His Majesty Prince Jones…

Rest in peace.

Rest in peace.

Today is July 3nd. On this day in 1969, around midnight, Rolling Stones founder, namer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. He was 27.

Brian’s story is one of rock’s saddest tragedies. He was the founding Stone; he named them; he was their original “bad boy”. It was his persistence that helped them in the early days. He introduced them to the blues. But soon enough, Brian became ostracised from his band. His mental and physical health began to decline, leading to his untimely death.

Brian as a child

Brian as a child

Brian Jones was born on the 28th of February, 1942, in Cheltenham, England. He had two sisters, Pamela and Barbara. Pamela died when Brian was 3, of leukaemia.

Brian was a very intelligent kid. He had an IQ of 135. He excelled in school. Brian’s parents were both interested in music, and sent him to music lessons from an early age, translating their interest to their son.

When he was 15, Brian discovered jazz, changing him forever. He picked up saxophone and would soon begin guitar, foreshadowing his multi-instrumental genius with The Stones. He began to hang out in coffee clubs in Cheltenham, and played shows in many of them, too. His parents, however, did not approve of this.

Brian’s attitude also changed around this period. Although he had enjoyed school as a child, he grew tired of its sense of authority and conformity. He rebelled, leading to suspension on a couple of occasions. Brian’s attitude and musical passion made him somewhat of a loner. An ex from that period commented that “a lot of people didn’t understand him”. However, he still managed to get good grades, earning 9 O-levels and 2 A-levels.

Brian moved out of home at 17. He had fathered a string of illegitimate children, and — after quitting school  — spent the Summer travelling through Europe. Living on money from busking with his guitar, his cash eventually ran out and he returned to Cheltenham.

The Stones in 1962.

The Stones in 1962.

In 1962, Brian moved to London. He became entranced with the blues, and befriended musician Alexis Korner, who would stay a friend for the rest of his life. But perhaps the most defining moment of this period was when he placed an ad in the Jazz News, looking for members for an R&B band, which he named after Muddy Waters’ ‘Rollin’ Stone’. This caught the attention of two teenagers named Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. They went to see Brian play at Korner’s club, and were blown away by his magnificent slide guitar work on Elmore James’s ‘Dust My Broom’. Brian brought Mick and Keith into his band, and begun sharing a flat with them at 102 Edith Grove. After a succession of bassists and drummers — including future Pretty Thing Dick Taylor and, allegedly, future Kink Mick Avory — Brian settled on Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. The Stones were ready to become one of the biggest bands of the ’60s.

102 Edith Grove.

102 Edith Grove.

Around this time, Andrew Loog Oldham began managing The Stones with soon-to-be-ousted Eric Easton. Brian had been fulfilling this position until that point, and had been paying himself 5 pounds more for the job. The other Stones were not too pleased about this, to say the least, beginning the alienation between Brian and The Stones.

It didn’t take long for The Stones to become big. They released a few singles; adding his famous slide guitar to the Lennon/McCartney-written ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, adding some awesome harmonica to ‘Not Fade Away’. They released their self-titled debut (still a very Brian-lead affair) in 1964. However, Oldham decided that Mick would make a better “leader” of The Stones (a position also fulfilled by Brian ’till this point), and set out to make this so. And, in an attempt to equal the success of The Beatles, Oldham made Mick and Keith begin writing songs together, reducing Brian’s role in the band. (Though Brian wrote a film soundtrack, the melodies for ‘The Last Time’, ‘Paint It Black’ and ‘Under My Thumb’ and allegedly wrote ‘Ruby Tuesday’ with Keith, The Stones never recorded a song he wrote by himself.) The Oldham-Jagger-Richards troika took over from Brian as The Stones’ leader. They treated him horribly, and Brian soon became an outsider in the band he’d started. One scenario of such treatment is recounted in Paul Trynka’s excellent Brian biography: Brian was told to come into the studio to record ‘Little Red Rooster’, one day. However, he got to the studio only to discover that the other Stones had recorded their parts without him, and he was left to add overdubs. Though it was in part his fault, I feel that their treatment of him was particularly cruel and unnecessary.

Brian playing slide.

Brian playing slide.

