Brian Jones died on the 3rd of July, 1969, at his estate known as Crotchford Farm in Sussex, England. He was 27 years and 125 days old when he drowned in his swimming pool. He was the founder of the Rolling Stones, having recruited Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in 1962 to join him in a band. He was responsible for naming the group, and in the early days served as the band’s manager. He was a multi-instrumentalist, but played mostly guitar and harmonica on the early recordings.
The official report concerning Jones’ death states that he was found at the bottom of the pool by his girlfriend Anna Wohlin near midnight of the 2nd of July. She reported that he was still alive when he was pulled out of the pool, but by the time emergency crews had arrived he had died. Because he had been drinking and had taken sleeping pills, his death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner – death by misadventure.
Jones was a well-known golden-boy and celebrity, and had celebrity friends around the world. When the news of his death was released, the tributes and remembrances were varied and heartfelt. The Who’s Pete Townsend composed a short poem for him that was published in the Times, calling him “a man who died every day.” In an appearance on American TV, Jimi Hendrix performed a song as a tribute to Jones, and Jim Morrison also composed and published a poem in his honor. Townsend is still alive, but Hendrix and Morrison were to join Jones later in the forever 27 club.
Jones had officially left the Rolling Stones about a month before his death, and the band had scheduled a free show in Hyde Park London as a showcase for their new guitarist Mick Taylor. The show went on as a tribute to Jones, and Mick Jagger read the poem Adonais by Shelley, as hundreds of white butterflies were released.
Jones’ funeral was held on July 10, 1969, and he was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery near his home. His casket was a large, ornate and costly gift from his friend Bob Dylan, and it was buried at a depth of 12 feet in order to deter grave robbers. The only Rolling Stones present at the ceremony were Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman. Mick Jagger was under contract to be in Australia to film a movie, and Keith Richards supposedly spent the day in his favorite place – the recording studio.
Dark questions and rumors about Jones’ death abound. There are theories that he was somehow the target of a conspiracy by the other Stones to have him killed, that he was done in by order of the Stones’ new manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and that a workman on the grounds had accidentally killed him in a bout of horseplay in the pool. As of this writing, none of the theories have been proven. But many mysteries remain and linger in the air over the grave of Brian Jones, dead at 27.
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