Just Who Was Brian Jones?
"Without multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones there would have been no Rolling Stones. And yet the golden boy of the '60's was also the first rock casualty of his generation". Opinions may vary but these words from Carol Clerk, in her February 2005 article for Uncut Magazine state the two very basic facts that encapsulate the truth behind the founder of the legendary Rolling Stones.
The following look at Brian's life, adapted from Carol Clerk's original article, attempts to follow the life of Brian Jones and in part is reproduced by kind permission of IPC Media, we acknowledge separate copyright of the photographs accompanying the article.
So, a question – Just who was Brian Jones and what was it about the golden boy of The Rolling Stones, that condemned him to an early grave?
Girls loved him, even as a teenager. They loved his fair hair, his wide smile, his perfect manners, his romantic charm and his attentive conversation. But, Brian wasted no time in getting down and dirty with his admirers, he was never one for contraception and at sixteen years of age he fathered a child with his 14-year-old girlfriend Valerie. Lewis and Louisa Jones, his parents, were apoplectic. A huge family row ensued, and Brian was packed off to Germany while the dust settled.
Valerie, to whom he'd pledged his love, was exiled to France to sit out her pregnancy before returning to Cheltenham to have her child – a boy, later named Simon was the first of Brian's illegitimate children. Valerie eventually married Brian's friend Graham Ride and their enduring story can be found in 'Foundation Stone', written by Graham after his wife's death. More recently a re-print of the book has been published with an extra chapter on how Graham Ride finally traced and became re-united with his first wife's child.
Returning to Cheltenham, this whole escapade marked a new low in the relationship between Brian and his parents. It was 1959, and to a conservative, some might say snobbish family in leafy Cheltenham, this was one embarrassment too many.
Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones was born in the town's Park Nursing Home on February 28th 1942, the first of three children for Lewis, an aircraft designer, and Louisa, a piano teacher. Within the next few years, sisters Pamela and Barbara arrived. Pamela died from leukaemia as a toddler, and Brian – not that much older himself – never forgot his feelings of isolation. Years later, he told Anna Wohlin how his mother had withdrawn into apparent grief: "Instead of giving me a hug and trying to understand and comfort me when I was being difficult, she pushed me away. I felt rejected and unloved and I still don't know what she really thinks of me". Pat Andrews recalls Brian talking sadly of his parents, how years later he still remembered his mothers words when, aged barely four years old and inquisitive as to where his sister had gone was told in no uncertain terms that she'd been naughty and had been taken away to somewhere horrible, and that if he acted in a similar manner that would happen to him too!
It was after entering secondary education as a promising pupil with an IQ of 133 (as referred to by Dr. Walter Neustatter in his psychiatric report to the Court Of Appeals after Brian's 1967 drug conviction) that he started clashing with his father, a strict disciplinarian who accused him of squandering his academic talents.
Passing through Cheltenham Grammar School, the young Jones became increasingly insubordinate, and was suspended for rebelling against teachers and prefects. Still, he sailed through nine O - Levels and two A - Levels. But he wasn't interested in academia. Brian was in love with music. Louisa had taught him piano, and he'd graduated with instinctive ease to the recorder and clarinet.
At 15, he was playing washboard in a school skiffle band. A year later, immersed in Charlie Parker, he played saxophone with a local jazz combo. Lewis was coming to view his son's all-consuming passion for music as 'evil', and distracting.
By the time of the pregnancy scandal, the scene was set for a feud between parents and son that would continue on for years – although Brian would never stop trying to earn their respect.
In 1959 after a one night stand with a married woman called Angeline resulted in Brian's second child, this time a daughter who's lived most of her life not knowing who her real father was. Today she lives in quiet seclusion with three children of her own and, since her mother's passing and learning of her possible real father's identity, for the past five years she has written numerous passionate letters to the reclusive Jones's through their only point of contact. Brian Innes, the caretaker at the Cheltenham cemetery where Brian's body lies, promised to pass the letters on, but she has never once had the courtesy of a reply and expresses genuine hurt that her children will never get to know their paternal relatives and family roots.
Back to 1960 and an unconcerned teenage Brian Jones took up with Pat Andrews, a 15-year-old Cheltenham shop-girl. Brian was playing guitar and saxaphone with various jazz outfits and half-heartedly worked a string of day jobs. In one apparently perverse attempt to antagonise his parents, he became a coal man! They were outraged. In December they locked Brian out of the house and went away for Christmas, leaving his suitcase in the garden. Brian managed to get into the house but the neighbours called the police when they noticed the lights on and Brian had some explaining to do, he was facing Christmas alone but at least Pat's family took pity on him and, as she recalls, invited him around for dinner. Soon into the New Year however Brian was soon to anger both families when Pat became pregnant. She later said that his mother "became hysterical, picking things up and throwing them at Brian and screaming at the top of her voice... then she ran into Brian's old bedroom, grabbed his guitar and started smashing it". Mrs Andrews wasn't too pleased with Brian either, and, catching up with him on Cheltenham's promenade smacked him around the head with her umbrella!
Their son, Julian Mark, was born in October 1961, and the couple moved in together into Pat's sister's home for a couple of months but Brian would never be a model father. He'd been making weekend trips to London, falling deeply under the spell of the blues and mixing with musicians. One early friend was Oxford singer Paul Jones (later of Manfred Mann), with whom he formed a makeshift group. But his ambitions really came into focus when he heard Alexis Korner perform an electric blues set at Cheltenham Town Hall. Brian was overwhelmed. He dashed home for his guitar, introduced himself to Korner and showed off his skills. Korner took 'this pent-up ball of obsessive energy' under his wing and they became lifelong friends.
