This year marks the 50th anniversary of the untimely passing of Brian Jones who was often referred to as ‘The Golden Stone’. Born in Cheltenham in 1942, Brian was the founder of The Rolling Stones, and gave the band their name, taken from the track Rollin’ Stone Blues from a Muddy Waters LP. He was a fiercely talented multi-instrumentalist, and could play slide, rhythm and lead guitar, sitar, dulcimer, piano, organ, mellotron, marimba, harmonica, autoharp, recorder, saxophone as well as drums. Ever the musical innovator, his immense contribution in terms of musicality, vision, drive, determination, and all-round creative flair, were integral to the early success of the band and helped propel them to stardom. Brian’s legacy lives on today through the music of The Rolling Stones who remain as popular and potent as ever.
It’s fitting that such an array of musicians came together to pay tribute to his music at the beautiful Hurtwood Park Polo Club, situated at the foot of the Surrey Hills. Kenney Jones, former drummer with The Who and The Small Faces, owns the polo club which features a stunning fully restored 18th Century barn dating back to 1750 as its welcoming clubhouse. Rock n Horsepower Presents The Golden Stones Years: A Tribute To Brian Jones was a totally unique event; one that brought together high performance super cars, pukka ponies, polo, and music.
The day was also in aid of two very special charities: The Racehorse Sanctuary which provides a safe haven and rehoming for horses who have retired from the racing industry. Through a combination of rehabilitation, the best veterinary care, and retraining, the horses are given a second life after their racing one has ended.
The other charity which benefitted was the David Lynch Foundation UK, an organisation that brings the transformative benefits of Transcendental Meditation to young people, war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the homeless, prisoners, and other disadvantaged groups around the world. Interestingly, Brian Jones was always a spiritual seeker, and was a meditator who had attended talks given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the sixties.
The day was a real family affair with Joolz Jones (grandson of Brian Jones) treating everyone to a stonking set including Satisfaction, Sympathy For The Devil and All Along The Watchtower (Hendrix style!) with his inherited, searing passion for music so evident. Donovan and Linda Leitch (Joolz’s grandmother) were also co-hosts. Donovan, Linda and Joolz explained: “As Brian’s family we waited for the right time to celebrate his musical genius and now, with the huge support of Kenney and Jayne Jones, this is the year!”
Mike Stevens was the music director, and the brilliant ELO band backed up the special guest performers, which included The Waterboys, The Stranglers, Donovan, Glen Matlock & The Tough Cookies featuring Earl Slick, Steve Harley, Kenney Jones & The Jones Gang, Jonny Kaplan and the Lazy Stars, Julie Felix, Lola Lennox, London Contemporary Voices Choir, DJ Milf of EMF, Stephanie Rainey, and MC Liz Kershaw.
Steve Harley added: “I play early Stones tracks more now than ever before. Brian’s influence is everywhere. Musically, his mind was diverse and seeking, he was genuinely a ‘Mind of the 60s’. It will be my privilege to help celebrate his too-short life.”
Julie Felix, the American-born folk singer who is now British-based, reminisced about being at The Stones in the Park concert in Hyde Park in 1969. Due to the sad turn of events, the day became a memorial for Brian, when Mick Jagger read two stanzas of a Percy Bysshe Shelly poem, and thousands of white butterflies were released up into the sky.
Glen Matlock & The Tough Cookies featuring Earl Slick:
The Waterboys played a truly magical set, choosing to omit their own songs, and instead covering Rolling Stones classics including Under My Thumb and Jumpin’ Jack Flash to which they brought their own inimitable style. Mike Scott said: “We’re delighted to honour the supremely gifted musician and complex individual who brought blues, sitars and dandyism into the British mainstream. Long live the Golden Stone!”
Donovan, Joolz Jones, Glen Matlock and Mike Scott joined forces for Ruby Tuesday:
The Stranglers provided a fitting finale with some punk rock edge, along with hits including Golden Brown and Always The Sun. In tribute to Brian, they chose to cover a wonderful rhythm and blues track, Around & Around, which The Rolling Stones covered in the early 60s (a Chuck Berry original).
This was such a special day for so many reasons; a must for classic car enthusiasts, an exciting afternoon of polo, in aid of two worthy charities, and a magnificent celebration of Brian Jones, and his musical genius. It was also a timely reminder of Brian’s tremendous contribution to the history of rock ‘n’ roll, his utter coolness and inventiveness, and how his influence is still very much with us 50 years later.
For further information about the David Lynch Foundation UK, please visit: here
To find out more about Transcendental Meditation, please visit here
For further information on The Racehorse Sanctuary, please visit: here
To find out about upcoming events at Hurtwood Park Polo Club, please visit here
Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones purchase here
Images by CELLOPHANELAND* and Andy RocknRawll. Thanks to Jason Rothberg for additional images.
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of the David Lynch Foundation UK.