Golden Stone (Laura Jackson)

The book jacket describes it as "the untold life and tragic death of Brian Jones."
Item added by edt4. Added on 04/24/2010
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Golden Stone (Laura Jackson) 4

Outside of a Batman record, and some Beatles and Monkees records that my father picked up for me when he was working in NY, the Rolling Stones were the first band whose record I remember picking out for myself. It was at a Two Guys store in Wayne, NJ, it was the "Flowers" compilation, and I picked it out not because I was really aware of who the Rolling Stones were, but more because I thought they looked "cool" in the photographs on the album cover. Fortuitously, when I first played the record on my parents' stereo system, I found I loved the music too.

When Brian Jones died during the summer of 1969, I was still very much a young kid, but I can remember being haunted by it. I remember my family having a barbeque at Lake Hopatcong right after it happened, and all day long, all I could think about was, "Brian Jones is dead." I actually remember having a dream where I was standing beside his grave.

So I guess it's somewhat surprising that I really know very little about him, beyond the popular mythology. He was obviously gifted musically, but self-destructed on alcohol and drugs, and died mysteriously not long after being thrown out of the band that he essentially started.

Jackson's biography helped fill in the holes for me-- his humble beginnings in Cheltenham, England; his sense of humor and resistance to authority and convention; his seemingly instinctive grasp and understanding of music; his promiscuity; his excesses; his incandescent fame and his plummeting descent. She writes sympathetically about the tortured artist, but doesn't gloss over his flaws. Throughout the pages, Jones came alive in a unique way for me. Flawed? Assuredly, but, according to Jackson, he was an essentially very decent and down-to-earth man who was actually overcoming his addictions at the time of his premature, troubling death.

Jackson doesn't "solve" the mystery of that death, but she does raise some very perplexing (and, so far, unanswered) questions regarding it.

Jackson also interviews the 2 sons of Jones, who obviously are both well into adulthood now-- both of them uncannily resemble their father in terms of appearance as well as some of his personality traits.

If you have any interest in the history of The Rolling Stones, "Golden Stone" is an essential book.

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