Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969) was an English musician, best known as founder and the original leader of the Rolling Stones. Initially a slide guitarist, Jones would go on to play a wide variety of instruments on Rolling Stones recordings and in concerts, such as rhythm and lead guitar, various keyboard instruments such as piano and organ, marimba, harmonica, sitar, wind instruments such as recorder, saxophone, oboe, and numerous others. Jones and fellow guitarist Keith Richards developed a unique style of guitar play that Richards refers to as the "ancient art of weaving" where both players would play both rhythm and lead parts together; Richards would carry the style on with later Stones guitarists and the sound would become a Rolling Stones trademark.
A few years after he founded the Rolling Stones as a British blues outfit in 1962, and gave the band its name, Jones' fellow band members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began to take over the band's musical direction, especially after they became a successful songwriting team. Jones also did not get along with the band's manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, who pushed the band into a musical direction at odds with Jones's blues background. At the same time, Jones developed a drug problem, and his performance in the studio became increasingly unreliable, leading to a diminished role within the band he founded. The Rolling Stones asked Jones to leave in June 1969 and guitarist Mick Taylor took his place in the group. Jones died less than a month later by drowning in the swimming pool at his home while under the influence of drugs.
Long-time Rolling Stones bass guitarist Bill Wyman said of Jones, "He formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs. ... he was very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it – highly intelligent – and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away."
He is also known as Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones.
At around midnight on the night of 2–3 July 1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm. His Swedish girlfriend, Anna Wohlin, was convinced Jones was alive when he was taken out of the pool, insisting he still had a pulse. However, by the time the doctors arrived it was too late and he was pronounced dead. The coroner's report stated "death by misadventure" and noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.
Upon Jones' death, the Who's Pete Townshend wrote a poem titled "A Normal Day for Brian, A Man Who Died Every Day" (printed in The Times), Jimi Hendrix dedicated a song to him on US television, and Jim Morrison of The Doors published a poem titled "Ode to L.A. While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased". Coincidentally, Hendrix and Morrison both died within the following two years; all three at age 27. Jones, Hendrix, and Morrison are considered the 10th, 13th, and 16th members of the 27 Club, respectively.
The Rolling Stones performed at a free concert in Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, two days after Jones' death. The concert had been scheduled weeks earlier as an opportunity to present the Stones' new guitarist, Mick Taylor, and the band decided to dedicate the concert to Jones. Before the Rolling Stones' set Jagger read excerpts from "Adonais", a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley about the death of his friend John Keats, and stagehands released hundreds of white butterflies as part of the tribute. The band opened with a Johnny Winter song that was one of Jones' favourites, "I'm Yours and I'm Hers".