Brian Jones was born on February 28th, 1942 at The Park Nursing Home in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in England to Lewis Blount Jones and Louisa Beatrice Jones. He had two siblings, Pamela Jones, who died at a young age from Leukaemia and Barbara Jones. Lewis Jones was an aeronautical engineer (an aircraft designer) with an inclination towards music. He played the piano and organ at a local church. Louisa Jones was a piano teacher. Being born in a family of musicians, Brian Jones himself developed an early interest in music. At the age of six or seven, he started attending piano lessons. As a child, Jones had asthma, but that did not stop him from learning to play the clarinet in his school orchestra. Years later, in an interview, he disclosed that he knew of his interest in music early on and that he didn’t feel an urge to do anything else.
At the age of five, in 1947, he started going to Dean Close Junior School in Cheltenham. In 1953, he moved to Cheltenham Grammar School for Boys. Brian Jones was a smart student, always doing well in exams though he was never considered a “model” student. Jones disliked his school uniform and teachers, and got suspended twice. He was, however, popular among students. Jones had no interest in academics. Music was his only passion. By the age of 16, he knew how to play the piano, the recorder, the clarinet, the washboard and the saxophone. It was at this age that Jones got his fourteen-year-old girlfriend Valerie pregnant. After this, he left his town and went traveling through Europe, living like a Bohemian. Jones would sing songs and play his guitar to earn enough money to live.
Soon after this, in 1959, he impregnated another woman, married her this time, and was the father to a second child, a daughter. In 1961, Jones fathered Pat Andrews’ child and moved into her sister’s home with her. Initially, Jones sold his record collection and bought flowers for Pat and clothes for their son with the money, but eventually, he left Pat and moved to London. Jones worked at many small jobs to earn a living while still in Cheltenham. He worked as a junior architect, a bus conductor, a coal delivery boy and a music store employee. He also played in local music groups. Jones played the saxophone in a band called The Ramrods. In 1962, he met Alexis Korner who was impressed with Jones’ enthusiasm about music. Jones moved to London shortly after this and started performing Jazz covers under his stage name “Elmo Lewis.”
It was during this time that Jones placed an advertisement in a Jazz weekly which mentioned that he wanted to start a Rhythm and Blues band. He then formed The Rolling Stones (named after The Muddy Waters song “Rollin’ Stones”) with Ian Stewart as the pianist,
as singer and Keith Richards as the guitarist. Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts joined the band later. During the early days of the Rolling Stones, Jones was considered the leader and manager. He was responsible for all the acts that they got through his contacts. In 1963, however, the band hired Andrew Loog Oldham as manager. Jones was no longer the leader. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who contributed to most of the songwriting rose into the limelight. Brian Jones, though known for his guitar weaving with Richards, played numerous instruments for the band.
Over the years, he had learned to play the sitar, tanpura (tambura), dulcimer, keyboard, recorder, harmonica, xylophone and marimba and many others. He taught Mick Jagger how to play the harmonica. In the mid-1960s, Jones had become more dependent on drugs and alcohol. He became aloof and alienated. He rarely came to recording sessions, and when he did, he would do nothing to contribute. His band mates believed that his last musical contribution to the band was a tune he played in the song “No Expectations.” In 1967, he got arrested for possession of drugs. He claimed, however, that he had never used hard drugs. He was taken into custody again for the possession of cannabis in 1968 but was let go with a fine. On June 8, 1969, Jones was asked to leave the Rolling Stones.
He announced his going away on the same day, claiming that he wanted to play his kind of music. Jones got replaced by Mick Taylor. A month after his leaving the group, on July 3, 1969, Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool at his home in East Sussex, England. He was 27 years old. The coroner’s report said it was “death by misadventure.” Jones’ girlfriend, Anna Wohlin believed there was foul play involved. Frank Thorogood, who was Jones’ builder who had been sacked earlier that day, was supposedly the last person to see Jones. Thorogood was taken into custody but was not charged due to lack of evidence against him. Many believe that Jones’ death was a murder. Terry Rawling, in his book “Brian Jones: Who Killed Christopher Robin?” controversially claims that Jones’ murdered was a cover up. Brian Jones is believed to be the first member of the “27 Club.”