Visiting Korner in London, Brian met many of the leading players, he started calling himself Elmore Jones, then Elmo Lewis after his hero Elmore James, bought an electric guitar and practised night and day so he could emulate his hero. At just 19 years of age he made the permanent move to London.
"Brian was the first person I ever heard playing slide electric guitar", recalled Keith Richards. "Mick and I both thought he was incredible". Early in 1962, Alexis Korner had opened a weekly R & B night at the Ealing Jazz Club, west London, with his own outfit, Blues Incorporated. On April 7th, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were in the audience to see Charlie Watts drumming with them. Brian Jones sat in for an electrifying rendition of Elmore James' 'Dust My Broom'.
Mick and Keith, both from Dartford, had a band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, inspired by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. They chatted with Brian, who said he was forming a group although he made no overtures. He intended to be careful in his recruiting, and he wanted Paul Jones as his singer.
Brian advertised for musicians in Jazz News, and pianist Ian "Stu" Stewart from Cheam, Surrey responded. He recalled Brian as 'a strange character, but very knowledgeable and deadly serious about the whole thing'. Brian bagged Stu, and they spent weeks auditioning in one pub – and then another after Brian was caught stealing cigarettes. Paul Jones had dropped out, so Brian and Stu proceeded with singer/harmonica player Brian Knight and guitarist Geoff Bradford. Weeks later, Knight walked out to set up Blues By Six.
It was Stu who invited Mick Jagger along one day in June. Jagger, now singing with Blues Incorporated, arrived with Keith Richards and the Blue Boys' drummer-turned-bassist Dick Taylor – and all three lived up to Brian's exacting standards. They were in. Shortly afterwards Geoff Bradford left to join Brian Knight and, later, Charlie Watts in Blues By Six.
Brian named the band The Rollin' Stones and they made their debut at London's Marquee club on July 12th with Mick Avory, later of the Kinks on drums. They advertised for a full-time drummer in Melody Maker and selected Tony Chapman from London band The Cliftons. But Brian wanted Charlie Watts. In the autumn of 1962, under Brian's leadership, the Stones made their first recording at Curly Clayton's studio in north London.
Their crummy first floor flat at 102 Edith Grove, Chelsea was bitterly cold that winter. Brian, Mick and Keith rarely had money to feed the electricity meter. Living in two filthy rooms with various friends, one bare light bulb and a riot of unwashed clothes, dirty dishes, cigarette butts and broken cups, their determination was tested to the limit. The pipes froze, and a visit to the bathroom was an ordeal that everyone except Brian tried to avoid; he washed his hair daily, whatever the discomfort.
Keith Richards had finished his course at Sidcup Art College and he stayed in the flat, broke and hungry, while Mick attended the London School of Economics and Brian served at W H Smiths in Kingsway. Brian had been fired by another store for dipping his fingers in the till, and he was still doing it. Fired again, he shivered with Keith in their Chelsea hovel.
Still, Jones cracked the whip. He arranged rehearsals at the nearby Wetherby Arms and initiated hours of preparation in Edith Grove, replaying LP's by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Chuck Berry while he, Mick and Keith huddled under blankets. Sometimes the air was so arctic cold that they stayed indoors all day, playing their guitars until their fingers turned blue. Many believe that the backbone of the Stones was forged from this period of hardship, along with the unique sound of their two interacting guitars. Brian and Keith established a telepathic musical partnership that in Stu's opinion, made Jagger jealous: "I could sense back then the beginning of Mick's desire to distance Keith from Brian". Brian, meanwhile, was taking lessons in blues harmonica from the esteemed Cyril Davies.
As the boys' morale, and funds, began to plunge, Brian booked a string of gigs for November and December 1962. This was no easy task, since the sniffy jazz establishment dominating the live circuit had little time for the younger generation of scruffy blues boys. Nevertheless, the Stones had a residency at the Ealing Jazz Club, while Brian secured gigs at the Marquee, Piccadilly and Flamingo jazz clubs, as well as pubs and halls outside London.
Soon, bassist Dick Taylor left to concentrate on his art studies, later re-emerging as lead guitarist with the Pretty Things, and Tony Chapman recommended his old Cliftons bassist, Bill Perks. Ex-RAF man Bill was a few years older than the rest of the Stones, and he lived a quiet family life in Penge. He also had a huge bass cabinet, his own amps – and packets of cigarettes. He played his first gig as a Rolling Stone at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor's Star and Garter Hotel on December 14, and in the new year he changed his surname to Wyman.
January 1963 saw the Stones grab Charlie Watts, a graphic designer still living with his parents in a prefab in Neasden. Brian happily sacrificed a furious Tony Chapman.
The crucial springboard to fame for the band was provided by Giorgio Gomelsky, a young music promoter and blues enthusiast.
In his new club, the Crawdaddy, in the Station Hotel, Richmond, Gomelsky contemplated how to inject new energy into the scene when he heard a soft-spoken, lisping but firm voice behind him saying, "Giorgio, you gotta come hear my band. It's the best blues band in the land, really!" It was Brian Jones. The promoter invited the Stones to play at his new club on the opening night, February 24th 1963. On that inaugural night it was snowing and Giorgio recalled that by opening time an audience totalling three people had braved the weather. Brian said, "Giorgio, there's only three people in the audience and six of us on the stage. Should we bother to play?" He simply said, "Brian, how many people you think could fit in here?" "A hundred perhaps?" – "Okay", he replied, "play as if there were 100 here, and they'll soon come".
