July 3 is probably most famously remembered in rock ‘n’ roll history as the day Jim Morrison died. But the date is also shared by The Rolling Stones Brian Jones who died two years prior on July 3, 1969 at age 27. Although Morrison and Jones probably never met, Morrison felt enough of an affinity with Jones that he wrote the poem “Ode to L.A. While Thinking about Brian Jones, Deceased”
Today not many people remember Brian Jones or if they do, they only remember he was fired from The Rolling Stones, but in the 60’s Brian Jones WAS The Rolling Stones. Jones started the group, brought the band members together, named the band, and in the early years he was known as the band’s leader, and maybe it’s for these reasons Morrison felt some sort of parallel between them, and there are a few similarities they share besides the date of their death.
A couple of characteristic’s the two shared was an above average IQ and a penchant to make their teachers and authority figures the main target of their jokes and pranks. As both entered their teen years they became fans of the blues, so much so, that Jones started The Stones as a blues cover group, and because he emulated blues guitarists as The Stones moved towards rock ‘n’ roll Jones played slide guitar on songs. Jones was known as a gifted musician who experimented and used very untraditional instruments in rock songs. Jones was one of the first musicians to use a sitar in rock music, a sound The Doors would use to great effect in “The End”. Because of the use of the sitar in “Paint It Black” the Stones song, has in recent years been frequently confused as a Doors song.
Jones may have also influenced Jim Morrison as he was becoming more and more attracted to rock ‘n’ roll. At least one biography of Morrison’s, Stephen Davis’ “Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend” suggests that Jim Morrison may have seen an interview with Jones in which he didn’t speak above a whisper, having the effect of drawing people in, Davis asserts that thereafter Jim Morrison didn’t speak above a whisper either.
Jones died in the early morning hours of July 3, 1969 under mysterious circumstances. The outward method was by drowning in a swimming pool but rumors of murder soon started to circulate and the coroner ruled it was a death by misadventure noting Jones enlarged liver and heart due to drug and alcohol abuse. Why exactly after Jones’ death Morrison felt enough of an affinity with Jones to write a poem with him in mind is probably only known to Morrison, but it may also be the hedonistic lifestyles the two shared. They may not have ever met each other but they would have known of the others reputation, and Jones who was one of rock’s first real causalities it just may have been a realization by Morrison of what they had in common. Jim Morrison died two years later to the day of Jones, Jones was found in a swimming pool and Morrison in a Paris bathtub. Both were 27.
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