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Old 03-13-2020, 04:31 PM
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Opinions of Brian Jones (deceased founder of The Rolling Stones)?


For those who are unaware, Brian Jones founded and named The Rolling Stones in 1962 and he hired Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Several drummers and bass players cycled in and out of the band until they settled on Charlie Watts on drums and Bill Wyman on bass guitar in early 1963.

Brian was initially the leader of the band. He worked very hard (according to multiple people) to get the band their earliest gigs and to get them signed. He also according to Bill Wyman chose the songs they played. He considered himself the leader and traveled seperately at times and also at times took a higher percentage.

Later in 1963, however, the band was signed and their manager became Andrew Loog Oldham. Brian, while an amazing arranger and instrumental song writer, did not have pop song writing chops, and gradually leadership of the band shifted to Mick Jagger and Richards. Also, Oldham mandated that Ian Stewart be fired as his image didn't fit the band; He was thus fired but kept on as an unofficial band member and road manager.

Despite being sidelined as leader, Brian was, along with Keith, the primary musical factor in the band (Mick didn't learn guitar until the end of the 1960s). He played rhythm and lead guitar and harmonica on their first four albums from 1964-1965, and then starting in 1966 he began to experiment with non-guitar instruments. He would end up playing 25 instruments on Rolling Stones' albums in total. He played on 9 Stones' albums in total. However, in late 1968 he began to suffer from serious drug addiction issues and disinterest in the band and mutually parted from The Rolling Stones on June 3rd 1969. He died a month later on July 3rd 1969, at age 27.

He was known as a fashion icon in his time and was admired by other musicians such as Jim Morrison and was a personal friend of Jimi Hendrix, who he introduced at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. He plays on All Along the Watch Tower.

That said, he was not without demons. He could be a very sweet and sensitive person, but also vicious and cruel. He was abusive to his girlfriends. He had an addiction to alcohol and then began abusing sleeping pills and Mandrax in 1968 after being arrested in May 1968 for Pot possession.

Notable contributions by Brian Jones include:

1963-1965
Slide guitar on Little Red Rooster
Rhythm Guitar on Around and Around
Rhythm Guitar on Carol
Slide/Lead Guitar on I Wanna Be Your Man
Slide guitar on King Bee
Lead Guitar on Mona
Lead Guitar on Tell Me
Rhythm Guitar on Time Is On My Side
Rhythm Guitar on Heart of Stone
Rhythm guitar on It's All Over Now
Harmonica on Not Fade Away
Rhythm Guitar on The Spider and The Fly
Lead Guitar on 19th Nervous Breakdown
Lead Guitar on Get Off My Cloud
Lead Guitar/Riff on The Last Time

1965-1969
Sitar & Acoustic Guitar on Paint It Black
Dulcimer on Lady Jane
Dulcimer on I Am Waiting
Marimbas on Under My Thumb
Marimbas on Out of Time
Rhythm Guitar on Please Go Home
Rhythm Guitar on Miss Amanda Jones
Lead Guitar on Sittin' On A Fence
Trombone on Something Happened To Me Yesterday
Piano & Recorder on Ruby Tuesday
Mellotron on We Love You
Soprano Saxophone & Organ on Dandelion
Concert Harp on Acid in the Grass
Mellotron on 2000 Light Years From Home
Mellotron on She's A Rainbow
Organ on The Lantern
Mellotron, Flute & Soprano Saxophone on Citadel
Electric Dulcimer on Gomper
Rhythm Guitar on Jumpin' Jack Flash
Soprano Saxophone on Child of the Moon
Sitar & Tanpura on Street Fightin' Man
Mellotron on Jig-Saw Puzzle
Harmonica & Rhythm Acoustic Guitar on Parachute Woman
Harmonica on Dear Doctor
Harmonica on Prodigal Son
Mellotron on Stray Cat Blues
Slide Guitar on No Expectations
Autoharp on You Got the Silver
Percussion on Midnight Rambler

Opinions on him?