At the end of the evening Gomelsky spoke to the three punters and asked them if they had enjoyed it. "Man, it was great. This is our music". He asked them if they knew two people each to bring along next week. If so, they would get in free. So, the following Sunday nine people showed up, the nine each brought two friends, so we went to 27, and the week after to over 70. The place got so popular people had to stand in line from two in the afternoon to get into the place five hours later. It got so crowded that the boys who wanted to bring their girlfriends had to carry them into the room on their shoulders.
The breakthrough had happened, and a month later, in March 1963, the Stones recorded five songs at IBC studio with engineer Glyn Johns – Brian often referred to these recordings as one of his proudest achievements.
But Brian's downfall began before the Stones had even released a record. In every sense, he was the leader. He was still hustling gigs, now including the Crawdaddy Club, Richmond and Eel Pie Island in Twickenham where the Stones built up a sizeable following. He managed the finances, sent handwritten letters promoting the group to magazines, venues and radio stations and assumed the managerial role in business meetings (he importantly, out of the Jagger/Richards/Jones trio was the only one of legal age to sign contractual agreements).
He was also, in those days, the star of the Stones on account of his musicianship, his vivid sense of fashion and a beautiful, blond presence that was at the same time impenetrable and unsettling – the intriguing counterpart to Jagger's unbridled sexuality.
Brian could not have guessed at the repercussions of the management and recording contracts he signed on behalf of the group with Impact Sound – Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton – in May 1963. He was correct that Oldham, a former part-time Beatles press officer, would kick-start their career. But he never dreamt that Oldham would gradually strip him of everything that mattered.
BiII Wyman has stated that Brian "could be the sweetest, softest, most considerate man in the world and the nastiest piece of work you've ever met". Pat Andrews, who probably knew Brian best of all in those early years would never go so far as to say he was nasty but, having experienced his reaction at first hand when Oldham started alienating him, she certainly saw the outrage in Brian. He was difficult to be with but, contrary to how Brian has been presented he was never violent, but when Oldham made it clear that he didn't want Brian being seen in public with his own son I know he was torn between the rock and the hard face – his life was being controlled to the degree that I know it hurt him! His confidence suffered and he retreated into himself, many perceived this as rudeness but it wasn't, it was Brian's defence mechanism kicking in.
Then came the inevitable women with fame. Pat recalls, "what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander, that was Brian's philosophy, even though he would have young women, many beautiful young women throwing themselves at him he couldn't stand the thought of me being with somebody else. He became so insecure that no amount of persuasion or denial from me that I hadn't been with anyone else, in all the time I knew him, would change his mind. Of course I knew of the other women but I could shut that out, they were one night stands, I hated it but he was the father of my child and you have to remember, in those days attitudes were so different than they are now. But the final straw was when he slept with somebody I considered a close friend, that was the final betrayal and I left him for good; hurt, angry and betrayed I grabbed my baby and what possessions we had and jumped straight onto a train back to Cheltenham".
Pat had discovered that Brian had slept with Keith Richards' girlfriend Lee. He was simultaneously enjoying a relationship with sixteen-year-old hairdressing student Linda Lawrence and when Andrew Loog Oldham moved in with Mick and Keith at 33 Mapesbury Rd, West Hampstead, Brian went to live with Linda and her parents in Windsor. He was now estranged from the band.
As a footnote to Brian and Pat's relationship, her greatest regret was that, she believes, Brian went to his grave believing that she had slept with Jagger while they were living together in their basement flat in Powis Square. "Some time after Brian's death I was phoned at midnight by a friend who was reading a book on the Stones and she told me of a quote from Keith saying – 'while Brian was at work Mick had screwed Pat' – I was horrified and I'd like to state that's categorically not true and did not happen. Yes, Mick did come on to me once, I suspect in a childish sort of way because that was Mick's thing, I can still see his face today though when I told him to stop being so silly.
On a serious note however, I know it would have destroyed Brian if in fact Mick did brag that he'd slept with me, I wasn't there to defend myself and to this day I have nightmares thinking of what Brian must have thought of me with this lie going around his head, and more importantly, what a profound effect it might have had on Marks future with his father had he lived, and not been told the truth. Perhaps that was the reason for him ignoring myself and Mark".
Apart from one occasion at a Stones gig in Cheltenham a year or so later, Pat never saw the father of her child again and repeated attempts to make contact with him all met with a stone wall of silence.
Within the Stones, Oldham continued to exert his power, he ordered Keith to drop the 's' from his surname and sacked Ian Stewart, allegedly because his face didn't fit. Brian didn't contest the edict. He personally broke the bad news to Stu suggesting he could be roadie and driver while continuing to play on studio recordings. Stu accepted the consolation prize.
Expertly promoting the Stones as wild opposites to the Beatles' clean-cut boys next door, Oldham shifted the focus to Jagger as a sex symbol, forcing Brian to the sidelines. He then instructed Jagger and Richards to write songs, which removed Jones' musical authority. Still, Brian was the people's favourite. That much was evident from the fans screaming during the band's first British tour in the autumn of 1963. Brian got his share of screen time on TV shows such as Thank Your Lucky Stars and Ready Steady Go. He received the most fan mail. And he contemptuously dismissed the first Jagger/Richards compositions as sell-out rubbish.
