the early days, he played a cheap Harmony guitar. Later he played a teardrop-style Vox electric guitar. Afterwards he used various Rickenbacker 12-strings, and Gibsons, (mostly a number of Firebird V's).

He was known for walking on purpose in crowded areas until girls started chasing him, when he would run for his life.

Brian's death at 27 puts him in the famous 27 Club, along with other famous musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison of the Doors, and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

References Edit

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