Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Brian Jones

On 28/02/1942: Brian Jones was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. His full birth name was Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones. Brian's mother was a piano teacher. Brian played the piano as well as the organ and led the choir at the local church. In 1957, Jones first heard Cannonball Adderley's music which inspired his interest in jazz. His parents gave him a saxophone and two years later gave him his first acoustic guitar for his 17th birthday.
In 1959, Jone's girlfriend Valerie Corbett became pregnant. She gave birth and gave him up for adoption. Jones quit school in disgrace and left home. He travelled through Northern Europe and Scandinavia living a bohemian lifestyle and busking with a guitar. When he ran short of money he returned to England. In November 1959, Jones met a married woman called Angeline who he had a one-night stand with. Jones was unaware that she became pregnant and gave birth to a girl who she raised with her husband.
In 1961, Jones applied for a scholarship to Cheltenham Art College. He was accepted to the programme but two days later the offer was withdrawn when an unknown acquaintance wrote to the college describing Jones as an irresponsible drifter. In October, Jone's girlfriend Pat Andrews gave birth to his third child. Jones lived with them for a while.
Jones left Cheltenham and moved to London. In London, he became friends with Alexis Korner, singer Paul Jones (then called Paul Pond), Jack Bruce and others in the rhythm & blues and jazz scene. Jones became a blues musician and briefly called himself Elmo Lewis.
In 1962, Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News to audition for a new R & B group. Ian "Stu" Stewart was the first to respond. Later singer Mick Jagger joined the band. Jagger and his friend Keith Richards met Jones when he and Paul Jones were playing with Alexis Korner's band at the Ealing Jazz Club. Jagger brought Richards to rehearsals and he joined the band. Jones came up with the name for the group the Rollin' Stones (later the Rolling Stones) on the spot when a venue owner called. He had spotted The Best of Muddy Waters album on the floor which had the track Rollin' Stone on it. On 12/07/1962, The Rollin' Stones played their first gig at the Marquee Club. The group was then comprised of Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, bass player Dick Taylor and drummer Tony Chapman. From September 1962 to September 1963, Jones, Jagger and Richards shared a flat with future photographer James Phelge at 102 Edith Grove, Chelsea, London. Jagger, Jones, Richards and Stewart recruited Bill Wyman on bass.
In 1963, they recruited drummer Charlie Watts into the band. Jones acted as the band's business manager in the early days with people like Giorgio Gomelsky doing the booking. In April 1963, The Rolling Stones appointed Andrew Loog Oldham as their manager. Oldham shifted the focus of the band on to Jagger and took full managerial control of the band, displacing Jones. Also in 1963, Jones started a group with Paul Jones called the Roosters. When both Brian and Paul left the group, Eric Clapton took over Brian's position as guitarist.
In 1964, another woman, Linda Lawrence gave birth to his fourth child. In October, a girlfriend of Brian's Dawn Molloy announced to Brian and the band's management that she was pregnant. She received a £700 cheque to not make a statement to the press and that the matter was closed. In March 1965, Dawn gave birth to Brian's fifth child.
In 1967, Jones was arrested for drug possession. Jones had become more alienated from the rest of the group and had become overindulgent with alcohol and other drugs. In March 1967, Jone's girlfriend of two years, Anita Pallenberg left him for Richards when Jones was hospitalised during a trip the three of them made to Morocco.
In 1968, Jones played at his last substantial sessions with the Rolling Stones. In May, Jones was arrested for the second time for possession of cannabis. He received a fine of £50 plus £105 costs. In December, he made his last formal appearance at "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" a part concert, part circus act film. It would be unreleased for 25 years as Jagger was unhappy with the band's performance. In November 1968, Jones bought Cotchford Farm in East Sussex, which was formerly owned by the author A. A. Milne.
In March 1969, Jones borrowed the group's Jaguar and went shopping in Pimlico Road, London. The parked car was towed by police and Jones hired a chauffeured car to get home. In May 1969, Jones crashed a motorcycle into a shop window and went to hospital under an assumed name. By this point, Jones was still attending sessions but was no longer contributing much to the music. That month he was told by Jagger that he had to attend a photo session or he would be fired. He turned up looking frail for his final photo session.
The Rolling Stones decided to start a US tour to start in November 1969. Jones was not able to receive a work permit due to his drug convictions. The Rolling Stones decided to add a new guitarist and on 08/06/1969 Jones was visited by Jagger, Richards and Watts and told the group would continue without him. On 09/06/1969, Jones released a statement announcing his departure. Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor. Jones contacted Korner, Stewart, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell and Jimmy Miller to enquire about forming another band.
On 02/07/1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm. His girlfriend Anna Wohlin was convinced he still had a pulse. By the time doctors arrived it was too late and he was pronounced dead. The reported stated the death as death by misadventure.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community