Despite this, Brian added some simply stellar touches to The Stones’ catalogue, earning him the place as (arguably) the band’s greatest musician. He has been described by many as a bit of a musical genius. Some of his contributions include the marimba on ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘Out Of Time’; the sitar on ‘Paint It Black’ and ‘Street Fighting Man’; the Appalachian dulcimer on ‘Lady Jane’ and ‘I Am Waiting’; the Mellotron on ‘2000 Light Years From Home’, ‘We Love You’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’; recorder on ‘Ruby Tuesday’; saxophone on ‘Dandelion’… Not even mentioning his harmonica and slide guitar. Brian certainly had the ability to turn a good song into a classic!

Brian’s multi-instrumental-ism was not limited to The Stones, either. You know the saxophone on The Beatles’ ‘You Know My Name’? That’s Brian. It’s been argued that the oboe in ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ is him, too. He also sang backing vocals on ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’, on which he also clinked glasses. Brian was a good friend of The Beatles: he was particularly close to George, though was friendly with John and Paul, too.

brian and george 2

George and Brian.

However, as The Stones grew bigger, Brian’s demise began. The alienation he suffered from The Stones sent him into depression. To deal with his mental health issues, Brian started using drugs, and soon became addicted. Andrew continued to shine the spotlight on Mick + Keith and ignored Brian, which can’t have helped his already-underlying insecurity.

Around this period, Brian met Italian actress and model Anita Pallenberg. Together, they formed one of the most famous rock couples at the time, and were an icon of the blossoming counterculture. However, it was not to last. During Mick, Keith and Brian’s infamous trip to Morocco in 1967, Brian had been admitted to a hospital in France. Whilst he was gone, Keith and Anita had already begun a relationship. And when Brian rejoined the party in Morocco, Anita broke up with him and went to Keith after one too many fights. Brian was left stranded in the foreign country when Mick and Keith left unexpectedly. Already damaged, Brian’s mental health took a severe turn for the worse after the trip. And though Mick, Keith and Brian hadn’t been overly close since the 5 pound incident, they were never really friends, after Morocco.

Brian and Anita.

Brian and Anita.

By that time, Swinging London was a place of psychedelia. The Stones recorded AftermathBetween The Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. Brian’s musicality is particularly evident on that trio (my favourite of the band’s work), and his skills added a certain psychedelic element to a number of tunes. Though many fans dislike Satanic Majesties, I’ve always enjoyed it for the magnificent instrumentation. Brian’s dress-sense also became quite psychedelic in this period. Always valuing style, he became a regular at the London boutiques and quickly turned into a style icon. Brian also went to Monterey Pop Festival, and introduced the Jimi Hendrix Experience, cementing his place in psychedelic history. (The title from this post is taken from The Animals’ song ‘Monterey’.)

Brian at Monterey.

Brian at Monterey.

Brian also wrote and recorded the soundtrack to A Degree of Murder, a film that Anita was in. Brian would also soon return to Morocco and record an album of the Master Musicians of Joujouka. The album would be released in 1971.

But Brian’s personal life was not getting any better. He was busted for drugs on the same night as Mick and Keith’s infamous ‘Redlands’ incident. However, though ‘Redlands’ made Mick and Keith into even stronger figures, Brian crumpled. Not long after, he was treated for a nervous breakdown. He spent a night in jail for possession and allowing weed to be smoked on his property, but was discharged with a fine and an order to seek professional help for his drug problem. Brian would be busted again, in 1968, which would be one of the final straws for his declining health.

Brian was becoming increasingly unreliable. He would turn up to the studio stoned, or in too bad a place to play — if he turned up at all. However, his mark can still be found on The Stones’ next album, Beggar’s Banquet. Arguably the best of these is his beautifully emotive slide guitar on ‘No Expectations’. In a way, the lyrics could be seen to be referring to Brian’s fall. But his guitar performance is simply amazing. It’s been referred to as his swan song.

Still, The Stones had almost completely marginalised Brian. And he’d become too depressed and addicted to add much. However, unlike the similar scenario that went on with Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, The Stones didn’t really care. Which I find to be a horrible shame. Brian couldn’t tour legally, either, ‘cos of his possession record. On the 8th of June, 1969, Mick, Keith and Charlie went to Brian’s recently purchased Cotchford Farm (the former home of A. A. Milne), and informed him that he’d been replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor.

