Birthday: February 28, 1942
Died At Age: 27
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones
Born in: Cheltenham
Famous as: Founder of the Rolling Stones
Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Males
father: Lewis Blount Jones
mother: Louisa Beatrice Jones
siblings: Barbara Jones, Pamela Jones
children: John Paul Andrew Jones, Julian Brian Jones, Julian Mark Andrews, Julian Mark Jones
Died on: July 3, 1969
place of death: Hartfield
City: Cheltenham, England
Cause of Death: Drug Overdose
Who was Brian Jones?
Brian Jones was an English musician who co-founded the band the Rolling Stones along with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, and was considered the band’s leader during its initial years. The band members, with their longish hair and unconventional look became the epitome of the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s, and were at the forefront of the phenomenon known as the British Invasion of the United States. Born to music loving parents in Gloucestershire, Jones was exposed to music from an early age. Inspired by Cannonball Adderley's music, he was drawn to jazz and acquired a saxophone as a teenager. A highly intelligent boy, he performed well at school even though he disliked the discipline and conformance. He dropped out of school and lived a bohemian life for a few years, travelling and performing on streets. During this time he also fathered several children with different women. Over a period of time he managed to establish himself as a popular blues musician and proceeded to form the band Rolling Stones which achieved great international popularity. Though talented, Jones was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol which ultimately brought about his removal from the band he had founded and led to his untimely death at the age of 27.
Childhood & Early Life
Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones was born on 28 February 1942 in Gloucestershire, England into a middle-class family. His mother Louisa was a piano teacher while his father Lewis Blount Jones was an aeronautical engineer who also had interest in music. Brian had two sisters.
Growing up in a music loving family ensured that he was introduced to music at a young age. After listening to Cannonball Adderley's music as a teenager he became interested in jazz. He soon acquired a saxophone and was later presented with an acoustic guitar by his parents.
He attended local schools, including Dean Close School and Cheltenham Grammar School for Boys. Being an intelligent boy he performed well in studies though he disliked the discipline and rigidity of school life. He often got into trouble with the authorities and was suspended from school on two occasions.
In 1959, his girlfriend became pregnant and a scandal erupted in his community. The girl eventually gave up the baby for adoption. Meanwhile Brian quit school in disgrace.
He left home and travelled for a summer through Northern Europe and Scandinavia living a bohemian lifestyle. But he could not maintain this lifestyle for long and returned to England.
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During the initial years of his musical career he played gigs at local bars and blues and jazz clubs in London while also doing other odd jobs. Highly talented and creative, Brian Jones soon gained a small following and was beginning to enjoy some popularity.
He became friends with fellow musicians like Alexis Korner, Paul Jones, Jack Bruce, and others who made up the small London rhythm and blues and jazz scene and often performed with them.
In May 1962, he placed an advertisement in ‘Jazz News’ inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group. Pianist Ian Stewart, singer Mick Jagger, and guitarist Keith Richards responded to the advertisement. Later bassist Bill Wyman also joined the group which adopted the name the Rolling Stones.
During the band’s early days, Jones played the guitar and the harmonica and also served as a backing vocalist. The band released their first album ‘The Rolling Stones’ in 1964 which became one of the year’s biggest sellers in the UK, staying at No. 1 for 12 weeks.
Propelled by the success of their debut album, the Rolling Stones released their next album ‘The Rolling Stones No. 2’ in 1965 which featured several R&B covers. This too was a big success and peaked at No. 1 in the UK, becoming one of the year's biggest sellers.
The band released several other albums in quick succession: ‘Out of Our Heads’ (1965), ‘December's Children’ (1965), ‘Aftermath’ (1966), ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ (1967), and ‘Beggars Banquet’ (1968).
The band which Brian Jones founded was achieving success upon success, but the man himself was going through a very difficult phase. The constant travelling and the pressure of Rolling Stones’ rising fame took a toll on Jones’ mental health and he began overindulging in alcohol and drugs. These habits also affected his physical health considerably.
His increasing dependency on alcohol and drugs coupled with his mood swings and asocial behavior alienated him from his band mates. He was even arrested for the possession of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine but was let off without any major consequences.
By the late 1960s he had become so wasted that he was hardly making any valuable contributions to the band’s music. A multi-instrumentalist once upon a time, now he struggled to even play a single instrument properly.
His increasingly erratic behavior and brushes with the law were affecting the band’s reputation and his fellow band mates removed him from Rolling Stones and replaced him with guitarist Mick Taylor.
Brian Jones was the leader and co-founder of the highly popular rock band the Rolling Stones. The band was instrumental in making blues a major part of rock and roll, and was a frontrunner in the cultural phenomenon British Invasion in which British bands became exceedingly popular in the United States.
Personal Life & Legacy
Brian Jones had been involved with several women and fathered many children. Some of his girlfriends were Valerie Corbett, Pat Andrews, Dawn Molloy, Anita Pallenberg, and Anna Wohlin.
He was found motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home on the night of 2–3 July 1969. Doctors were immediately summoned but it was too late. Jones was just 27 at the time of his death which was ruled an accident. The coroner noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.
This English musician was the first one of the “27 Club” that refers to a number of popular musicians who died at age 27.