The Stones first hits – 'Come On' (1963), 'Not Fade Away' (1964), 'It's All Over Now' (1964) and 'Little Red Rooster' (1964) were all covers, sufficiently grounded in blues and R & B to satisfy the purist in Brian Jones. He was equally pleased with their debut, self-titled album, a number one in early 1964. Then Mick and Keith hit a song-writing winning streak, and with 'The Last Time' they would give the Stones their third chart-topping single in 1965.
The important decisions were now being made by the Oldham/Jagger/Richards power base at Mapesbury Road. Brian wasn't considered important enough to be consulted. The parts he played in the studio were sometimes wiped out, or not recorded at all. He was excluded from press interviews. His musical role was steadily reduced to that of a colourist, adding exotic touches to existing compositions and although this would often be enough to turn a great song like 'Paint It Black' into something truly sensational, Brian realised he'd lost control of his own band. He fought back for a while, doubtless encouraged by fans in America who, during the Stones' first visits in 1964, made banners idolising 'Sweet Innocent Little Brian' but his band-mates explosively queried that sweetness when Oldham revealed a secret deal under which Brian earned £5 a week more than they did.
Jones competed with Jagger for the limelight on stage, and he tried to write, but his confidence vanished. Thereafter, the insecurity and paranoia he felt was fuelled by his voracious appetite for alcohol, uppers, downers and LSD. Emasculated within The Rolling Stones, Brian entered fully into a life of debauchery. He became a playboy prince, hobnobbing with rock's elite, befriending art dealers and film directors, and indulging in expensive whims. On tour, his every erotic wish was someone else's command.
Returning to Linda from America in November 1964, he rebelled against the life of domesticity he'd initiated with the birth of their son – his fourth child, in July. At this same time, Brian learnt that another lover, Dawn Molloy was pregnant. Despite his promises of love and marriage to Linda, he escaped to London to avoid the whole mess.
By now he was exhausted – stressed, strung out, assailed by asthma attacks, resentful of his treatment by the band and profoundly disturbed by Oldham's ousting of his one remaining ally, Eric Easton, in favour of US businessman Allen Klein in the summer of 1965. He was also hit with paternity proceedings by Pat and Linda.
Anita Pallenberg met Brian at a Stones gig in Munich on September 14th 1965, she recalls, "I asked Brian if he wanted a joint and he said yes, so he asked me back to his hotel and he was so upset about Mick and Keith still, saying they'd teamed up on him".
The more Brian felt victimised, the more he drank and dipped into his pills, and the more unreliable his performances became, compounding the band's frustration. It was a vicious circle, and Brian couldn't touch Mick and Keith. They were hot, taking the Stones to another number one with 'Satisfaction' and then 'Get Off Of My Cloud' in 1965, scoring a number two with '19th Nervous Breakdown' in February 1966 and regaining pole position three months later with 'Paint It, Black'. The Jagger/Richards partnership also triumphed with the band's fourth LP, 'Aftermath' in April 1966 and for the first time they'd written a whole LP and it made number one. However, it was Brian who'd supplied its exciting experimentalism, contributing dulcimer, marimbas, harpsichord and sitar.
The Ruby Tuesday/Between the Buttons period of late '66 saw Brian Jones the texturalist at his peak.
Recorded at Olympic Studios on the 16th November and released the following January in the UK as the flip side to the controversial 'Lets Spend The Night Together' – 'Ruby Tuesday' featured Brian playing piano and recorder and Bill and Keith on bowed double-bass. Prior to this period though and since the Stones second tour of American in late '64, Brian appeared to have lost interest in his band. Playing number two to the Jagger/Richards partnership caused him great difficulty in maintaining his perceived leadership of the early years, the purist blues roots that he established were now no more and his inability to write lyrics compounded his personal anxieties.
However, the band's change in musical direction in mid/late '66 seemed to give Brian a second wind and presented him with the opportunity to invigorate his musical prowess. He promptly became the unique 'sound' of the group with his mastery of different instruments at session after session. As with his piano and recorder playing on 'Ruby Tuesday' it's impossible to imagine 'Paint It Black' without Brian's lead sitar as it would without his endearing dulcimer on 'Lady Jane', or his mastery of the vibrato guitar on 'Please Go Home', and with no lead marimba part on 'Under My Thumb', his unusual koto playing on 'Ride On Baby', his brass input on 'Something Happened To Me Yesterday' and without his saxophone and harpsichord contributions on 'Dandelion' – would have plainly left all these now-classics in the doldrums.
In their private-lives, Brian and Anita continued to swan around London in his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, purchased from George Harrison. They moved into a flat at 1 Courtfield Road, South Kensington complete with minstrel gallery, and decorated it with rich fabrics and embroideries that Brian had bought in Morocco. In Anita, who was every bit as impulsive and tempestuous as Brian, he'd met his match.
Theirs was a turbulent relationship, ardent and argumentative. On holiday in Morocco in 1966, they fought endlessly, with Brian reaching breaking point and fracturing his wrist when he missed Anita and punched a window frame. Her reputation for dabbling in the Occult brought more pressure on their relationship and she once claimed to have cast a black magic spell on her lover, giving him intense stomach pains. The relationship continued however and Brian and Anita started to begin to look identical and along with John and Yoko they became one of rock's most famous couples, always hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons though. However, turning to his music to maintain a semblance of well being and sanity he composed the film score for 1967's 'A Degree Of Murder', staring Pallenberg.
