Personalities | The Rolling Stones (1969) | Key Events
Brian Jones And Mick Taylor
On a hot summer’s night, Mick, Keith and Charlie drove to Brian’s recently purchased Cotchford Farm home and sacked him from the band. For years he’d been letting his paranoia, ego and drug addictions get the better of him, to the point where he barely played in the studio and wasn’t stable enough to go on tour. With replacement Mick Taylor – a young, fluid, technically virtuosic guitarist – waiting in the wings to join immediately, the group softened the blow for Brian by allowing him to release any statement he liked, settling on it being Brian’s decision to leave, as he was dissatisfied with the direction the Stones’ music was taking.
Brian Jones Found Dead
There have been many attempts to untangle Brian Jones’ controversial death at the age of 27 on 2 July. The official verdict was death by accidental drowning, but having proven himself a formidable swimmer on many occasions, something more suspicious surrounded the discovery of Brian’s body in his swimming pool. Rumours that Brian was murdered have never been legally proven, but they continue to this day. Most commonly, people claim that Brian’s builder, Frank Thorogood, then working on Cotchford Farm, may have drowned him.
Hyde Park Concert
Three days after Brian was found dead, the Stones played their first full concert (initially to unveil the new band member; now in honour of the deceased founding member) in two years – a free concert at Hyde Park, to about 250,000 people. Somewhat ironically, it was shambolic. Mick, clad in a white skirted, party costume, read P. B. Shelley (‘Peace! Peace! He is not dead…’) to a restless crowd before releasing 2,000 white butterflies, many of which had already suffocated. They then preceded to stumble through an hour’s worth of material before the group went their separate ways.
‘Honky Tonk Women’
Recorded across five hours one night in May, ‘Honky Tonk Women’ dug deeper into the country influence that Gram Parsons and Ry Cooder were having on Keith Richards. Simply piano, horns, guitars and pedal steel, it was another No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, and has become the template for any balls-out, women-chasing rock’n’roll song since.
‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’
Recorded while Brian was still in the band (when he asked, ‘What can I play?’, Mick apparently replied ‘I don’t know. What can you play?’), a shortened version of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ featured as ‘Honky Tonk Women’’s B-side. A plaintive reflection upon the druggy descent of the Stones and their entourage, it was given extra gravitas by the addition of The London Bach Choir as backing, and today remains one of the Stones’ most poignant songs.
US Tour Begins
Their first US tour in three years saw the band’s road manager, Sam Cutler, introduce the group as ‘the greatest rock and roll band in the world’. Although by the end of the tour they...
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