Brian Jones Funeral held in his home town of Cheltenham

On July 10, 1969 (1960's music) 15 Comments

Lewis Brian Jones was buried in his home town of Cheltenham on July 10th, 1969. The funeral service was held at St Mary’s Parish Church and he was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery.

Brian Jones Death

Brian Jones had died in mysterious circumstances a week earlier, having been found dead in his Cotchford Farm swimming pool having left the The Rolling Stones a few weeks earlier. Between Brian’s death and his funeral, The Rolling Stones had played a huge free gig in London’s Hyde Park. At the beginning of this gig, Mick Jagger has read an extract from “Adonais”, Shelly’s eulogy to his friend Keats. Hundreds of white butterfly’s were released and The Stones opened their set with Johnny Winter’s, “I’m Yours And I’m Hers”, one of Brian’s favorites.

Brian Jones Funeral

Brian Jones Funeral

The 1960s had seen many changes in attitudes (including the response to The Rolling Stones drug busts) but back in Cheltenham in 1969, a nice middle-class town, things were still very much as they had been. However on a hot and humid July day, they were about to be invaded by the outside world.

Before the funeral, fans had already sent enough flowers to fill the cemetery, including a guitar shaped arrangement from Brian’s family and a huge arrangement spelling out “Gates of Heaven” from The Rolling Stones.

On the day of the funeral the town was besieged with tearful fans, curious onlookers and swarms of press photographers. The 14-car funeral procession crawled to the cemetery at a pace even more stately than usual as its progress was blocked by the surging crowds.

Below is the TV coverage from Dutch TV showing the scenes at the funeral. It’s in Dutch, but the interview with Keith Richard is in English.

The Service

Order of Servicefor Brian Jones Funeral - part 1

Order of Service for Brian Jones Funeral - part 3Order of Service for Brian Jones Funeral - part 2

The clash of old and new continued at the funeral service. Speaking of Brian Jones in the eulogy, Canon Hugh Evan Hopkins said –

He had little patience with authority, convention and tradition. In this he was typical of many of his generation who have come to see in The Rolling Stones an expression of their whole attitude to life. Much that this ancient church has stood for in 900 years seems totally irrelevant to them.”

For the canon, Brian Jones symbolized all the sins and excesses of his generation.

If any pretense at solemnity had been hoped for at the burial, it soon evaporated. As the casket was lowered into the ground photographers fought to get shots as teenagers jostled and pushed their way forward to toss their flowers onto Brian Jones‘ remains.

Worries about the grave being looted meant it was dug twice as deep as normal, 12 feet, and with all the shoving there was a real danger of people falling into the deep grave.

The Jones Family

The Jones family were a conservative, even snobbish, family and in many ways shared the views of Canon Hugh Evan Hopkins. Brian Jones and his father Lewis Jones had a fractious relationship. His father, a respectable aircraft designer, did not understand his son and the way he turned his back on everything he believed was right and felt his music was “evil”. Brian’s relationship with his mother was also cold, especially after his younger sister Pamela died from Leukemia.

The words chosen for Brian Jones‘ headstone seemed to sum up this relationship, “Affectionate Remembrances of Brian Jones” (incidentally the date on the headstone shows he died on July 3rd, when the death certificate cites he died before midnight on the 2nd)

Lewis Jones had wanted a private, low-key funeral, but The Rolling Stones tour manager Tom Keylock stepped in and arranged the details of the funeral. “Brian lived like a star and he died like a star” said Tom Keylock, “I got it organized how I thought fitting for Brian, not Lewis Jones.”

Brian Jones was buried wearing a powder blue jacket, white shirt and black tie. His hair had been lightened and cut in his trademark bob, he looked as if he were asleep. He was laid to rest in a grand silver and bronze casket. It is widely believed that the casket was commissioned by his close friend Bob Dylan, however Tom Keylock has claimed that he was responsible for commissioning the casket.

Attendees at the Funeral

Of The Rolling Stones, only Charlie Watts (reportedly the one most affected by the death of Brian) and Bill Wyman attended the funeral. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful were on their way to Australia to film Ned Kelly and had been threatened with legal action if they were late. Keith Richard and Anita Pallenberg did not attend either, but considering their history with Brian, this was not surprising.

Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Frank Thorogood at Brian Jones Funeral

Frank Thorogood at Brian Jones Funeral

One surprising absentee was Brian’s girlfriend at the time of his death, Anna Wohlin. She had been living with Brain at Cotchford farm and had been present when he died. She had been in shock and she claims The Rolling Stones management had sent her back to Sweden because, “I was just a nuisance, I was just a problem.”

