With the upcoming biopic promising to re-ignite the controversy, I thought that now would be a good time to give anyone interested some good sources of information on the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones so that they can perhaps make up their own mind as to what happened that humid July night in 1969.
About the only thing that most people will agree on is that on the night of July 3rd, 1969 Brian Jones was pulled unconscious from his swimming pool and was pronounced dead a few hours later. It was officially ruled a death by “misadventure.” Ever since that night there have been more rumors of nefarious goings on than in most day time soaps and to track them all is quite a job in itself but the bottom line is that some people feel that he blacked out at the bottom of his pool from the effects of too much booze and drugs coupled with a severe asthma attack while others think that he was murdered either by a construction worker living on the premises named Frank Thorogood or more implausibly by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.
A good place to start is the relatively balanced article at Crime Library called All About Brian Jones. There the facts and controversies are laid out in detail. Now we all know that nothing sells books as well as a good celebrity death and there are a quite a number of them out there about Brian Jones that run the gamut from good to ghastly and the Bomp Bookshelf (a great service from Bomp Records) section on Brian Jones lists most of them with some great fan reviews and counter-reviews that will save you the trouble of reading most of them. The latest one by Jones’ girlfriend at the time Anna Wohlin claims that Frank Thorogood made a deathbed confession admitting that he did the dirty deed on that night, a confession that has been greeted with some skepticism by the majority of those in the know. This whole deathbed confession is also covered in the article Was Brian Jones Murdered? by Keith Dovkants which can be found on the official Brian Jones Fan Club site. This whole murder scenario apparently will be the basis for the upcoming film “The Wicked World of Brian Jones” that Steve Wooley is putting together and which he claims will blow the lid off the case and cause it to be re-opened.
Probably the most bizarre claim is that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards killed Jones but according to Brian Jones- Death by Mick’s Adventure? on Fufkin the “clues” are certainly there but it all smacks of the whole “Paul is Dead” controversy with even author Michael Lynch wondering if he just had “too much time on his hands.”
What might you ask, do the Stones think of all this today? They are none too pleased that any film is to be made about the founder and one time leader of the band. Of course, they are pissed not because they are complicit in Jones’ murder, which they aren’t, just that they will be portrayed as assholes in how they treated Jones, which they were. When Keith Richards was asked about the upcoming film in a recent edition of Uncut magazine his attitude was unspectacular but ultimately I think appropriate “As far as Brian is concerned, I say let the man rest in peace.” Of course with the Internet, if you don’t agree with that sentiment you can always sign an online petition calling for the police to re-open the investigation into Jones’ death and perhaps bring to a final end a sad and tragic tale of one of rock and roll’s great unsung musical geniuses. RIP Brian Jones. You charted a new and always interesting course for the Stones and rock and roll. Thanks for the memories.