Brian wrote a theme, which is reprised throughout the film in various styles including bluegrass, folk, Eastern influences, R & B, rock and country. Once Brian had accumulated enough material for the project he turned once again to Glyn Johns to help put it all together. Although the two men did not get along personally, they worked together smoothly on the project. Glyn Johns described his role, "Brian came to me and asked for help. He'd lost so much self-confidence by this time and really was in need of a hand. In a way I felt sorry for him. It wasn't that I didn't think he was capable of handling the project himself. But clearly he wanted help in the engineering. So I agreed. Brian worked very hard in his Courtfield flat on two little tape machines. He had all types of ideas which worked. He did it very well, and it came out amazingly. And we had a good time doing it. Brian was extremely together and confident while he was working on it. When it was finished he was both pleased and relieved. The rock 'n' roll bit which was written to fit the early murder scene was really good".
The director of the film, Volker Schlondorff later described the film and Brian's role, "I liked Brian and trusted him. You could feel that he had a lot of creativity. He was very much in touch with his time and he was also very much in love with Anita, the only actress in the movie - and its soul. She was bound to inspire him, if he was to write the music for her. And it wasn't just that his music was special, it was that the score was so spontaneous, vital. Only Brian could've done it. He had a tremendous feeling for the lyrical parts and knew perfectly the recording and mixing techniques required to achieve the best sound for drums, his guitar or flute et cetera. When the editing was done, Brian came back to Munich and sat in the editing room with me as we discussed, just as with any other professional movie composer, where to put music and what kind of music. It was just the true story of a girl who accidentally kills her boyfriend with his own gun, but instead of going to the police she hires two men for a few hundred marks to drive the corpse to the country where they bury him in the construction site of an autobahn. No moral implications, no guilt trips. It's more like an outing on a beautiful autumn day. Brian's score then was to provide a reflection of those rather callous feelings, while somehow managing to hint that of course she was mourning her boyfriend's death".
Discretion was not a virtue of Brian's. One night at Blaises Club in Kensington, he chatted blithely about drugs and showed hash and amphetamines to two strangers who were buying him drinks. The turned out to be News Of The World reporters, but they didn't know their 'Joneses' from their 'Jaggers' and early in February 1967, Brian's quotes were splashed all over the grand expose – but attributed to Mick Jagger!
A livid Jagger sued the newspaper, which sped into action. If it could get Mick Jagger busted, his legal case would collapse. Investigative journalist Trevor Kempson was assigned to the task, later revealing that he recruited someone well-placed within the Stones organisation to dish the dirt. This informant rang Kempson with details of a gathering at Keith Richards' home, Redlands, in West Sussex on February 12th.
The News Of The World told Scotland Yard and the result was the infamous raid in which Jagger, Richards and art dealer Robert Fraser were arrested for drug offences.
Keith arranged a holiday to duck the media scrum. Brian and Anita went, too. Stones chauffeur and minder Tom drove all three, in Richards' Bentley, to France, from where they would continue to Spain and Morocco, there to meet Mick, Marianne, Robert Fraser and sculptor Christopher Gibbs. Crossing into Spain, Brian took ill – some say he overdosed while others cite suspected pneumonia – and he spent his 25th birthday in hospital. It seems he encouraged the rest of the group to continue without him, which is when Anita and Keith ignited their love affair.
Finally arriving in Marrakech, Brian was frequently stoned. Allegedly, Anita's refusal to join in an orgy with a local whore provoked Brian into a violent attack, whereupon she rushed to the protective Richards. Now there was a getaway plan. While Brian was whisked off to visit a group of Moroccan musicians, the Stones party checked out of the hotel and disappeared. He returned to find himself abandoned and had to he sedated.
"First they took my music, then they took my band and now they've taken my love". Brian was devastated; his position in the Stones was now truly compromised. After years of conflict with Jagger, he could hardly bear seeing Richards with Anita on his arm. Worse was to come The News Of The World and the authorities were now targeting Brian. He was busted on May 10th for having drugs in his flat.
Brian Jones found a new girlfriend, Suki Potier, and moved her into his Courtfield Road apartment. They comforted each other. Brian was still in shock over Pallenberg, and Suki was mourning the death of their mutual friend Tara Browne in the crash immortalised by The Beatles, 'He blew his mind out in a car / He didn't notice that the lights had changed'. Suki had been a passenger.
Brian believed he was being bugged. He was certainly harassed. A string of hoax phone calls alleging burglaries, fires and suicide attempts at his home were made to the police by someone purporting to represent the Stones.
On July 6th, Brian was admitted to the Priory clinic in Roehampton to be treated for drug and alcohol abuse, and was diagnosed as paranoid. Trevor Kempson contended that fears were justified. "Of course Brian was being set up, all through 1967 and later in 1968. First the police would be tipped off that Brian was holding drugs, and a few minutes later the tip-off would come to me. I think... someone in the Stones organisation wanted him out of the way".
Brian got wind of a plot to plant drugs in his flat, and he and Suki then flitted among a number of hotels, boltholes and rented apartments.
It was around this time that Oldham parted company from the Stones.
