February 28, 1942 - July 3, 1969
"This is why I have loose concrete ideas on
the future because I really don't know when things are going to come to an
Perhaps nobody epitomizes the Swinging Sixties more so than Brian Jones,
founder member of the Rolling Stones. His unique style, charisma, and musical
ability created the monster we see today, and Brian must be spinning in his grave
as the Stones continue their 40th anniversary tour.
Born on 28th Feb 1942, to a middle class family in Cheltenham, England, Brian
was seen as a rebel from an early age, having fathered two children by two
different girls by the time he was 18, more were to follow. These
pictures of Brian's Cheltenham
house come courtesy of Findadeath.com friend Kaz Coopey.
Thanks Kaz. Your
patience with me is appreciated. Kaz sent me these snaps years ago, and they
were lost in my move back to the USA. Finally found 'em.
Unable and unwilling to hold down a full time job, Brian left Cheltenham for
London where he could indulge his passion for rhythm and blues. In 1962 he
formed the Rolling Stones, and a string of hit singles and albums soon followed,
along with adverse publicity over the bands behavior and image.
By the mid-Sixties, Brian's heavy drinking and drug taking started to take
their toll, and he became increasingly more ostracized from the band. He was an
easy target for police drug busts and his paranoia led to a spell in the Priory
In November 1968 Brian bought his first home,
Cotchford Farm in Sussex, the former
home of AA Milne, author of Winnie The Pooh.
The house was set amid acres of
ground and had its own swimming pool which
Brian kept heated to over 80° F.
If you've ever spent a summer in Britain, you'd
understand why. Brian reveled in his new country life and saw this as a fresh
start, eventually moving in his new Swedish girlfriend Anna Wohlin.
The only thing upsetting Brian's new life at Cotchford were the builders.
Frank Thorogood, who the Stones office had employed to undertake renovation of
the property, supervised them. Brian accused them of being slow, stealing
property from him, and he felt they were taking advantage of his celebrity.
Brian's lack of interest in the Rolling Stones led to a visit by Mick
Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts to Cotchford Farm on 8th June 1969, to tell Brian they were replacing him in the band with guitarist Mick
Taylor. A press release was quickly issued saying that the split was amicable,
and citing musical differences as the cause of his departure.
According to several sources, Brian had by this stage already started writing
his own material, recording and rehearsing musicians for a new band and was
putting together an album of music he had recorded on one of his trips to
The 2nd July 1969 was a warm and sunny and Brian spent the day
with Anna. During the evening things went very wrong, and by 11:15 p.m., Brian was
dead at the bottom of his swimming pool.
30 years after his death, Anna broke her silence to claim that Brian had been
murdered by builder Frank Thorogood. There had been no love lost between Brian
and the workmen, and a couple of days before his death Brian went up to London
and stopped the workers wages, leading to an even bigger rift. On the night of
his death, Brian had gone to the garage flat to try and clear the air with
Thorogood, inviting him and friend Janet Lawson to the main house for a drink.
Thorogood had suggested they went for a swim and Anna joined them in the pool
until Janet called to say there was a phone call for her. It was while Anna was
in the house taking the call that Brian drowned. She alleges that Thorogood
warned her afterwards to keep her mouth shut and stick to the story he had given
in his statement, that Brian appeared to have been drinking heavily.
The coroner recorded a verdict of "death by misadventure" adding
that Brian had died while under the influence of drink and drugs. Considering
that Brian's post mortem showed he had only consumed the equivalent of three
to four pints of beer and had little evidence of any drugs in his system, this
seems mighty strange conclusion for a man who had a previous history of
consuming copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. Brian was also well known to be
an extremely proficient swimmer. Another fact overlooked at the time was that
none of the three witness statements appeared to match up and Brian had been
dead for some time before an ambulance and the police were called.
The Stones were in the recording studio when they got the news of
death. Charlie Watts was apparently inconsolable. They went ahead and taped a
spot for "Top of the Pops" anyway.
A few days later, the Stones did a free concert in Hyde Park in front of a
giant blow up of Brian's face. Mick Jagger read two verses from Shelley's
Adonais, and some butterflies were released.
Brian was buried on 10th July in Cheltenham in what was the biggest funeral the
town had ever seen.
The only Stones to show up were Bill Wyman and Charlie
Brian was buried in a bronze and silver casket shipped in from America and
reputedly paid for by Bob Dylan. He was wearing a powder blue jacket, white
shirt and black tie, his hair had been lightened and was in its trademark bob,
he looked as if he were asleep. The pall
bearers were furnished by the undertaker.
His family wanted a private funeral but before long the Stones management
took over and released details to the Press. According to the funeral director,
in a bizarre twist the Stones office also asked for photographs to be taken of
Brian in his casket but the family put their foot down and security guards were
placed at the funeral to make sure that no photographers got in.
Here is the program from the
In 1994, Frank Thorogood (the builder) was on his deathbed, and supposedly
confessed to murdering Brian saying, "It was me that did Brian. It just
happened. I just snapped. That's all there is to it." He died before any
official confession could be recorded.
An attempt to reopen the case into Brian's death in 1995 reached a blank
with nobody prepared to come forward with further information.
Trivia: Brian is buried 10 feet in the ground. The plan was that his parents
would eventually be buried with him. They are still alive and it's been over 30
years now, so we'll see what happens when the time comes.
More: Lot of shit flying around at the moment in the Press
regarding the new film they are making about Brian. Jagger has taken out an
injunction to try and stop it happening (thinks it will portray him in a bad
light, doesn't care about Brian though) and the film company say they have
enough info to reopen the case into his death, how cool is that..!
And more: The people that run the fan club are now
selling tiles from the swimming pool in which Brian drowned. I know I have
mine, and if the conditions are right - I can hold it up to my ear...
For more information, and a fan club for Brian, check
Thanks. You know who you are.