By Hans Ebert
There were the Beatles and there were the Stones and then there was George Harrison and there was Brian Jones.
If being completely honest with myself, it was seeing George in “A Day’s Night”, especially in that opening scene when they’re running away from the fans and trips, and then playing his solo on “I Should Have Known Better” that made me a Beatlemaniac.
Sure, the music of the Beatles allowed in the type of Pop into my psyche that I never ever received from Elvis, but that first real pop idol was George Harrison. He was just cool- aloof, played guitar and always seemed to be more than what he projected. And he was.
Brian Jones just stood out with the Rolling Stones. It’s funny to think how despite following every career move made by the Beatles and being marketed as the anti-Beatles, the Stones never made even one of those horribly forced “wacky” type movies that were churned out during those Swinging Sixties to capture the mood of Swinging London. Hell, Brian Jones WAS Swinging London and the Swinging Sixties.
The only time one saw the Rolling Stones were on programmes like Top Of The Pops and Shindig from America and concert footage from The TAMI Show. And through those video clips, many of us became fans of Brian Jones. Mick Jagger might have been busy perfecting his effete persona and Keith reduced to a background role with Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, both of whom looked way too old to be in the band, so it was really left for cameras to focus on Brian.
With his long blond hair, impish smile and playing his white Vox Teardrop, he was the Original Stone and very much in charge of what was his band. But, as we know, popularity can be a bitch, and so while success and excess took its toll on Brian Jones, George Harrison seemed to be going along with that ticket to ride, but, like John and Paul, knowing that nothing lasts forever and that individuality and solo careers just had to happen.
While we had no idea what Brian Jones was going through, he always looked to be in control though one now realises he was just a frail drugs casualty being carried along before being fired by the band he put together.
We didn’t know any of this. We just saw photographs of Brian Jones embracing the hippie lifestyle and always with some of the most beautiful groupies and women around- women like socialite Suki Potier, who married someone with whom I smoked more than a joint- Robert Ho, the eldest son of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho.
Just as a slight detour, information on Robert and the left field lifestyle he led in Hong Kong after arriving here from London before really cleaning up his act and accepting respectability and responsibility as his father’s heir apparent, and then he and Suki’s fatal car crash in the outskirts of Paris, are sketchy at the most. It’s almost as if he never existed.
Many in Hong Kong have never heard of Robert or Carlos Leitao, someone else related to Stanley Ho, and very tight with Robert. We’d all hang out trying hard to be Jimi Hendrix. It’s a long story. Carlos was deported to Macau after having sex with at least fifteen slightly under aged expat schoolgirls in Hong Kong, then deported from Macau after being arrested for having sex with an under aged tourist in the back of a bus before, this time, being sent off to join the army in Brazil and where he was shot dead by rebel soldiers. Very strange. And so was Brian Jones.
Unable to function in the recording studio, Mick Taylor was brought in while the Stones carried their one-time friend until they couldn’t anymore. He had lost his longtime girlfriend Anita Pallenberg to Keith Richards who was at the time fighting his own smacked out demons, but one wonders if Brian knew or cared.
He dabbled in music like playing sax on the Beatles Goonish recording of “What’s My Name (Look Up Your Number)”.
He hung out with musicians trying to remain relevant and produced a record by the Master Musicians Of Joujouka. He was a lost soul whereas George had found inner peace.
The next thing the world knew, Brian Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool. Accident or murder? There’ve been many theories, but his death to join the 27 Club remains a mystery while the Bell Bottom Blues Of George And Brian shows how damn lucky some of us were to either survive those years, or take the time given and live it so hard that the bottom gives away and burn out frazzles you.
#GeorgeHarrison #BrianJones #ADay’sNight #SukiPotier