Last edited by Kennedy1960; 03-13-2020 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:40 PM
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A great leader for a Blues cover band. Not so much for an original Rock band. I think his greatest asset was as a multi-instrumentalist but the Stones really didn't need one of those. If he survived, it would have been interesting to hear him try his hand at an entirely solo album like McCartney's first album, but Jones might not have had the composer chops for that.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
A great leader for a Blues cover band. Not so much for an original Rock band. I think his greatest asset was as a multi-instrumentalist but the Stones really didn't need one of those. If he survived, it would have been interesting to hear him try his hand at an entirely solo album like McCartney's first album, but Jones might not have had the composer chops for that.
He did have composer chops - he wrote a soundtrack by himself and performs most of the instruments (with Jimmy Page on guitar). Thing is, he wasn't a very CONFIDENT writer. He would record tape after tape of songs only to destroy them, and he felt very insecure about showing anything he ever did write to the Stones. But the soundtrack is out there. A Degree of Murder. The stuff he did present to the band, Keith Richards called them "dirges of doom", and said you'd need a Welsh choir to do them right. Linda Keith compared the songs he showed her to Donovan's material.

As far as the multi-instrumentalism, I disagree...Without it, there's No Paint it Black, no Ruby Tuesday. Glyn Johns, their engineer from 1965 to 1974, said his musicianship took the song 2000 Light Years from Home from being in his words "from chalk to cheese."

As far as his future: He was VERY into CCR in the last months of his life, and wanted to form a new band playing the style of music they were in 1969.

Last edited by Kennedy1960; 03-13-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
A great leader for a Blues cover band. Not so much for an original Rock band. I think his greatest asset was as a multi-instrumentalist but the Stones really didn't need one of those. If he survived, it would have been interesting to hear him try his hand at an entirely solo album like McCartney's first album, but Jones might not have had the composer chops for that.
Also I'd say he was a good rhythm guitar player. On one of their early originals, he's the chunky rhythm guitar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdjjPzuZsU8
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:52 PM
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Sittin' on A Fence where he plays lead:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lBLxaIOZG4

A live demo of Jumpin' Jack Flash where he is the higher pitched guitar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiwAvE45kgQ
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:54 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur-yMil88fU

Rhythm guitar here. He's the guitar that sounds like peck, peck, peck during the verses, chords during the chorus, and then the 'dueling' rhythm with Keith's solo.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:12 PM
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Man, you must really like Brian Jones.

He is a very important figure in rock history for creating the Rolling Stones and influencing its "psychedelic" period. He was a decent( not outstanding necessarily, but certainly competent )musician, with a laudable interest in world music and exploring new musical boundaries. His early death was a tragedy and he may well have gone on to produce interesting stuff, though I'm guessing less and less related to the Stones.

He also had some real human flaws and musical limitations. I doubt he would have gone on to be a household name outside the Stones and he might just as easily have faded away to has been status. Sadly, we'll never know.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kennedy1960 View Post
As far as the multi-instrumentalism, I disagree...Without it, there's No Paint it Black, no Ruby Tuesday. Glyn Johns, their engineer from 1965 to 1974, said his musicianship took the song 2000 Light Years from Home from being in his words "from chalk to cheese."
Those are great songs, but that’s not the direction the Stones were going when they parted ways with Jones. That’s mostly the reason I prefer their Jones era to their post-Jones era. Richards has been very clear about preferring someone to share his guitar duties to having someone who’d rather pick up a sitar or a flute. Perhaps I should have said the Stones didn’t want a multi-instrumentalist rather than “did not need”.
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Old 03-13-2020, 07:18 PM
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I don't think of him at all. What has he done lately?
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Old 03-13-2020, 07:26 PM
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Piss on Richards, I think multi-instrumentalists are cool. As for Brian, I like um. We wouldn’t have “Dandelion” without him.
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Old 03-13-2020, 07:37 PM
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A genius. Without him there would be no Stones. I like a lot of the post-Jones era Stones, but his contributions in the early days are palpable.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:08 PM
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From what I have learned about the Rolling Stones' history, he was a headcase, a prick and generally not easy to handle, let alone work with. Everything about him screamed chaos. He was responsible for some of the most beautiful accents in the Stones' music in their pop period, ca. 66-67, but not writing songs, he became less and less important for the band. The otherworldly slide guitar on "No Expectations" was his last critical contribution to the Stones' oeuvre, though he had been unproductive mostly for some time before the recording happened. But he shone on this, and then, poof, nothing. And some time later, pointless death in a swimming pool.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:38 PM
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If he had stayed sober and capable, he would still have been a good musician, and I'm guessing would have made a valuable contribution to the group.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennedy1960 View Post
.....Notable contributions by Brian Jones include:....
Lead Guitar on Sittin' On A Fence
Nope. According to Margotin & Guesdon's definitive book on the subject, Brian played rhythm guitar and (possibly but not likely) harpsichord. The lead guitar is Keith.

