Brian Jones (Photo: BJFCC)
Brian Jones (1942-1969)
Brian Jones died on 3 July 1969. Forty years on from his death discover more about the Cheltenham-born rock star and founding members of the Rolling Stones...
Gloucestershire born Brian Jones (Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones) was one of the founding members of the legendary British band The Rolling Stones and an original martyr of rock-and-roll.
Brian Jones performing (Photo: BJFCC)
Jones was born in Cheltenham's Park Nursing Home on the 28th of February, 1942. He attended Dean Close Preparatory School (1947 - 53) and Pates Grammar School in Cheltenham (1953 - 57) before leaving for London to find fame in The Rolling Stones, skilled in playing over 30 musical instruments, most of which were self-taught.
The band began playing at London jazz and blues clubs, causing an infectious stir and rapidly developing an immense fan base. The Rolling Stones' first single 'Not Fade Away' reached number three in 1962 and became the first of many hits Jones enjoyed with the band.
Jones's position in The Rolling Stones was clearly marked out from the start. He was thought to give the band an extra dimension that secured their initial recognition and with them he boldly made his mark as an influential musician that undoubtedly inspired endless musicians.
Jones was known to have played over 15 instruments in the band including piano, clarinet and the guitar with which he became most famously associated.
The Rolling Stones (Photo: BJFCC)
Jones' personal magnetism and charisma ensured his female fan-base equalled that of his musical recognition. He swiftly grew as a sex symbol and fashion icon due to his unique rebellious style making him a cutting edge pioneer in forming the original rock star look.
Always embodying the cliché of revelling in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Jones fathered five children out of wed-lock, the first mothered by a fourteen year old school girl.
As the Rolling Stones gathered proclaimed success, Jones' drug taking heightened and contributed to his increasingly troubled existence. Proclaiming that recreational drug use should be legal, he began frequently using LSD, Cocaine and Cannabis which did nothing to aid his imperfect health, being a known asthma sufferer.
This behaviour only increased Jones' status as a rock guru and his notoriety has been greatly imitated since. It did however mean repercussions for The Rolling Stones.
Brian Jones Bust in the Beechwood Shopping Arcade
Hostilities developed between him and his equally famed band mates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards after Jones’ continuous no-shows at gigs and increasingly erratic behaviour associated with his drug taking, which had often led to him being arrested.
He became alienated from the rest of the group with various rumours surrounding his official departure. His situation spiralled downwards from then on.
On the third of July in 1969 Jones’ life was cut remarkably short when at just 27 he died in a controversial accident. The star was found dead in the swimming pool at his farm home in East Sussex; Cotchford Farm - formerly owned by writer A.A. Milne.
It was officially stated a ‘death by misadventure’ and speculations of murder are still rife. However, Jones’ liver and heart were found to have been heavily enlarged from drug and alcohol abuse.
Jones' funeral took place at St Mary’s Parish Church in Cheltenham. He was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery in a grand silver and bronze casket that was commissioned by his close friend Bob Dylan.
A bronze bust of Jones was produced by the Brian Jones Fan Club Cheltenham (BJFCC) and can now be found in the Beechwood Shopping Centre in his home town.
last updated: 17/06/2009 at 11:45
Have Your Say
What are your memories of Brian Jones? What was it about him that made him so special?
LINDA FROM THE UNITED STATES
sara from rome italy