Brian pleaded guilty to cannabis possession at the Inner London Sessions on October 30, although the cocaine and methedrine also found in his home were not mentioned. There was uproar in the public gallery when he was sentenced to nine months. Bail was refused. He spent a hellish night in Wormwood Scrubs before being released on medical grounds to await his appeal.
Brian was at an all-time low. He had to be restrained from jumping into the Thames and out of a hotel window. He was hounded by the police, and he went in and out of clinics and hospitals as he teetered on the edge of his mental precipice.
On December 12, the Court Of Appeal replaced his sentence with a £1000 fine and three years probation, hearing that he might harm himself in prison. The psychiatrist's report described an intelligent and sensitive person losing touch with reality.
The Stones had just released 'Their Satanic Majesties Request', which Brian had rightly predicted would be badly received. Ironically, his decorative touches on flute, recorder, and percussion were considered to be among the saving graces of an album generally dismissed as a second-rate answer to Sgt Pepper.
In Jones' opinion, the next recordings – for what would be 'Beggars Banquet – needed some killer riffs, more rock and blues and less psychedelia. Mick and Keith reached the same conclusion, and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' would duly return the Stones to the top of the chart for the first time in two years. Brian's ideas were now being accepted in the studio, but his new, positive attitude didn't last.
In the spring of 1968, police found his on-off lover Linda Keith (formerly Keith Richards girlfriend) naked and unconscious from an overdose of sleeping pills, having caught Brian with another woman. Immediately evicted by his landlord, he returned to Suki Potier. And then he was busted again.
Early one morning in May at his flat in Chesham Street, Belgravia, police officers found a lump of cannabis inside a ball of wool, which Brian insisted was planted, "I was absolutely shattered. I felt everything swimming". He was charged and bailed. Bill Wyman suggested, "the fact that the police had secured a warrant with no evidence showed the arrest was part of a carefully orchestrated plan. Brian and the Stones were being targeted in an effort to deter the public from taking drugs".
Brian took refuge at Redlands; Keith's West Wittering home, while he was out of the country and found himself under the supervision of Tom Keylock, now the Stones road manager. Instantly, there was tension. It was Keylock who'd orchestrated Keith and Anita's escape from Morocco, leaving Brian behind. At Redlands, Brian felt like a prisoner. He broke away on a couple of occasions escaping to Morocco and, spending time in the Rif Mountains where he discovered Jajouka and the Master Musicians. Fascinated and intrigued by this strangely hypnotic ethnic music he gained the villagers trust and went on, with sound engineer George Chkiantz, to record their music. After Brian's death, Rolling Stones Records released his recordings on an album titled 'The Pipes Of Pan At Jajouka'.
Back in the UK and on September 26th, the jury at Marlborough Street Magistrates Court retired to reach a verdict on the accusation that Brian was in possession of cannabis at the time of his earlier arrest. Having listened to the evidence and mitigation, and despite the judge directing the jury to find Brian not guilty, they did in fact return a guilty verdict. "No, no, no. It can't be true", Brian gasped as girls sobbed in the public gallery; but the judge, showing signs of belief in the vendetta waged by the police, bestowed leniency with a mere £50 fine, plus costs. However, the guilty verdict did eventually cost Brian dearly – making it almost impossible to get the visa he needed to tour and perform in the US.
Brian made his last live appearance with the Stones at the 'Rock And Roll Circus', their own production filmed in a big top in December. Joined by, among others, John and Yoko, The Who, Eric Clapton and a circus troupe, it was intended for a worldwide TV broadcast but the film stayed un-released for almost 28 years.
'Beggars Banquet', released in December 1968, was a formidable return to form, containing such fine Stones classics as 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Sympathy For The Devil'. It made number three in the album charts.
At this time, late into 1968 Brian bought himself a country retreat. Picturesque Cotchford Farm, in the village of Hartfield, East Sussex, was the former home of Winnie The Pooh author A A Milne. Surrounded by landscaped gardens and extensive woodlands, Brian saw it as a place of peace and sanity. He stopped taking illicit drugs and although he continued to drink, he became one with himself. He swapped his trademark glitz for practical country clothing. He became passionate about his gardens, acquired dogs, walked, swam, and tried to fit into the community.
Rather than dazzle the villagers with his latest Rolls Royce, Brian rode his scooter to the shops and the Dorset Arms (today, renamed the Hay Wagon Inn), an olde-worlde pub with wooden beams and a large fireplace. Here, he charmed the locals with his modest and polite conversation – although eventually they would come to know the Jones who drank too much, held deafening parties and crashed his scooter through the window of the shop across the road.
Brian appreciated Mary Hallett and Michael Martin, the housekeeper and gardener he inherited with the property. Mary, who'd been born and brought up in Cotchford Farm lived just down lane, she adored Mr Jones, "you couldn't have wished for a nicer boy", she said, "he was kindness itself".
Brian got the builders in. He wanted to make renovations, and Londoner Frank Thorogood who'd previously worked at Redlands - rounded up a team of three labourers. Thorogood was an old friend Tom Keylock, and it's believed that as well as supervising the building work he was expected to keep Brian in line and report back to Keylock about him. Frank was also permitted to bill the Stones' office directly for expenses incurred by his gang, and these were later charged to Brian. Brian tolerated the builders even though thy showed contempt for him, they were ordinary working men and they couldn't identify with a pop star whose lifestyle differed so much from their own.
