Brian had an innate passion for music from a young age, being particularly transformed by the energy of American blues. This love for exotic sounds saw him become one of the first people in the UK to play slide guitar, subsequently having an immense effect on the early days of The Rolling Stones. His multi-instrumentalist skills can be heard throughout a plethora of early Stones tracks, from the slide guitar on tracks such as ‘I’m a King Bee’ and the sitar on ‘Paint It, Black’, to the organ on ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ and marimba on ‘Lady Jane’. Uninterested in playing rhythm guitar, Brian’s love for Jazz music also allowed him to add elements of the saxophone and oboe to ‘Dandelion’ and the xylophone on ‘Yesterday’s Papers’.
In addition to musical dexterity, Brian had an eccentric style which made him the most stand-out member of the band for seven years. His peculiar fashion sense evolved throughout his time within the Rolling Stones, as he transformed from a young man who wore sharp Mod suiting in the early 1960s, to his later flamboyant Peacock Style towards the end of the decade. Moving with the times from Mods to psychedelic Hippies, Brian was always inventive and inspiring, often sporting velvet, Mandarin coats, fur, kimonos, blouses and cravats during the late 1960s.
Between 1965 and 1967, Brian dated actress, model and style icon: Anita Pallenberg. The pair soon became one of the most iconic couples of the Swinging Sixties, looking like identical twins by sharing the famous blonde bowl haircut and dressing in sync. This androgynous look was revolutionary, influencing couples such as David Bowie and Angie Barnett and Marc Bolan and June Child. Jones’ biographer Geoffrey Giuliano wrote about him and Anita Pallenberg, touching on his peculiar fashion sense by saying that during the psychedelic, Hippie period in Britain, Jones would “parade the streets of London wearing a Victorian lace shirt, floppy turn-of-the-century hat, Edwardian velvet frock coat, multi-coloured suede boots, accessorised scarves hanging from his neck, waist and legs along with lots of antique Berber jewellery.”
Influencing not just music but also fashion, Brian Jones was the epitome of unconventional with his extravagant style and quirky guitars to match. Take his outfit of choice at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival as an example, which the New Musician Express Magazine reported by stating: “Brian, in mind-shattering gold lame coat festooned with beads, crystals and lace, was the unofficial king of the festival”.
Aside from his undisputed input in the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones broke the rules of fashion in the 60s and will forever be remembered as a style icon in his own right.