And just under a month later, just before midnight, Brian drowned in his swimming pool. Some say it was murder or manslaughter. Some say it was suicide. Some say it was “death by misadventure”, as his death certificate reads. Brian’s funeral was on the 10th of July. The only Stones to attend were Bill and Charlie. The band paid tribute to him at their famous Hyde Park Concert, where Mick read out ‘Adonais’ by Percy Shelley and thousands of butterflies were released in his memory.

The last pictures taken of Brian.

The last pictures taken of Brian.

In the aftermath of Brian’s death, many of his contemporaries paid tribute to him, too. Jimi Hendrix dedicated a song to him at one of his performances. Pete Townshend wrote a short poem to his old friend called ‘A Normal Day For Brian, A Man Who Died Every Day’. Jim Morrison also wrote a poem titled ‘Ode To LA While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased’, and wrote a song for him called ‘Tightrope Ride’. (Ray Manzarek changed the lyrics after Jim died, so they would refer to both Brian and Jim. Ironically, he died precisely two years after Brian, also at 27.)

Brian was one of the first members of the ’27 Club’, a group of people who died at 27. (Other “club members” include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and more recently, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.) The penultimate track on The Stones’ 1972 double album Exile on Main Street, Shine A Light, was written by Mick about his demise. Brian’s referenced in the name of indie band The Brian Jonestown Massacre. And many underground musicians have referenced him in their songs, including Robyn Hitchcock, The Drovers, Psychic TV and Tigers Jaw. In a way, Brian has become an underground figure, despite his associations with one of the biggest bands on Earth.

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Brian was a very complex guy. By many accounts, he could be sweet + shy one minute, and arrogant + manipulative the next. But still, he was a wonderful musician. He also had wonderful fashion taste, and helped create a more feminine look acceptable for men. And though The Stones have rarely talked positively of him recently, many others have talked of his influence. There must be a reason why others have said nice things about him. His death is incredibly heartbreaking, and not just because a life was lost. He could have gone on to do so many great things. He could have begun a new chapter of his life. But sadly, he never got the chance. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know who Brian was (my dad’s a Stones fan), and he’s fascinated me since I was a child.

So rest in peace, Brian. We’ll never forget you.

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John and Paul: The David Bailey Photoshoot

 

Here's some Beatles street-art I found in Town - in a little alleyway off Rundle Street, next to a Beatnik-ish record shop and the Palace Nova cinema, if you know Adelaide.

Here’s some Beatles street-art I found in Town – in a little alleyway off Rundle Street, next to a Beatnik-ish record shop and the Palace Nova cinema, if you know Adelaide.

(A close-up.) Sadly, some person decided to vandalise poor Paul, John and Ringo - at least they left George alone!

(A close-up.) Sadly, some person decided to vandalise poor Paul, John and Ringo – at least they left George alone!

 

Hey Jude/Bulldog/everyone reading this,

Today is my last day of school holidays – 😦 – and I’m wearing my Yellow Submarine t-shirt, plus listening to Mind Games for the first time. I know many people aren’t huge fans of John’s 1973 release, but I really like it, so far! Thanks, Johnny. But anyway, I wasn’t too sure what to do today (I have a big list of potential posts written up, which I consult when I don’t know what to do – however, there are TOO MANY ideas!), so – as you can probably guess after reading my bracket-enclosed notes – I consulted my list. And I found this idea! As many people reading this will know, David Bailey is a famous photographer from the 1960s, who’s done people such as Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton, Kate Moss, Jude Law, Oasis (those copycats!) and Bill Wyman (yes, they’re all either models or Rolling Stones – except for Jude Law and Oasis – but Google isn’t being very helpful). And being such a famous photographer, it’s only natural that he photographed the best songwriting duo in the history of the world (in my opinion, anyway…)! On the twenty-first of January, 1965, these beautiful shots of John and Paul were taken in Bailey’s London studio. Bailey has famously said that he dislikes The Beatles (apparently The Stones are a-gazillion times better, according to him – I’m obviously on The Beatles’ side, but I like The Stones, too), and has called John a ‘f**ker’ and Paul ‘the nicest guy in the world’ (sarcastically, I assume) in recent interviews, so I didn’t think too much of him at first. But he is a very talented photographer, and has taken some of the best John/Paul pictures ever (and an incredible amount for someone who apparently hates The Beatles), so I’ll ignore his views. So here we are – enjoy!

 

John and Paul, together

Don't they look gorgeous? John looks very attractive in these photos!

Don’t they look gorgeous? John looks very attractive in these photos!

I love the hands in this one - I'm re-doing my bedroom at the moment, and I'm going to print out a couple of these 'proof-sheets' to put up, somewhere. This is going to be one of them!

I love the hands in this one – I’m re-doing my bedroom at the moment, and I’m going to print out a couple of these ‘proof-sheets’ to put up, somewhere. This is going to be one of them!

Slightest bit of tension here, but that seems to disappear...

Slightest bit of tension here, but that seems to disappear…

I think everyone knows this picture - this is the main focus of my gorgeous JL/PM tee, which I now know is a David Bailey proof-sheet! McLennon believers also seem to think that this photo proves that John and Paul were secret lovers - hmm...

I think everyone knows this picture – this is the main focus of my gorgeous JL/PM tee, which I now know is a David Bailey proof-sheet! McLennon believers also seem to think that this photo proves that John and Paul were secret lovers – hmm…

It's hard to explain what I feel when I see this - it just conveys this unspoken understanding and closeness between the two. Maybe I'm just reading too far into things, but does anyone else feel the same?

It’s hard to explain what I feel when I see this – it just conveys this unspoken understanding and closeness between the two. Maybe I’m just reading too far into things, but does anyone else feel the same?

 

Just John

 

Oh my, John - oh my! I officially proclaim John Winston Lennon the most attractive man to have ever lived! :-)

Oh my, John – oh my! I officially proclaim John Winston Lennon the most attractive man to have ever lived! 🙂

Standing up with perfect posture!

Standing up with perfect posture!

Not-perfect-posture this time, but what does that matter?!

Not-perfect-posture this time, but what does that matter?!

 

Just Paul

 

Paul looks good in a kaftan! Must have had a change of clothes...

Paul looks good in a kaftan! Must have had a change of clothes…

Paul with a ladder!

Paul with a ladder! Can’t really imagine him being handy, but then, I can’t do that with John, George or Ringo, either!

This is supposedly taken by Bailey, but I've never seen it before (not that necessarily means anything). It does look Bailey-esque, though, so I'll trust the website I sourced it from...

This is supposedly taken by Bailey, but I’ve never seen it before (not that necessarily means anything). It does look Bailey-esque, though, so I’ll trust the website I sourced it from…

 

Oh, and…

 

Aww! :-)

Aww! 🙂

 

So there you have it – David Bailey’s photos of John and Paul in a nutshell (that cliché’s getting old, tangerinetrees99), if you like!

Oh, and if you live in the UK (not sure if I’ve got any UK readers), today’s the day to go rushing out to buy A Hard Day’s Night! And talking of AHDN, GUESS WHAT SHIPPED ON SATURDAY?!?! Sorry – bad grammar – but I think that announcement is worthy of capitals! It shipped a few days early (I thought it would ship today), and the expected arrival date is next Monday. Look out for a ‘Thank You Mr. Postman’ post, but somehow, I expect it might be titled ‘GUESS WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL?!?!?!’ ! I’ll do a review on the BluRay, too, so it won’t be too much fangirling.

Something Beatle-y came in the mail today, too – a Beatles clock that I ordered off Etsy, after seeing it in Melbourne back a couple of weeks ago! I won’t do a ‘TYMP’ post, ‘cos a) I need to assemble the clock hands, and b) it’s not original 1960s memorabilia (as everything else I’ve posted about is), but here’s a picture:

clock

Oh, and on Friday, I’m going to a Beatles tribute called the White Album Concert! Four renowned Aussie musos (Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Tim Rodgers and Josh Pyke) are coming together to tour around Australia singing The Beatles – a.k.a. The White Album – in full (including, erm, ‘Revolution #9’)! I believe that they’ve already done their Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney dates, and that their shows in Canberra and here – Adelaide – are sold out (we got presale tickets back in April!), but if you live in Woollongong (a place in New South Wales, if you’re not familiar with Australia) or Perth, you can still get seats. For those of you that live elsewhere (nationally or internationally), you can read all about the show plus buy their CD from their 2009 tour here (you can also buy the tickets if you – by chance – live in one of the above places). I’ll be sure to write up on it on Saturday!

So have a lovely rest of your day, and good day sunshine! 🙂