Uncharted: Crime and Mayhem in the Music Industry, episode 19: The mysterious death of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones

In 1969, The Rolling Stones were about to enter their imperial phase, a time in their career where everything seemed they did seemed to go right. They were on their way to being the biggest rock band in the world.

In December 1968, they released Beggars Banquet, their biggest-selling album so far. Work had started on Let It Bleed, another record that would become a classic. That would eventually be followed by Sticky Fingers in 1971, Exile on Main Street in 1972, and half a dozen more albums that would cement their place in rock history.

But let’s back up to 1969. Things were not good within the band. In fact, they were terrible. Hard drugs had been seeping into the group and founder Brian Jones was a mess.

Not only was he not able to contribute to the group in any meaningful musical way, but his mood swings made him impossible to deal with. Sometimes he wouldn’t show up to rehearsals—and when he did, he was useless.

He neglected looking after the band’s communal car and it was towed away. Jones crashed his motorcycle into a shop window and spent time in the hospital. His drug convictions made it impossible for him to get a visa to tour the US.

And The Stones desperately needed to tour because some insanely large tax bills were due…they needed the month. Something had to give.

On June 8, 1969, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards told Brian Jones that he was fired from the band he created. He was no longer a Rolling Stone.

Less than a month later, he was dead. Was it a drug-related rock’n’roll misadventure? Did he accidentally drown in his swimming pool? Or was it something more evil?

Ever since the news broke on July 3, 1969, that Brian Jones had died, there have been questions It’s a very curious case—and some believe (including his family) that it may have been murdered.

This is Uncharted: Crime and Mayhem in the Music Industry, episode 19: The mysterious death of Brian Jones.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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