The Stones and Brian Jones
The Stones and Brian Jones
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The Stones and Brian Jones examines the musical creativity of Jones, the secret to the band's success, through candid interviews with all the essential performers and previously unreleased archive.
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The Stone That Faded Away
In 1982 Charles Fleischer said 'If you remember the sixties, you really weren't there' as he was born in 1950 he was. I was also born around that time when rationing was still in place, utility furniture, mainly radio, television if you were from a more affluent family, black & white films just dreary and bleak. The Swinging Sixties coined by Time magazine was mainly confined to London and the South East, but it did reach everyone living in the provinces where many cities like Liverpool began producing Pop Groups coming from Birmingham, Manchester, and Newcastle. However, the Liverpool Merseybeat was the most prominent in the early sixties beginning very quietly with The Beatles single release of Love Me Do in 1962 which reached 17 in the Top Twenty. So when we were at school in our early teens we had the influences of Skiffle, Instrumental Groups, Rock & Roll, Trad Jazz and the usual crooners for our Parents. Until the break out of the Merseybeat boom then along came The Rolling Stones with their Rhythm & Blues, Soul & Motown covers and The Animals and The Yardbirds also focused on R&B and Blues. Brian Jones was my favorite original Stone sidelined before the end of the decade and probably not known at all by many Stone's fans today. Don't forget The Rolling Stones today is a business which began when Andrew Loog Oldham previously a gopher for Mary Quant became their manager and also saw the £1 signs in his eyes. Brian Jones though was the one who established The Band and also named it after the Muddy Waters song Rollin' Stone worked hard for it in the beginning and pushed it forward. Also, don't forget that he had previously worked with Alexis Korner beforehand and had also formed a Band with Paul Jones before he went on and joined Manfred Mann. Brian Jones wasn't a songwriter, but he was an multi-instrumentalist and his contributions to early Stones recordings are many, slide guitar, dulcimer, sitar, flute, harmonica, drums, piano, bass, saxophone the list goes on. As former Stone Bill Wyman in this documentary illustrates, I think Bill being older had a soft spot for Brian and looked out for him more than the others did. Brian comes over to me as an introverted-extrovert he had the ability to lead in the beginning, share his previous experience and knowledge of playing guitar and harmonica with both Mick and Keith. Let's not forget that apart from Charlie they were all into the sex, drugs and rock & roll of that time well before Ian Dury came up with it, so the recall accuracy of the other Band members can be questioned. Yes, Brian Jones was addicted to alcohol and drugs as was Marianne Faithfull and both couldn't handle it, so when they say that Brian was 'cruel' ask yourself what were they doing when they were tormenting him? As for the womanising and subsequent children was he also the lone Stone on that score as well, no, he wasn't. The truth was the Stones needed to tour because they needed the money Allen Klein took over as manager bad news for The Beatles and The Stones and Brian had to go as he wasn't fit and wouldn't get a work permit for The States because of his drug offenses. There is also alternative evidence from friends that still supported Brian that he wasn't all depressed and cut up after leaving the Stones at all. Like Eric Clapton he didn't like the move The Stones had made away from standard Rhythm & Blues into more mainstream pop hits mainly for the money they were making as songwriters. Brian Jones was used, abused then abandoned and became another casualty of the Beat Generation and a great loss to music.
You don't always want what you get
Brain Jones founded the Rolling Stones. He was shy, sexually attractive (and careless with it),and increasingly unhappy for not being Mick Jagger. Kicked out of the band for a level of drug abuse that made him unreliable, he died young a short while later. Nick Broomfield's film is a sympathetic account of his life that doesn't hide from the fact he wasn't always a nice person to be around, and a sad lesson of the perils of getting what you might have thought you wanted. The film relies quite a lot on Bill Wyman, but Wyman actually provides some perspective that those who stayed in the band for longer perhaps would not provide. It's an elegaic portrait of an ultimately tragic life.