Bryan Jones

Bryan Jones

Founder, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist in the famous British rock band The Rolling Stones.
Date of Birth: 28.02.1942
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Brian Jones
  2. Early Life
  3. Musical Career

Biography of Brian Jones

Brian Jones, born Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones on February 28, 1942, was the founder, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and backing vocalist of the famous British rock band The Rolling Stones. He gained fame for his musical talent in redirecting melody in an unconventional direction, his vibrant fashion sense, and his drug addiction. His death at the age of 27 made him one of the first musicians to join the infamous "Club 27".

Bryan Jones

Early Life

Jones was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, during World War II and suffered from asthma throughout his life. His parents, Lewis Blount and Louisa Beatrice Jones, were Welsh descendants and belonged to the middle-class. Jones had two sisters, Pamela (October 3, 1943 – October 14, 1945), who died of leukemia, and Barbara, born in 1946. Jones' parents had a deep passion for music, which greatly influenced him. His father, an engineer, played the piano and organ and sang in the local church choir. His mother was a music teacher who started teaching him to play the piano at a young age. Jones later picked up the clarinet and played as the first clarinetist in the school orchestra at the age of 14.

Bryan Jones

Musical Career

In 1957, Jones discovered the recordings of jazz musician Charlie Parker, which sparked his interest in jazz. He convinced his parents to buy him a saxophone, and he began learning to play multiple instruments. In 1959, on his seventeenth birthday, his parents gifted him his first guitar.

Bryan Jones

In school, Jones was known as a diligent student, excelling in all subjects. He was also involved in badminton and diving but did not achieve much success in sports. He rebelled against the strictness and formality of the school system, refusing to wear the school uniform and causing trouble for his teachers. Despite this, he became popular among his peers, while school authorities tried to control his behavior.

Bryan Jones

Jones was expelled from school and his home after impregnating his girlfriend Valerie at the age of 17. He embarked on a journey across Northern Europe, including Scandinavian countries. During this time, he earned money playing guitar on the streets. His son Simon, born out of wedlock, never met his biological father. Stories of Jones' travels are conflicting, with some friends claiming he lived with relatives outside of Britain. Jones himself claimed to have lived without money, friends, a home, and family after leaving the country.

Upon his return, Jones' musical tastes changed. While initially influenced by classical music, he developed an interest in blues, country, jazz, and rock and roll. He continued to live a carefree life, playing in local blues and jazz clubs and spending his earnings on new instruments. He often lost his jobs due to his habit of borrowing small amounts of money for cigarettes.

Despite his troubled past, Jones did not attempt to change his lifestyle. He had another illegitimate child, Julian Mark Andrews, in October 1961, with Pat Andrews. On his son's birthday, Jones sold his record collection to buy flowers for Pat and clothes for the newborn. They lived together for some time before parting ways.

Jones eventually left his hometown and settled in London, where he met musicians such as Alexis Korner, future Manfred Mann vocalist Paul Jones, future Cream bassist Jack Bruce, and other members of the emerging rhythm and blues scene, which later became The Rolling Stones. He became a professional bluesman, jokingly calling himself "Elmo Lewis," and Bill Wyman claimed that Jones was the first British slide guitarist.

In the spring of 1962, Jones invited Ian "Stu" Stewart and vocalist Mick Jagger to join his band. Mick Jagger first heard Jones play while with his childhood friend Keith Richards at the Ealing Club, where Jones performed with Alexis Korner's band and vocalist Paul Jones. Jagger brought Richards to rehearsals, leading to Richards joining the band. Jones and Stewart embraced Richards' interest in Chuck Berry's songs, merging them with the playing style of Geoff Bradford and Brian Knight, the latter of whom disliked Berry. Richards credited Jones for coming up with the name "The Rollin' Stones" (later with a 'g'), inspired by Muddy Waters' song.

The Rolling Stones' first performance took place on July 12, 1962, at the Marquee Club in London, with Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, bassist Dick Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman. Over the next few years, Jones, Jagger, and Richards spent most of their time together in a house in Chelsea, where they worked on their music and listened to blues records. Jones took charge of promotions, organizing concerts, and negotiating with venue owners, while also singing and playing multiple instruments.

As The Rolling Stones' fame grew, they caught the attention of Andrew Loog Oldham, who had previous experience as a publicist for The Beatles. Inspired by the novel "A Clockwork Orange" and the film "Expresso Bongo," Oldham aimed to create a rougher, bluesier alternative to the friendlier Beatles. He coined the famous phrase, "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?"

Oldham's arrival marked a gradual alienation of Jones from the band, as Oldham aimed to shift leadership from Jones to Jagger and Richards. During this time, many songs in the band's repertoire were credited to Nanker Phelge, a pseudonym representing collaborative efforts from Jagger, Jones, Richards, Watts, and Wyman.

Jones became a father for the third time in July 1964, out of wedlock once again, with Linda Lawrence. He named his son Julian Brian Lawrence.

Throughout his career, Jones showcased his exceptional musical abilities by playing various instruments such as guitar, sitar, organ, mellotron, flute, harmonica, and more. He contributed to the band's unique sound and played a crucial role in shaping their style in the 1960s. However, as time went on, Jones' role in the band diminished, and Jagger and Richards took on more control.

Jones purchased Cotchford Farm in East Sussex in November 1968, where the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, had previously lived.

The pressures of touring, money, fame, and the growing distance within the band took a toll on Brian Jones. In the end, it led to his eventual departure from the band.