Rolling Stones guitarist and founder member Brian Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool 50 years ago today.
The 27-year-old multi-instrumentalist, whose death sparked theories that he was murdered, gave the band its name when the group was established as a British blues outfit in 1962.
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards took over the group’s musical direction as Jones’s role started to fade in the years that followed.
The musician struggled with alcohol and drug problems and his performance in the studio became increasingly unreliable.
Jones’s relationship with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham also deteriorated as the band was steered away from its blues roots.
The founding member was asked to leave the band in 1969 and died less than a month later.
Jones, who joined the infamous “27 club” of musicians who died at the same age, was found lifeless at the bottom of his pool at Cotchford Farm in Hartfield, East Sussex.
His Swedish girlfriend Anna Wohlin was convinced he was still alive when he was taken out of the pool, insisting that he still had a pulse.
Jones was found dead with a heavily enlarged liver and heart due to drug and alcohol abuse, with a coroner recording his death as a result of misadventure.
The Rolling Stones performed a free concert in Hyde Park two days after Jones’s body was found.
The band had organised the gig a fortnight before to present their new guitarist, and Jones’s replacement, Mick Taylor.
But the concert was dedicated to Jones, with Jagger reading excerpts of the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem Adonais.
When Jagger was asked about whether he felt any guilty over Jones’s death in 1995, he said: “No I don’t really.
“I do feel that I behaved in a very childish way, but we were very young, and in some ways we picked on him.
“But, unfortunately, he made himself a target for it: he was very, very jealous, very difficult, very manipulative, and if you do that in this kind of a group of people you get back as good as you give, to be honest.”
Murder theories developed soon after the musician’s death, and have resurfaced in the decades since.
In 1993 it was reported that construction worker Frank Thorogood, the last person to see Jones alive, had murdered the guitarist.
Thorogood allegedly confessed to the Rolling Stones’ driver Tom Keylock, who later denied the claim.
Sussex Police decided to review Jones’s death in 2009 for the first time since his body was found.
Scott Jones, a British investigative journalist, handed them new evidence after tracing a number of people who were at Jones’s house the night he died.
The journalist told The Mail On Sunday in November 2008 that Thorogood had killed Brian Jones in a fight.
He also claimed senior police officers covered up the true cause of death.
Sussex Police stated that it would not be reopening the case and said there was no evidence to suggest the misadventure verdict was incorrect.