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The Brian Jones Trip


 

 

 

“Brian Jones...the Early Years” as told by

Rob Weingartner, who formerly ran the

 Brian Jones Memorial FanClub

and now moderates the new improved 

 

BrianJones Message Board

 

This text is taken from Rob’s website “Tribute to Brian Jones”.

To visit Rob’s site and see some great photos of Brian click thelink below.

 

http://www.angelfire.com/ny/JonesStones/index.html

 

 

 

 

Tribute To Brian Jones

 

On the 28th of February 1942, Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones was born at The Park Nursing Home to the proud parents of Lewis Blount and Louisa Beatrice Jones, the couples first of three children. Brian's father Lewis, a Welshman, was an aircraft designer working at the Dowty Rotal, one of Cheltenham's biggest employers, his mother Louisa taught piano. On October 3, 1943, the couple would give birth to their second child named Pamela. Sadly, at the age of two, on October 14, 1945, Pamela passed away of leukemia. The couple’s third child, Barbara, was born not long after and went on to become a pianist and violinist.

 

Located at the edge of The Cotswolds was the beautiful town called Cheltenham Spa, Brian Jones hometown. To try and understand Brian Jones you must go back to his childhood in Cheltenham, for this is where his love for music started and his problems began. Although the town had its unquestionable beauty, there were not many places for young people to go at the time except local coffee bars like the El Flamenco or to the cinema. Like most kids his age Brian Jones thought of Cheltenham as a dull and boring town. What Brian wanted was excitement, something Cheltenham seem to lack. Future fellow band mate Keith Richards once described Cheltenham as "very genteel old ladies resting place; very pretty in its way, but dullsville."

 

In 1947, at the age of five, Brian began attending Dean Close Junior School in Cheltenham. Brian's interest in music began to show at a very young age. At around six or seven Brian started piano lessons and later at the age of twelve while attending Pates Grammar School, Brian joined the school orchestra and learned clarinet. Years later, reflecting on his early interest in music Brian said, "Musically, I was guided by my parents. Later, there were several piano teachers in Cheltenham. I struggled to get the notes right early on, but eventually I found I had a feel for music. I guess I knew that I was going to be interested in music early on-and that was because I quite honestly didn't feel much of an urge to do anything else." Brian did try some jobs while living in Cheltenham such as junior architect, bus conductor; he worked in a music shop and even delivered coal for a short while. None of which lasted very long.

 

Brian's schoolteachers noticed very early on that he was a brilliant student who passed school examinations with virtual ease and had an exceptionally high IQ. Brian was described by former Pates Grammar School teacher Dr. Arthur Bell as an 'intelligent rebel'. The subjects Brian excelled in were English and to no ones surprise music. During his teen years Brian began rebelling against parental authority and school authority that would eventually lead to a school suspension for breaking the school dress code. Years later, his father Lewis reflecting on his sons teenage rebellion said "There became this peculiar change in his early teens. At the time, I suppose he began to become a man, where he began to get some resentment of authority". This resentment of authority is something Brian would carry with him for the rest of his life most notably as a member of The Rolling Stones.

 

While growing up in Cheltenham, Brian had very few friends. His rebel attitude and obsession with music seemed to make Brian somewhat of a loner or outcast with other kids his age. {sy Zmftred, his former girlfriend from Cheltenham remembers "A lot of people didn't understand him, that's mainly it, not because he wasn't a friendly person, they just didn't understand him."

 

Brian listened to a wide range of music while growing up from traditional Jazz and Country music, to the music he loved most, the American Blues. His musical idols were jazz saxophonist Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker, American Country singer Johnny Cash and American blues man Elmore James as well as many others. In his teens Brian began taking music more seriously by performing with a local band from Cheltenham called The Ramrods in which he played saxophone.

 

One place that became very popular with the younger crowd in Cheltenham was 38 Priory St, the home of Mrs. Filby. Mrs Filby converted the basement of her home to a club for live music bringing in some of the better-known jazz musicians of the day. Brian would quickly become such a frequent visitor of 38 Priory Street that it was practically his second home. John Appleby, both a resident of Cheltenham and friend of Brian's wrote in his book titled "38 Priory Street and All That Jazz": "It's my belief that Mrs Filby did as much, if not more than any individual organization in town to launch Cheltenham's younger generation on the sea of life, simply by throwing open her door to hundreds of young people".

 

One evening Brian ... had tickets to see one of his musical idols, Alexis Korner, perform at The Cheltenham Town Hall with The Chris Barber Jazz Band. This night would become very big for Brian. After Brian saw a great performance by Alexis and the band, he would have the opportunity to meet his idol after the show at the Patio Wine Bar located across the street from where they were playing. When Brian met Alexis and the two began talking, Alexis became very impressed with Brian's enthusiasm and knowledge of music. Alexis then invited Brian to stay with him and his family the next time he came to London. This was all Brian needed to hear as he would leave Cheltenham like a bat out of hell, only to come back for short visits. Many people who knew Brian think meeting Alexis Korner is what inspired him to to become a professional musician and start his own band that would become The Rolling Stones.

 

As fate would have it, within months of coming to London, one night in 1962 at Alexis Korner's Ealing Club, while Brian was on stage performing the Elmore James classic "Dust My Broom" under the stage name of Elmo Lewis, (Elmo was taken from Elmore James first name and Lewis from his own first name) in walked future fellow band mates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Dick Taylor. The three were so awe struck by the splendid slide guitar playing of Brian's that it was almost as if he were Elmore James himself. After Brian's magnificent performance, the three future Stones' would quickly introduce themselves. By this time Brian had now become a splendid guitarist, adding yet another instrument to his growing list.