Frank's relationship with Brian was particularly difficult. Jones allowed Thorogood to live in the flat above the garage on weekdays to save him commuting. He treated him to dinner at the farmhouse and they often drank into the early hours. But Brian's humour could be taunting, nasty, sometimes foppish, and Thorogood, from the 'old-school', had no answer to any of that. But he was onto a good thing and while despising Brian, he was also enjoying a good life at Cotchford, all at Brian's expense.
By the time Brian had dumped Suki and moved Swedish Student Anna Wohlin into the farmhouse in mid-1969, the builders were roundly taking advantage. They helped themselves to Brian's food, his drinks, even the vegetables from his garden. They did little work, even though Thorogood was draining large sums from Brian's bank account.
Anna, who'd known Brian for only a short time, paints an idyllic picture of tender love-making, dips in the pool and strolls around the garden, where her hero would remark upon the plants and trees. Brian had pledged his love, proposed marriage and children she says.
Jagger, Richards and Charlie Watts swept into the drive of Cotchford Farm in Jagger's Mercedes on Sunday June 8th 1969. It was later reported that they'd come to sack Brian from the band but whatever the tone and content of that conversation, only those three could now truthfully testify. It's thought in some circles however that Sunday June 8th was the definitive point in Brian Jones' short life. Was it, as again was reported, an amicable parting of the ways with Brian accepting a lump sum and annual fee to leave the band? Or was it a heated argument with Brian threatening to 'sue the arses' off these usurpers of his band and the brand name that he'd christened them with? Brian was, at most times throughout his life, an articulate and highly intelligent person – it's been stated that at Cotchford he'd 'cleaned up his act', was off the drugs and talking of re-uniting with his children. Brian was a completely different person from the drug addled wreck of '67 thro '68 and in the months leading up to July 1969 he felt totally estranged from the Stones. Supported by close friends including John Lennon, Alexis Korner, Jimi Hendrix, Micky Waller and John Mayall, some of whom had visited Cotchford, Brian was making plans for his own group. It's rumoured that he'd already completed some recordings with Korner. Could he have dared name his new group with the name that he might have believed he owned?
In a misleading Stones PR statement Brian said "I no longer see eye to eye with the others over the discs we are cutting. We no longer communicate musically. The Stones' music is not to my taste any more. I have a desire to play my own brand of music rather than that of others... The only solution is to go our separate ways, but we shall remain friends. I love those fellows". He appeared to accept the situation, although Charlie wasn't so sure, "we took his one thing away, which was being in a band". On-going bullying and intimidation by the heavies employed by Keylock to work at Cotchford annoyed Brian intensely. He was concerned for his employees, the Halletts and Mick Martin, only finding solace and peace at the weekends when nobody was around. The 'builders' had been at the farm for months abusing his hospitality, drinking throughout the day, and things were nowhere near completion. What work they had done was clearly shoddy and dangerous. Frank Thorogood strode around Cotchford Farm as though he owned it, and brought mistresses to his garage flat without permission. Jones rang Fred Trowbridge, the Stones' accountant and stopped any further payments to Thorogood, and asked for copies of his bills.
The story goes that the next day Brian confronted Thorogood and there was an explosive row during which Brian fired him, demanding that the workmen fix a fallen beam before they leave. It's been stated by other sources that Thorogood insisted Jones owed him £8000, and that Brian promised to pay so long as he, Thorogood, and the workmen left. If Brian did indeed fire Thorogood, he was in no hurry to go anywhere. That same Monday night, Frank received a visitor. Janet Lawson, a nurse from Gosport, Hants, arrived at the garage to stay. She was thought to be another of Frank's mistresses but, it has transpired, she was actually sleeping with Tom Keylock.
It had been decided at the Stones' office that Keylock, a frequent visitor to the farm, would continue to supervise Brian, since any bad publicity would reflect on the band. Also, rumours were emanating from Cotchford that Lennon, or Hendrix would collaborate with Brian, or that he was joining The Beatles. It was useful for the Stones to know what musical competition he might present.
There are many conflicting stories about what happened on Wednesday July 2nd; Anna Wohlin talks of her and Brian enjoying a quiet afternoon and evening. Other accounts mention visitors to the farm, including a group of fans, Suki Potier and friends, Nicholas Fitzgerald and Richard Cadbury, Paul McCartney, Salvador Dali's 'girlfriend' Amanda Lear, the building labourers and their girlfriends. Some say the evening brought a full-on party and Brian's expectation of receiving his pay-off that evening might certainly support this view. Many books and magazine speculation talk of Brian and Anna eating dinner and watching 'Rowan And Martins Laugh In' on TV – inviting Frank Thorogood and Janet Lawson over for drinks and having a relaxing evening around the pool. Debates have raged over whether Tom Keylock was at Cotchford that evening or in fact returning from Olympic Studios to Redlands to 'collect' Keith's forgotten guitar at the time when Brian died.
What is certain however is that the Stones were at Olympic when they received word of Brian's death, Stu took the call and Charlie subsequently broke the news to Bill who'd returned home earlier in the evening. Were the Stones complicit in Brian's death? Was Allen Klein the 'mastermind' behind the conspiracy or was it simply a tragic accident, horseplay in the pool that went wrong? Many theories have been put together and over the years the myths surrounding Brian's last days have grown until every conceivable avenue of explanation has been debated and exhausted. A big screen movie has premiered purporting that Brian's death was down to a simple argument over a debt but who can be certain of what really happened? The only certainty is that the debate will go on ad infinitum – there are simply too many variables to point to one definitive scenario.
