The Rolling Stones was founded in 1962 after guitarist Brian Jones advertised for bandmates. After struggling a bit with writing original material, the band took off, rivaling The Beatles. Since then, the band has had its ups and downs. However, one of the biggest blows to The Rolling Stones happened when Jones accidentally drowned in his swimming pool in 1969. Fans started conspiracy theories that he was murdered shortly after. But fifty years later, do fans still believe the murder rumors? Jones’ daughter does.
Brian Jones died in 1969
Jones was pulled out of his swimming pool in the early morning of Jul. 3 dead after his girlfriend, 21-year-old model Anna Wohlin found him. He was only 27 years old. The coroner announced that Jones had died “by misadventure” and that drugs and alcohol were the cause of the drowning.
Days later, The Rolling Stones held a free concert at Hyde Park, dedicated to Jones. Drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman were the only Stones to attend the funeral. Jagger was already en route to film Ned Kelly.
Fans thought it was weird that Richards and Jagger didn’t attend. Combined with Jones’ tense relationship with the band at the time of his death, fans started to think that they didn’t care their bandmate had died. Or worse, that they’d somehow been involved.
Fans started conspiracy theories that Brian Jones was murdered
Others were living at Jones’ home the night he died, including Frank Thorogood, a builder repairing Jones’s home, and Jenny Lawson, a 22-year-old nurse. Since Thorogood was assumed the last person who saw Jones alive, speculation started that he’d killed Jones during an altercation over money.
In 1993, the rumor started circulating again when Tom Keylock, The Rolling Stones’ chauffeur and “fixer,” allegedly told Classic Rock magazine (per the Independent) that Thorogood had confessed to murdering Jones. However, Keylock says this story is false. Both Paint it Black: The Murder of Brian Jones by Geoffrey Giuliano and Who Killed Christopher Robin? by Terry Rawlings claim Jones was murdered by Thorogood, and those versions of events were dramatized in 2005’s film Stoned.
According to Den of Geek, Thorogood’s daughter, Jane Bell, started an even wilder rumor that it was Jagger and Richards who’d killed Jones. The rumor goes that Jagger and Richards were on Jones’s farm to get him to sign over The Rolling Stones. When things got heated, Keith pulled a knife on Jones. Other rumors claim that Jagger somehow killed Jones because he was jealous.
People still think that Jones was murdered
Wohlin still suspects there was foul play. “Brian is still portrayed as a bitter, worn-out and depressed man who was fired because of his drug habit … and who died because he was drunk or high,” she told the Mirror in 2013. “But my Brian was a wonderful, charismatic man who was happier than ever, had given up drugs and was looking forward to pursuing the musical career he wanted.”
Wohlin thinks that it was Frank Thorogood who killed Jones. “I don’t know if Frank meant to kill Brian – maybe it was horseplay in the pool that went wrong. But I knew all along he did not die a natural death. I’m still sure of it.”
Jones’ daughter, Barbara Marion, also still believes her father’s death was not properly investigated and that he could have been murdered. Speaking to Sky News on the 50th anniversary of Jones’ death in 2019, Marion said it was all a “bit of a mystery.”
Marion only discovered Jones was her father in 2002, yet she feels very connected and loyal to him. “I think he was murdered and I think the police did not investigate it the way they should have,” she said. “I would love to have them reopen [the case] and to get some answers.” Nothing but her own research has influenced these views.
She also believes Jones isn’t always given the credit he deserves for forming The Rolling Stones. “He formed the Rolling Stones,” she said. “He chose every member, he got them their gigs. If it weren’t for my father, Mick Jagger would be an accountant somewhere.”
Many people want answers concerning Jones’s death. But it will more than likely remain one of the most mysterious rock star deaths ever.
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