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The day Brian Jones was dismissed from the Stones
June 8, 1969: Mick, Keith and Charlie visit Brian at Cotchford Farm, his home in Surrey, to inform him he has to leave the group. Later on they issue a press statement that Brian Jones is leaving the Rolling Stones. Next day Brian announces “I no longer see eye-to-eye with the others over the discs we are cutting… I want to play my kind of music, which is no longer the Stones music. The music Mick and Keith have been writing has progressed at a tangent, as far as my own taste is concerned”
After a period of self-isolation and heavy alienation at his Cotchford Farm house (a place that had once belonged to author A. A. Milne, where he wrote all of his Winnie the Pooh books) on June 8 1969 Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts paid a visit to Brian Jones, the founding member and guitarist of the Rolling Stones, to discuss the band’s future.
From Bill Wyman’s book Stone Alone:
“In the early hours of Saturday, 7 June, Keith crashed his Mercedes on the A286, eight miles from Redlands. The car was a write-off but Keith escaped unhurt. Anita went to St Richards Hospital, Chichester, with a broken collarbone, and next day went for specialist treatment in Harley Street. Keith rented a London apartment in Park Lane for ten days; the man who has skirted disaster all his life breathed again. Next day, he had to shake off the shock and, with Mick, deal decisively with the departure of Brian. They worked from 2 p.m. until 6.30 p.m., listening to playbacks, and, after mixing ‘Honky- Tonk Women’ until 7.15, they drove to Cotchford Farm. Knowing that Brian viewed them as plotters against him, they shrewdly took Charlie along as peacemaker in case the meeting became ugly….
…But the thirty-minute conversation was friendly and all parties were relieved that matters were reaching a conclusion. Mick and Keith told Brian that the group could not go on working with him the way he was; there was a violent disagree- ment over the music. Brian agreed. That night, the split was officially announced by both Brian and Mick. Brian said: ‘I no longer see eye to eye with the others over the discs we are cutting. We no longer communicate musically. The Stones’ music is not to my taste any more….
…The work of Mick and Keith has progressed at a tangent, at least to my way of thinking. I have a desire to play my own brand of music rather than that of others, no matter how much I appreciate their musical concepts. We had a friendly meeting and agreed that an amicable termination, temporary or permanent, was the only answer. The only soIution was to go our separate ways, but we shall Still reinain friends. I love those fellows’.
Mick said: ‘The only solution to our problem was for Brian to leave us. He wants to play music which is more his own rather than always playing ours. We have decided that it is best for him to be free to follow his own inclinations. We have parted on the best of terms. We Will continue to be friends and we’re certainly going to meet socially in future. There’s no question of us breaking up a friendship. Friendships like ours just don’t break up like that’ “.
In fact The Rolling Stones were the brainchild of Brian Jones, a gifted multi-instrumentalist who first encountered Jagger and Richards in 1962 while they were touring the London club scene. They created the band together, and during their formative years, Jones served as the group’s manager, helping to promote them and secure their first gigs in addition to his duties as guitarist. In a phone call to Jazz News, he also revealed the name of the band, according to Keith Richards, after Jones discovered a Muddy Waters LP that had “Rollin’ Stone” on it when he was asked by a reporter what the name of the band was.
Richards, Jagger, and Jones shared a small flat in London at the time (at 102 Edith Grove) where they also practiced. The Rolling Stones’ debut album The Rolling Stones was recorded shortly after the band hired Andrew Loog Oldham as their manager in 1963. Jones played a crucial role in the band’s early years as well as acting as its leader. However, Jones’ role in the band changed and shrank around 1965 when Jagger and Richards began to collaborate on songwriting, leaving Jagger to assume the position of bandleader. Around this time, Jones’ drug problems began. Despite that and the fact that he wasn’t given credit for writing or co-writing the majority of the band’s songs, Jones’ contribution to the music led to one of the Rolling Stones’ most innovative periods.
Brian Jones was gifted with the capacity to quickly learn any instrument, making him more than just a guitarist. Jones played a variety of occasionally unusual instruments, changing some of the original compositions or portions. But by 1968 the band had stopped touring, in part because Jones was denied entry to the United States because of earlier drug busts. The band concentrated on the “Beggar’s Banquet” album, but by that time Jones had started to distance himself even more from the group. One of the reasons was that he was no longer identifying with the band’s musical direction. Nevertheless, he still made a contribution to songs like “No Expectations,” which includes his recognizable slide guitar solo. In November 1968, he made his final live performance with the group while they were filming the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus TV special.
The video of the performance shows a visibly exhausted Jones performing all the songs with the band and playing his slide guitar solo for “No Expectations,” although there is a rumor that the Stones may have reduced the power to his guitar during some of the performances that evening. Inability to control his growing drug addiction led to Brian Jones’ further isolation from the band and solitude in his Cotchford Farm home in 1969.
At the time he was only given credit for two songs and failed to show up at the “Let It Bleed” recording sessions, let alone the pressure to perform on U.S. tours. The Stones made the decision to fire Jones from the group after they had their final encounter on June 8. He was replaced by 20-year-old Mick Taylor. Less than a month later, on July 3, 27-year-old Brian Jones drowned in the Cotchford Farm’s pool under mysterious circumstances. Many of the best Stones songs are still testaments of his many talents.