Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Stones – Start Me Up

Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones – Paul Trynka (Viking Books)

For the casual Rolling Stones fan the band will forever be known by the dynamic duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The so-called Glimmer Twins have been synonymous with success of the Rolling Stones, dubbed by many as the World’s Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll band; but the truth is the band got its start when blues fan, guitarist Brian Jones began to cobble together a group of like minded musicians that would evolve into the Stones.

In Brian Jones – The Making of the Rolling Stones, author Paul Trynka draws a sharp dividing line between the two camps; those that support the status of Brian Jones as the founding force and those who fall into the Jagger/Richards camp as the spark of the band’s ultimate greatness.

Trynka truly highlights, but doesn’t necessarily clear up the mystery that shrouds much of the mystery that surrounds the band; the strained relationships, the seemingly endless parade of women (who often added fuel to the fiery relationships) the drugs, the mis-management and the super-sized personalities and egos that are part and parcel of the band.

Trynka focuses a lot of attention on Jones’ troubled early life and the impact that it had on his personality, his apparent obsessions and his ultimate demise. While there has been much speculation surrounding the death of Brian Jones, Trynka doesn’t really wade into the conspiracy debate; instead choosing to touch on many of the theories that have been espoused and investigated by both the police and the media.

What is made clear in the pages of Brain Jones is that despite 50 years of music and media including countless articles and books there remains a staggering amount that is unknown or unclear about the band’s history. That may stem from the passage of time, the clearly divided camps and conflicting allegiances, the deep dives into drug abuse and the desire to keep things all a part of the mythology of the Stones.

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