GOLDEN STONE by Laura Jackson


The Untold Life and Tragic Death of Brian Jones
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 Gossipy account of the rise and fall of Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones. Jackson (a British freelance writer) tells us that though Jones was a loner as a child, his natural proclivity for music expressed itself early on and, by age 12, he was ``already a brilliant guitarist.'' Jones took up the saxophone to emulate his hero, jazz great Charlie Parker, and became enamored of blues and R&B. By age 14, he'd fathered his first child--an ominous sign of troubles ahead. Settling in swinging London in his late teens, Jones soon became a central part of the exploding blues scene and, from among hangers-on, began to assemble the band that would become the Stones. The group's rapid rise to the top--followed by increased tension as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards tried to edge the unreliable Jones out of the band--is chronicled here, along with Jones's fatal attraction to beautiful but self-centered model Anita Pallenberg (who would eventually dump him, when his weakened position in the band became apparent, for the more powerful Richards). Jones's brutal ouster from the band, as well as the mysteries surrounding his death by drowning in his own swimming pool, are recounted in all their gory detail. But Jackson inflates Jones's importance to the Stones through incessant hero worship (he was ``undoubtedly the most talented member of the band,'' she assures us more than once). Moreover, although Jones's contributions to the band's recordings are discussed briefly, Jackson's repetition of age-old mistakes (such as referring to the Robert Johnson/Elmore James classic ``Dust My Broom'' as ``Dust My Blues'') makes her musical analysis the weakest part of the book, while her fanzine-style writing (``His tantalizing body language whipped girlish screams into howling hysteria'') makes for some rough going. An engrossing story, lamely told. (Thirty-four b&w photographs) (For a look at another Stone, see Davin Seay's Mick Jagger, reviewed below.)

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09820-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993


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