What Happened to Brian Jones?

In his book titled Brian Jones The Making of the Rolling Stones, Paul Trynka wrote: Brian Jones got many things wrong in his life, but the most important thing he got right, for his music was world-changing. 

Brian Jones was born to a middle-class family in Chelfenham, England. He was known as a pretty boy trouble maker in his town. After getting his teenage married girlfriend pregnant at the age of 19, he packed up his guitar and left for London.

Soon after entering London, he met Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. He convinced them to start a band. He named the band The Rolling Stones and was considered the leader of this new band. After establishing the band, Jones began drinking heavily and experimenting with drugs. Jones’ resulting mood swings and volatile temper both angered and frustrated Jagger and Richards. The final blow to the relationship was when Jones’ girlfriend Anita Pallenburg left him for Richards. The band knew that Jones could no longer be a productive member of the band and decided that he had to go.

So what was Brian Jones artistic contribution to the Rolling Stones? First of all he was a genius guitar player among other instruments. He was known for his slide guitar skills and his backward guitar solos. His musical genius can be heard throughout the song Under My Thumb (playing the marimba).The sound he created on this track was considered the start of the band’s “adventurous” period. Most of the riffs in 19th Nervous Breakdown recorded in 1966 can be attributed to Jones. The main riff heard on Mother’s Little Helper was played by Jones on 12 string guitar with a slide. Jones played the piano that underlines the verses in the song Ruby Tuesday. He also played the sitar for the main riff of Paint it Black. He also plays the haunting percussion that can be heard throughout the song. Despite his musical genius, his heavy drinking and drug use had severely affected his ability to create music and continue to play with the Stones. Jagger and Richards approached Jones on June 8 and told him he had to leave the band. He was offered a payoff from The Stones of one lump sum payment of roughly $140,000 and monthly payments of $28,000.

Jones decided to retreat to his estate, Cotchford Farm in Sussex, England, to ponder the offer. Jones’ Swedish girlfriend , Anna Wohlin, also resided at Cotchford Farm. Jones’ had a hired hand by the name Frank Thorogood that did construction around the estate. It was known that Jones’ and Thorogood were often in disputes about how much money Jones owed him. During the late night hours of June 2, 1969, Jones, Wohlin, and Thorogood were hanging out by the swimming pool. They had all three been swimming on and off during that day. Shortly before midnight, Wohlin went into the house for a brief period (15-20 minutes) and when she returned Jones was found unresponsive in the pool. Wohlin and Thorogood pulled Jones from the pool and attempted to resuscitate him but the medical crew pronounced him dead upon arrival. Less than one month after the Rolling Stones booted him from the band he formed, Jones was dead at the age of 27. The autopsy found alcohol and traces of drugs in Jones’ body and the pathologist reported the cause of death was “Death by Misadventure”. Anna Wohlin felt differently. She was adamant with authorities that Jones’ death was accidentally or intentionally caused by Frank Thorogood. To this day Brian Jones’ death remains a mystery.



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