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“Paint It Black”

Posted by purplemary54 on July 3, 2013

Today is the anniversary of Brian Jones’ death.  The founding Rolling Stones guitarist was found at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm, his estate in England.  (Cotchford Farm had originally been the home of A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh and various related titles.)  While Jones’ death was ruled accidental (“death by misadventure,” I think it was called), there have always been rumors that he was murdered.  Personally, I don’t think so.  Brian was a mess after he was booted from the Stones; heck, he was a mess for quite some time before he left the band.  The Rolling Stones’ management (Andrew Loog Oldham) had pushed Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to the forefront, capitalizing on their charisma and chemistry.  Brian Jones had founded the band as a British blues act, but they started leaving the blues behind and moved to the rock sound we all recognize today.  (It didn’t help that Oldham was a controlling bastard, but that’s a different story.)  It wasn’t the vision Jones had for his band, and he found himself increasingly marginalized until he was basically forced out.

Brian Jones was one of those remarkably talented, but terribly troubled musicians that England seems to specialize in.  He was a blues aficionado, but he’d begun to branch out into world music (hence, the sitar).  It’s hard to say whether or not he’d have accomplished much outside of the Stones.  He’d reportedly been contacting other musicians to form a new band, but who knows how serious it was or what would’ve come from it.  I do know that there’s something so sadly compelling about his story.  He just seemed to be searching for someplace to belong.


6 Responses to ““Paint It Black””

  1. I think his contributions to the band have been so overlooked and marginalized. Yes, he had problems but we will never know what he may have done next. He was a gifted musician that transformed many of their songs by his arrangements and additions of quirky instruments. Ruby Tuesday without the recorder? Brian actually deserved writing credit for that one.
    It is interesting to me that to this day his band mates are dismissive of his legacy. Keith’s take in his book, Life, is factually incorrect. He calls Brian a sideman and says that the Stones were Stu’s band (Ian Stewart). Stu was the first musician Brian hired to be in his band! I wonder why, when usually with time comes clarity and a willingness to forgive and be kinder, Keith is still so full of venom toward Brian. It is also interesting to note that Keith’s heroin addiction and the trouble that caused was never a reason to toss him out during the 70’s. When Mick and Keith took control it was over for Brian. Very sad, he contributed so much to music and many people have no idea who he is.

    • I think Keith’s brain is pretty addled, frankly. Between years of substance abuse and a head injury several years ago, I’m not so sure he remembers anything correctly anymore. But it is important to remember that Andrew Loog Oldham had a lot to do with what happened with Brian. He played them against each other to some degree, and really changed the direction of the band.

  2. Yes he did… but they went along.

  3. I think it is much more than young and stupid. Controlling egomaniacs. The blame can not simply be laid at Brian’s feet. He was down and they kicked him hard. That they still can’t acknowledge how important he was to their success is pathetic.

    • I think they all share a piece of the blame, frankly. While Brian suffered the most from the situation, he played a role in it. Whatever the others say publicly may not be what they think privately. And like I said before, I don’t actually trust anything that Keith says because he’s basically pickled at this point. Mick is a self-absorbed jerk, so I haven’t listened to anything he’s said in 20 years. But Brian, for all his talent, is not a saintly, innocent victim of a conspiracy to remove him from history. Hindsight is 20/20, and if any of them had a clue that leaving the Stones might indirectly lead to Brian’s death, then I’m sure they would’ve done something to help him.

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