Name at birth: Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones
In May of 1962, Brian Jones placed an ad in the English paper Jazz News seeking musicians for a new blues band. Shortly thereafter he formed The Rolling Stones, one of rock ’n roll’s biggest and most enduring bands. Brian Jones was born during World War II in Cheltenham in south-central England. He grew up playing guitar and as a teen fell for the music of American blues musicians like Muddy Waters. In 1962 he recruited singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts and named the band The Rolling Stones. After gigging in and around London, the band caught on nationally, and in 1965 their megahit “Satisfaction” made them international stars. Boyish and blonde, Jones was a favorite with female fans and a talented multi-instrumentalist, even playing the sitar on the band’s hit “Paint It Black.” But he also led the group in bad-boy behavior; his drinking and drugging made him an early prototype of the out-of-control rock star. By 1969, as the Daily Telegraph later put it, “his appetite for drink and drugs left him often incapable of playing in the studio and he was certainly in no condition to go on the road.” That June the Rolling Stones kicked him out of the band, and he was replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor. A month later, Brian Jones drowned in the swimming pool at his home, Cotchford Farm, after a night of drinking and drugs. Although rumors of suicide or murder have surrounded his death since, the coroner ruled it “death by misadventure” — that is, accidental. Jones was just 27 when he died.
Brian Jones died 17 days before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon… Brian Jones was never married, but had five children by five different women between 1959 and 1965… Brian Jones’s house, Cotchford Farm, had once been owned by A.A. Milne, the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories.