Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28: Rolling Stones Founding Member, Brian Jones, was born on this date in 1942...

... he died July 3, 1969, when he was 27 years-old.

Born Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Brian was a versatile musician who in addition to guitar and the harmonica, played a wide variety of other instruments. His innovative use of traditional or folk instruments, such as the sitar and marimba, was integral to the changing sound of the Rolling Stones.

Both Jones's parents were interested in music: his mother Louisa was a piano teacher, and in addition to his job as an aeronautical engineer, Lewis Jones played piano and organ and led the choir at the local church.

In 1957 Jones first heard Cannonball Adderley's music, which inspired his interest in jazz. Jones persuaded his parents to buy him a saxophone, and two years later his parents gave him his first acoustic guitar as a 17th birthday present. (He also played first clarinet in the school orchestra.)  Despite well above average academic ability, his hostility to authority figures he was suspended from school on twice.

After his 14-year old girlfriend became pregnant, Jones quit school and left home, travelling through northern Europe and Scandinavia for a summer. During this period, he busked with his guitar on the streets for money. Jones grew up listening to classical music, but he preferred blues. and began playing at local blues and jazz clubs. (Jones also fathered three other children before he turned 23.)

Jones moved to London where he became friends with musicians in the small London rhythm and blues and jazz scene. For a brief time, Jones called himself "Elmo Lewis," and playing slide guitar. Jones also started a band with Paul Jones called The Roosters.

Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News in May 1962 inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group at the Bricklayers Arms pub; pianist Ian "Stu" Stewart was the first to respond. Later singer and his childhood friend Keith Richards and Mick Jagger joined the band.

Jones came up with the name "The Rollin' Stones" (later with the 'g') while on the phone with a venue owner. The Best of Muddy Waters album was lying on the floor—and track one was 'Rollin' Stone Blues'."

(Continued below video ...)

The Rollin' Stones played their first gig on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London with Mick Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, bass player Dick Taylor (later of The Pretty Things) and drummer Tony Chapman.

From September 1962 to September 1963 Jones, Jagger and Richards shared an apartment in Chelsea, London.  Jones and Richards spent every day playing guitar while listening to blues records. During this time, Jones also taught Jagger how to play harmonica.

The four Rollin' Stones went searching for a bassist and drummer, finally settling on Bill Wyman on bass because he had a spare VOX AC30 guitar amplifier ( and always had cigarettes,) and a bass guitar that he had built himself. In January 1963 they persuaded jazz-influenced Charlie Watts to join them.

The group played at local blues and jazz clubs, garnering fans in spite of resistance from traditional jazz musicians who felt threatened by their popularity. While Jagger was lead singer, Jones, in the group's embryonic period, was the leader—promoting the band, landing gigs, and negotiating with venue owners.

From 1966 onwards Jones's contributions in the recording studio were more as a multi-instrumentalist than as a guitarist. His aptitude for playing a wide variety of instruments is particularly evident on the albums Aftermath, Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Examples of Jones's contributions on slide guitar include "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I'm a King Bee," "Little Red Rooster," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I'm Movin' On," "Doncha Bother Me," and "No Expectations."

Jones played Bo Diddley-style rhythm guitar on "I Need You Baby (Mona)," the guitar riff in "The Last Time"; sitar on "Street Fighting Man" and "Paint It, Black"; organ on "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Complicated," and "2000 Man"; marimba on "Under My Thumb," "Out Of Time" and "Yesterday's Papers"; recorder on "Ruby Tuesday" and "All Sold Out"; trumpet on "Child of the Moon"; Appalachian dulcimer on "I Am Waiting" and "Lady Jane" and harpsichord on "Lady Jane"; accordion on "Backstreet Girl"; saxophone and oboe on "Dandelion"; mellotron on "She's a Rainbow," "We Love You," "Stray Cat Blues" and "2000 Light Years from Home"; and - on his final recording as a Rolling Stone - the autoharp on "You Got the Silver."

Jones also played harmonica on many of the Rolling Stones' early songs including "Stoned," "Not Fade Away," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Now I've Got A Witness," "Good Times, Bad Times," and "Dear Doctor" and "Prodigal Son" among many other songs.

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):
The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 - Limited Edition Remastered Vinyl Box Set

In the early years, Jones also sometimes served as a backing vocalist. Notable examples are "Come On," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Walking the Dog," "Money (That's What I Want)," "I'm Alright," "You Better Move On" and "It's All Over Now." He is also responsible for the amazing whistling on "Walking the Dog."

Jones's and Richards's guitars became a signature of the sound of the Rolling Stones, with both guitarists playing rhythm and lead without clear boundaries between the two roles.



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