Finally, one further aspect of this questionable death is the role played by the authorities, both at the time of Brian's death and in the ensuing years. Was the initial police investigative procedure correct? Were there faults within the medical profession with their opinions and evaluation of the cause of death? Was the Coroner thorough enough in his examination of the facts presented to him, prior to his 'death by misadventure' verdict? But what is known is that the police authorities are procedurally correct in their intransigence in refusing to re-investigate Brian's death. Death by misadventure in effect closes the case UNLESS new factual evidence is forthcoming and, unless an unlikely 'smoking gun' is out there, this will never happen. However, there is possibly another way and just perhaps, if we in our investigation are successful, Brian might get his day……
The BJFC, motivated by former girlfriend Pat Andrews is pressing for a fresh enquiry into his death. Having discovered a new witness who was never interviewed in 1969, drawing fresh time lines of events and questioning key people from the period, they have established another theory. Trevor Hobley explained how, in their investigation, they enlisted the help of specialist UK forensic and cold case experts who dissected his 150 page dossier of evidence and based on the facts, not passion, emotion and speculation, prepared a case for Sussex Police to re-examine the circumstances surrounding Brian Jones' death. Hobley, "we now have sound professional advice; this independent specialist company only employs ex-Home Office scientists and ex-senior Metropolitan and Thames Valley police officers who have many years of experience of murder investigations between them, and in fact regularly conduct case-reviews for many police forces in the UK and around the world. Their resources are incredible and the ex-Detective Chief Inspector assigned to us has reviewed our case-notes and has prepared a comprehensive report, based solely on fact, for presentation to the authorities".
An initial forensic examination had been carried out at Cotchford Farm in November 2004 and together with new evidence, fresh statements and freely available documented information gave credence for a fresh enquiry, Hobley explained, "Brian Jones is a silent witness, why was his body preserved in burial and thankfully, in such a way that with today's forensic technology it will certainly be possible to determine the true cause of death? Just why did someone have Brian's body embalmed, his hair bleached white, buried at such an unusual depth and in an airtight sealed metal casket flown in specially from the States – did all these factors constitute insurance or blackmail?"
Incidentally, the casket was apparently paid for in the U.S. by non other than Bob Dylan, perhaps as a perverse gesture that goes back to the rumour that Dylan's song, 'Ballad of a Thin Man', mainly about paranoia, was written for and about Brian Jones – but who would have that sort of connection to an icon of Dylan's stature……?
Trevor Hobley has taken advice from eminent forensic pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who comments that from the documentation he has seen, if this death had occurred in the USA, any District Attorney would have treated it as murder. But the most damning conclusions might be drawn from the speed of events surrounding this highly suspicious death in July 1969 and Trevor concludes, "Brian Jones was a hugely controversial public figure of the period and to have an investigation into a suspicious death, an autopsy, a Coroners inquest and burial in such a short time frame, just one week, can only lead to the suspicion that somebody wanted the whole matter swept under the carpet……".
Pat Andrews recalls "Brian's contribution to the world of fashion was far ahead of his time; even today his influences can be seen around the world in all the retro shops and high street fashion outlets. Brian was the first to experiment with jewellery and finery often associated with women and his ability to cross the boundary between male and female attire, yet still retain his masculinity and heterosexuality is most apparent. Brian's musicianship and experimentation with ethnic music, from his early sitar playing to the later Moroccan pipes of pan at and farsightedness, it's common knowledge to those who knew of Brian that his non-exploitation of these master musicians was dear to his heart. Does this film (Stoned) show that side of Brian – I doubt it. The scales of justice will never be equally balanced until people learn the real world of Brian Jones and it's honesty and justice that I want for the father of my son. Back in July 1969 nobody in the Stones machine thought to include us in the funeral arrangements, it's as if we were non-entities – I was alone and bringing up our 8 year old child in a refuge in London and had no way of getting back to Cheltenham, especially in the hurried manner of Brian's burial. I get so angry thinking of the people responsible for Brian's death benefiting for all the years in what he started. Don't get me wrong, I don't lay blame on the Stones themselves but they must know what really happened and have over the years blotted Brian out – I sometimes think that myself and Mark, and even Brian, are an embarrassment to them. I feel closer to the truth now than I ever have done in the past and the soon-to-come-day that the people responsible for this dreadful act of cowardice are brought to book will be the day that Brian can finally rest in peace".
Brian Jones was buried in his home town of Cheltenham with all the pomp and ceremony befitting an icon of his stature. However, Mary Hallett later said that Brian had never wanted this. She maintained that her 'nice' Mr Jones loved the local church in Hartfield and talked of being buried in Hartfield "should anything ever happen to me". Was this idle chat or was Brian aware of his mortality?
Brian was certainly an enigma. He had many sides to his personality and his convoluted life style took many different twists and turns throughout his short existence. Decades on from his death fans still go along regularly to his grave to pay their respects. The simple marble headstone, coldly inscribed 'In Affectionate Remembrance' and a wrong date of death shows scant respect by his parents to somebody who is so genuinly respected by many.
A more fitting epitaph might be, "There was absolutely nothing wrong with him that a little extra love and understanding couldn't have cured" – a statement from George Harrison shortly after Brian's death.
Finally; without Brian Jones, there never would have been a band called the Rolling Stones.