Brian Jones

This brilliant, multi-talented musician who attempted - albeit unsuccessfully - to juggle heavy drug use with his musical output, died under questionable circumstances on the 3rd of July, 1969. Instead of a chronological setting with the inevitable ending, I have collected images and information which sway freely to and from the early moments of his career and the end of his physical life.

Born on February the 28th, 1942 to Lewis and Louisa in a small town some 120 miles out of London, Brian Jones would live all but 27 years. He met his end at the bottom of a swimming pool at his Cotchford Farm home (once owned by famed "Winnie the Pooh" author A. A. Milne.)

Allegations of murder have surfaced since that fateful day, among them unfounded accusations towards any one of three or more laborers whom were working on Brian's home at the time; rumors that we will not dignify by naming the individuals involved. Despite a report years later of a 'death-bed confession', it will not be discussed here in detail. A great talent in the midst of recovery from drug and alcohol dependency was lost, and though it is easy to jump to conclusions about the circumstances surrounding his demise, we respectfully decline to do so. It is of course also important to discover the truth. And if it is other than what is known, we hope it will be revealed.


Sad Day
The unflattering photo featured
in NYC papers following his death.

Erected in his birth place of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, memorials of Brian (Lewis Hopkin) Jones now stand. On 3 July, 2005, A bust of his likeness was unveiled much to the dismay of many residents whom remember him more for his troubles than his accomplishments. Funds for this memorial were raised by The Brian Jones Fan Club from sales of original pool tiles removed during renovations in 2000 and donated by the owners of Cotchford Farm. Local papers ran headlines criticizing the memorial. It can be found at the Beechwood Shopping Centre, Cheltenham. It may still serve as a token of some pride as he is gazed upon as one of their own who made a name for himself to the world abroad.
The legacy he left behind, including an unknown number of
offspring to either underage or married women, have for the most part been forgiven since his life came to an unfortunate end. 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.

1942-66: The Rise of a Musical Visionary... words from a proud father, Lewis Jones.

"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."

1966-69: The Decline and Fall of a Rollin' Stone.

"There were signs towards the end of his life when I would come down and see him that he was beginning to settle and he appeared calmer and he was becoming more outward looking. I feel if fate had been a little more kinder to him that he would have built up a life again with maybe a different kind of music and a different kind of group."


©Philip Townsend
Brian strikes a leader's pose in 1963.

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 sometime in 1965. This was essentially Brian's band at first, and many strongly believe that he played the role of key representative and co-manager for the first few years. It was Brian's determination that brought the Stones success so quickly. However, Mick [Jagger] was a talented writer and savvy businessman himself whose 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, but he found it more difficult to accept what was ever-increasingly clear. The band was heading in a direction other than what he desired.


Better days on tour with the Stones in 1964.
(Jones, Wyman, Watts, Jagger, Stewart, and Richards from left)

Brian gained the respect of many fellow musicians throughout his short career. He can be heard playing with The Beatles on two of their songs. Baby You're A Rich Man, the b-side to All You Need is Love, featured Brian on oboe. In 1970, another collaboration would be released as the b-side to Let it Be, as Brian provided saxophone to You Know My Name (look up the number) on 8 June, 1967.

Though the other Stones were generally known for certain roles within the band, Brian was never so simply defined. He was the band's utility player on nearly any needed instrument. At times, though more so in the earliest period, he had a strong hand in influencing the musical direction of the group. We are witness to many such highlights, such as 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."

 

[1967] Among Jones' last stage performances with the Stones.


Brian digs for buried treasure as Hendrix is left to ponder.

Brian Jones never released music as a solo artist. A project (completed posthumously in 1971) bearing his name was not of his own work. Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was little noticed, but the inclusion of his name in the title did help to have the obscure Moroccan musical form recognized at a broader level. He played no part in the recordings, other than as a co-producer. It has been told that Moroccan artists to this day pay tribute to Brian in song.

<Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.

Between 1966 and '67, Brian wrote and recorded the score to the rarely seen film, Mord und Todschlag (A Degree of Murder). Though he played the majority of instruments, he was joined by guitarist Jimmy Page, pianist Nicky Hopkins, and Small Faces drummer, Kenney Jones. The soundtrack has yet to see an official release. The film itself is scarcely seen. Only the occasional screening at small independent theatres or public television broadcasts are known to have shown this film.

Though he may have tried, Brian failed to overcome his addictions until after he was forced to leave the Rolling Stones in 1969. His struggles became increasingly evident by the 1967 European tour, after which he would only make few, sporadic live appearances. The Stones wished to tour North America in 1969 in support of Beggar's Banquet, but Brian was emotionally, physically, and legally restrained. His final live performance would be on the Rock and Roll Circus television special filmed on 11 December, 1968. As described by fellow Stones' members, he had become a ball and chain by 1967. After much conflict and consideration, it was obvious that the band could not afford to have him appear at gigs and recording sessions only to be unable to function. His final musical output with the band was released on the 1969 Let it Bleed album.

Brian's Legacy in the Flesh:


Julian Mark

Brian was a first-time father at the age of 16. Though details regarding the true lineage of other children have come into question, he is known to have fathered at least five (5) children.

1959 (m?/d?) - Simon (originally Barry David), son born to 14-year-old student Valerie Corbett. The baby would later be adopted.
1960 (Aug. 4) - unknown, daughter born to a married Cheltenham woman.
1961 (Oct. 22) - Julian Mark, son born to Pat Andrews.
1964 (Jul. 23) -
Julian Brian, son born to Linda Lawrence.
1965 (Mar. 24) - John (Paul Andrew), son born to Dawn Molloy, later adopted.
Read our 2005 Dawn Molloy Interview here.

Legend has it that Brian requested of each mother that if the child was a boy, he be named Julian. Brian was an avid admirer of Jazz great Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.


Portion of a 1965 UK Fan Club letter response.

<His last professional photo ©Michael Cooper.
Original news article from 1969.

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 miniskirted 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."
Hopkins also offered prayers for Marianne
Faithfull, ill in an Australian hospital. Her close
friend, singer Mick Jagger, in Australia with
her to make a film, was the only Rolling Stone
not present. Mick Taylor, who recently took
Jones' place in the group, was there with Keith
Richard, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.

 


July 5, 1969, Hyde Park, London

 

Brian Jones 1942-69

When this you see, remember me

and bear me in your mind

Let all the world say what they may,

speak of me as you find

 

 

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