I agree with all the praise and appreciation for Brian, the 60's Stones are still my preferred incarnation of the band, but didn't we just cover all of this in a thread not so long ago? Why the need to start another one rehashing the same discussions?
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:39 PM
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Nope. According to Margotin & Guesdon's definitive book on the subject, Brian played rhythm guitar and (possibly but not likely) harpsichord. The lead guitar is Keith.

I agree with all the praise and appreciation for Brian, the 60's Stones are still my preferred incarnation of the band, but didn't we just cover all of this in a thread not so long ago? Why the need to start another one rehashing the same discussions?
The Rolling Stones officially sponsored magazine from the 1960s mentions Brian and Keith working out the guitars in Denmark (1965) together, and the style is exactly Brian's trademark when he played leads: Repeating, simple riff that is not very busy, that sounds perhaps more complex than it actually is. This is most evident in the "solo" where it's just the riff played over again. On every track where he plays lead guitar, this repeating, circular sort of riff and not very inventive solo is a trademark. Keith's playing, even on softer tracks, was busier, the solo would not simply be the main riff repeated over and over if it was Keith playing. Also, the strong Elizabethan flavor of the playing of the lead again makes it likely it was Brian - he was very very fond of music of the Elizabethan era as well as folk work by Richard Farina, which this sounds like. Keith wasn't one for that type of music.

As for the harpsichord - definitely not Brian. It would be Jack Nitzsche, who played harpsichord on almost all Stones tracks in this period.

The same book says Paint it Black has Brian on sitar solely. Which is not true. According to Mick Jagger himself, from the time the song was made, the lineup is himself on vocals, Keith on electric guitar, Brian on acoustic and sitar, etc.

Last edited by Kennedy1960; 03-17-2020 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:47 PM
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For just coming up with the opening sitar riff on Paint It Black is enough for me, it sends a shiver down my spine when I hear it, the man had an ear, combine that with all his other riffs and contributions, he deserves to be remembered.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:14 PM
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He was a gigging traveling blues musician, with kids out of wedlock, when Mick and Keith were dealing with acne. And he hired them for the Rolling Stones.

They were never going to forgive him for that when things changed and he became something of a beast.

I can't understand why he couldn't write a song, but being shy is no excuse.

It was Brians unique vision to have a young R and B band in the UK. He ws the first to try it.

Last edited by drad dog; 03-17-2020 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:35 AM
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Without him, we wouldn't have Godstar, so there's that going for him.

Otherwise, I don't really care about him either way.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:49 AM
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Jones was the earliest illustration of an important rule of rock bands in the wake of the Beatles: whoever writes the songs ends up being in charge, no matter who the so-called "leader" is. I like a lot of Jones-era Stones -- you can't argue with the greatness of those singles -- but the Mick Taylor era is my favorite. (To my mind it's Taylor, not Jones, who's the most critically underrated Stone.)
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennedy1960 View Post
The Rolling Stones officially sponsored magazine from the 1960s mentions Brian and Keith working out the guitars in Denmark (1965) together, and the style is exactly Brian's trademark when he played leads: Repeating, simple riff that is not very busy, that sounds perhaps more complex than it actually is. This is most evident in the "solo" where it's just the riff played over again. On every track where he plays lead guitar, this repeating, circular sort of riff and not very inventive solo is a trademark. Keith's playing, even on softer tracks, was busier, the solo would not simply be the main riff repeated over and over if it was Keith playing. Also, the strong Elizabethan flavor of the playing of the lead again makes it likely it was Brian - he was very very fond of music of the Elizabethan era as well as folk work by Richard Farina, which this sounds like. Keith wasn't one for that type of music.

As for the harpsichord - definitely not Brian. It would be Jack Nitzsche, who played harpsichord on almost all Stones tracks in this period.

The same book says Paint it Black has Brian on sitar solely. Which is not true. According to Mick Jagger himself, from the time the song was made, the lineup is himself on vocals, Keith on electric guitar, Brian on acoustic and sitar, etc.
Thank you for the insightful response (seriously, not snarking). Regarding the part I bolded above, can you give specific examples? Again- genuinely asking.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:20 PM
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“It was Brians unique vision to have a young R and B band in the UK. He ws the first to try it.“ drad dog

“- but the Mick Taylor era is my favorite. (To my mind it's Taylor, not Jones, who's the most critically underrated Stone.)” Nonesuch

Completely agree with both these statements. I’m sorry Brian turned into such an asshole, because he created the Stones I loved in high school. (1964 - 1969)
But Taylor was the heart of the Stones I loved in college. (1969 - 1973)
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