BRIAN JONES

FEBRUARY 28, 1942 - JULY 3, 1969

“We were never going to stop even if they told us to.”

                                                            -Brian Jones, The Rolling Stones

The Best of Times...

Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones was the founder and original leader of The Rolling Stones. This is not overstated nor is it contested by the remaining band members who still tour to this day. According to bass player Bill Wyman, “He formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played...he was very influential, very important.”

 

The Establishment

Rock as we know it was born out of the blues, and English musicians of the day were engrossed in the art of emulating this American medium.  Brian found Mick Jagger and Keith Richards shared this passion, and they set out together to recreate the Chicago Blues sound. Enlisting sought after jazz drummer Charlie Watts and later bassman Bill Wyman, was a well orchestrated maneuver that solidified The Stones as one of the premier groups in London.  The band spent their early days learning and playing the standards of Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and fellow 27 Club member, and godfather of the Blues himself Robert Johnson.  

 

The Anti-Establishment

There was already an established hierarchy of near royalty in the London Rock n’ Roll scene. The Beatles had reached a status almost unapproachable.  “More popular than Jesus” was coined by John Lennon and seemed to be an accurate description. Rock n’ Rollers, their parents, their children, and even their pets were on The Beatles’ bandwagon. The Rolling Stones had a different goal. They set out to be the opposite, the Anti-Beatles. Frequent clashes with the legal system, drug use, and a sordid reputation created a new paradigm in Rock n’ Roll. These bad boy rockers were not here to make friends, and this was evident in the tumultuous relationship of the three founding figures. Mick and Keith became a songwriting powerhouse, while Brian chose to branch out into different instruments and sounds which made The Stones stand out from other trio and quartet groups climbing the charts. He added a myriad of instruments in the studio, which gave The Rolling Stones a depth that no other bands were able to achieve at the time.  

 

And The Worst of Times...

As with most of our CHIME 27 stories, Brian’s discontent with the shift in power in the band pushed him deeper into the depths of drugs and alcohol.  That combined with the interchangeable women in the picture took a heavy toll.  The Stones’ muses pivoted from band member to band member, and left a trail of inspiration and heartache in their wake. This recurring storyline led to deep mistrust and angst amongst the members, and when Brian became engrossed with fame, and despondent through his drug use, Keith And Mick decided to remove him from the line up.  Although they had amassed wealth and comfort through their first 8 years of work, it was not enough to allow Brian the contentment he desired. Under questionable circumstances, he drowned in his swimming pool just 3 weeks after being forced out of the band he had created. He was 27 years old.

THE DESIGN

Brian Jones played the guitar, but he also played the harmonica, oboe, organ, dulcimer, mellotron, recorder, sitar, marimba, saxophone, percussions, keyboard and several brass and woodwind instruments.

Cut from a discarded drum cymbal, this piece represents the front plate of a harmonica.  Although not the only instrument in Brian’s repertoire, it is symbolic of the way he breathed life into the Rolling Stones' music. He brought an undeniable richness and depth that set the Rolling Stones apart from all other Rock’n Roll bands of the day. Brian was also known for his strong sense of style and fashion. We have created a tie clip to add flare and a little edge to this conservative piece of clothing.

I invite you to take a listen to the following songs. Listen/watch for Brian’s parts. You'll notice, as we did, that Brian's unique contribution haunts each track and lingers in the subconscious, creating an intimate connection between the artist and the listener.  Once you hear and identify the part as his, you cannot unhear it.  It pulls at you during each subsequent listen.  His legacy remains long after his death.

 

Not Fade Away - Harmonica

Paint It Black - Sitar

Ruby Tuesday - Recorder

Under My Thumb - Marimba

Let's Spend the Night Together - Organ

Something Happened To Me Yesterday - Brass Section