 

Not long after their meeting, the newly formed Rollin' Stones (The name was taken from a Muddy Waters song.) would have a chance to play their first gig. Alexis Korner's band Blues Incorporated had an engagement to do the BBC radio show "Jazz Club". The radio engagement would leave an open slot at his Thursday night residency at The Marquee Club. Alexis Korner recommends to Mick Jagger that The Rollin' Stones fill in the open slot. Jagger who was a singer for Blue Incorporated was scratched from Blues Incorporated's lineup when the BBC said they would only pay for six band members and not seven. On Thursday, July 12, 1962, at The Marquee Club in London the Rollin' Stones played their first gig. The group lineup as of this date is Mick Jagger (vocals), Brian Jones and Keith Richards (guitars), Ian Stewart (piano), Dick Taylor (bass) and '?' (drums). (This gig back in 1962 was advertised as Mick Avory, who would go on to fame with The Kinks, as being the drummer for this gig. Mick Avory claims he only rehearsed with the Stones and never played with them. The original drummer for this gig has never been confirmed.)

 

Over the next several months The Rollin' Stones would become a very popular band gathering a very big following around London's club circuit. From the date of their first gig in July 1962, to early 1963, The Stones' rhythm section would go through many changes seeing bass players and drummers come and go before settling on bass player Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts.

 

One Sunday night in April 1963, while The Rollin' Stones are playing at the Crawdaddy Club, Andrew Loog Oldham shows up for their performance after hearing about the group from "Record Mirror" journalist Peter Jones. A week later Andrew Oldham, a former publicist for The Beatles, would show up at the Crawdaddy Club with his business partner Eric Easton after telling him about the bands performance the week before. The two introduce themselves and a couple of days later in early May signs the Stones, to a management contract. (The management contract does not include pianist Ian Stewart, management feel Stew looks out of place with the other Stones’ and Oldham suggests the group ad a "g" to the end of Rollin'). Not long after signing a management contract, the group signs their first recording contract with Decca Records. Brian's dream of 'hitting the big time' was about to become reality.

 

Not long after signing the recording contract with Decca Records, the Rolling Stones go into Olympic Recording Studios and record cover versions of Chuck Berry's "Come On" and Willie Dixon's "I Wanna Be Loved". On June 7, 1963, Decca Records release the first Rolling Stones single. It was Brian's wailing harmonica that would be the musical highlight to both sides of the single. The A side "Come On" entered the British charts where it would peak at number 21, becoming a minor hit for the band. To promote the single the band would make their first television appearance on "Thank Your Lucky Stars".

 

Several months after the release of "Come On", The Rolling Stones would start their first-ever British tour on September 29th. During the tour The Rolling Stones would be the opening act for The Everly Brothers, Little Richard and one of their idols...Bo Diddley. While on tour the group would go into De Lane Lea Recording Studios to record a follow up single to "Come On". Once again the band would receive help from old friends John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The result was a fast and exciting number featuring Brian on slide guitar of a recently penned Lennon/McCartney song titled "I Wanna Be Your Man". The song featured Brian playing brilliant slide guitar giving the song more of an Elmore James bluesy sound. The song would peak at number 11 on the British charts giving the Stones' their biggest hit to date.

 

In early 1964, The Rolling Stones released their third single in the U.K., a version of the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away". The single would do even better than their second, peaking at number 3 on the U.K. charts. Again, it was Brian who would give the song a more bluesy sound by adding a harmonica, making the song slightly different from the original Buddy Holly version.

 

A couple of months after the tremendous success of "Not Fade Away" the band released their debut LP The Rolling Stones. The LP cover was quite unique for its time consisting of no band name or LP title, just a photo of the group along with the Decca logo. The sales on the LP were staggering hitting a Beatle-type sales bonanza selling over 100,000 copies on its first day of release and eventually peaking at number 1 on the British charts.

 

Over the next six years The Rolling Stones would rise to world fame. Their records would sell millions and their concert tours would become sellouts. Brian's musical genius would continue to flourish, as he would go on to play countless instruments on their records making him one of the most versatile musicians Rock and Roll would ever see. The Rolling Stones rise to fame became very controversial during the 1960's. Their music, appearance and rebellious attitude would be the center of much criticism making them one of the most loved and hated groups of the time.

 

Being a popular rock star with one of the most controversial bands, along with a lifestyle of sex, drugs and Rock 'n' Roll would take its toll on Brian Jones. As the years went on Brian began deteriorating physically, mentally and musically along with his visa being revoked (due to two drug busts) would cause his departure from The Rolling Stones in June of 1969, the band he founded and played such a key role in.

 

Just several weeks after leaving the band, on the night of July 2, Brian Jones drowned in a swimming pool accident at his country estate Cotchford Farm, the very same house where children's author A.A. Milne wrote his classic Winnie the Pooh stories' years earlier.

 

On July 10, Brian Jones was buried in his hometown Cheltenham Spa, just yards away from his baby sister Pamela. The very same town Brian wanted to leave so many years earlier would become his final resting place for eternity.

                                                                                                   by Rob Weingartner

 

 

 

See photos of Brian’s grave atfindagrave.com.

 

Go toour names,faces and places page to see photos of some “Brian People”

 

BrianJones Trip

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