A lively biography of the enigmatic founder of the Rolling Stones, who was dethroned and died just as the band approached its artistic peak.
Raised in the conservative enclave of Cheltenham, Brian Jones’ (1942-1969) family life was the epitome of middle-class English repression and conformity. However, the bureaucratic culture of Cheltenham would mold Jones’ complex, roguish personality. Music journalist Trynka’s (David Bowie: Starman, 2011, etc.) portrait is that of a young man determined to get what he wanted, flaunting conventions and consequences and exhibiting little conscience as he cemented his ambition to become a professional musician. His obsession with American blues led him to London, where Jones immediately made a name for himself and soon met Mick Jagger and Keith Richards through the circle of musicians that hung around impresario Alexis Korner. It was Jones who corralled the members of the Rolling Stones, named the band after a Muddy Waters lyric, and influenced the band’s musical style by teaching Richards open G tuning, a blues staple that would define the Stones’ sound. There was no question that Jones was the Stones’ unrivaled leader. As they began charting success, they quickly became infamous for their infighting and drama, and the power struggles between Jones and the Jagger-Richards axis, often involving women, were well-documented. Eventually, Jones was dismissed, and several weeks later, he was found dead in his swimming pool, the exact details of his death still a controversy. Trynka expertly explores the paradoxes of Jones’ inner life, drawing on countless interviews of friends and fellow musicians, but there are times when the author comes across as righteously defensive of Jones, despite correcting many of the apparently erroneous claims made by Richards in his own autobiography. Occasionally, Trynka’s evidence creates a he said, she said situation that fails to definitively set the record straight. There is no disputing, however, that Jones was the mastermind of the Stones, and Trynka’s well-researched biography rightly reclaims his legacy.
An intimate portrait of the multifaceted and beguiling Jones, who forever changed popular music and culture.