Anna Wohlin‘s absence was probably for the best as Frank Thorogood, the builder who was also at Cotchford Farm the night Brian died, did attend. He died in 1993, but has since been accused by Anna Wohlin of killing Brian Jones.

According to the funeral director, The Rolling Stones management also asked for photographs to be taken of Brian’s body in the casket but at this point the Jones family put their foot down and security guards were placed at the funeral directors to make sure that no photographers got in.

Remembrances

Brian Jones had lead a brief but extraordinary life. He was also easy to hold up as a morality tale for the older generation. He had fathered 5 children, all outside wedlock (still something of a stigma then) and refused to acknowledge any of them. He was also vain and insecure, but for all his faults his charisma, musicianship and drive had launched one of the most influential bands of all-time.

Comments

15 Responses to “Brian Jones Funeral held in his home town of Cheltenham”

  1. clare brown on January 14th, 2012 9:34 am

    God bless u brain.u was my mum and best man in 1960. In cheltenham.my dad told me lots about u.but now my dad is up their with u. So u both take care. And next time i go and see dad i will come and see u to x x

  2. pete williams on February 1st, 2012 10:10 pm

    Where was Brian Jones parents from originally, was his father Welsh.

  3. admin on February 3rd, 2012 1:54 am

    Hi Pete, As far as I am aware, both his parents were Welsh or at least of Welsh descent…

  4. Gerald Roberts on February 5th, 2012 10:33 pm

    Hi , I am after a picture of Brian’s former home in Cheltenham. I have met the family who bought the house. They were on holiday in Sydney Australia in Feb 2012.
    Thanks.

  5. phillip cyril mcginnes on March 5th, 2014 11:54 am

    I love you and will always remember you.May God bless your memory and the light take care of you forever.

  6. Jimmy Lee on September 2nd, 2014 5:47 am

    Really sad that we will never really know the answer
    of what really happened to Brian Jones. I have studied this issue for over 40 years! I still think Mick And Keith were grade A assholes! for not attending his funeral. I think Bill Wyman feels the same!

  7. John Lancaster on March 16th, 2015 11:45 am

    Is Brians Sister and his mother still alive

  8. stacy clement on August 23rd, 2015 9:26 pm

    The legacy and memory of Brian Jones is still alive and well today as the day he passed. Long live Brian Jones Founder,inspiration and Lead Man of the Rolling Stones- Any other accounts are just hogwash

    Stacy Clement

  9. carolyncrneck Joyce Crneck on February 6th, 2016 1:55 am

    I just wanted to say,in the photo walking alongside Bill Wyman, the woman next to him looks like Dawn Molloy Young, she was a girlfriend of Brian Jones in 1964, & gave birth to his son in 1965, a boy- John Paul..Dawn kept in touch with Bill Wyman throughout the years..Godbless you Brian, RIP

  10. Bill on July 3rd, 2016 10:15 pm

    It was Mick Jagger who orchestrated Brian’s murder! Keith was Mick’s “ally”. That’s why neither of them attended the funeral. Keith was saddened, but from what I’ve studied and read over the years, Mick has never shown ANY signs of remorse whatsoever!

  11. Brian on July 17th, 2016 8:17 pm

    There is a Facebook group called Brian Jones Golden Stone that may have some or all of the answers or items the people in this thread are asking about. Great group. Jones was the heart and soul of the Stones and his influence was evident in their albums even after his death. Keith and Mick not attending the funeral was awful given what Brian meant to the Stones as founder of the group. Further evidence of the Glimmer Twins minimizing his contributions as they did in videos, performances and the media and supplanting him. I understand Brian had a drug problem but he had no drugs in his system at time of death and only about 3 pints of beer had been consumed. Friends help friends. The police did not care enough to do a real investigation.

  12. Andreas on July 18th, 2016 5:33 am

    Although it cannot be proven It seems as though Frank probably killed Brian, although I don’t think he did it on purpose. Why Brian allowed someone like him to stick around right after he fired him seems a bit of a mystery to me.
    I think it is absolutely horrid that the rest of the Rolling Stones didn’t attend. Especially considering that Mick and Keith probably contributed more to his downfall and demise then drugs or alcohol. It sickens me the way Mick and Keith have attempted to rewrite history Excluding Brian extraordinary contributions. Keith Richards biography States that Ian Stewart started the band. he definitely helped Brian pull everything together, but this was Brian’s vision, Nick and Keith auditioned for him not the other way around.
    Like many other musicians who died way too young, I cannot help but wonder what he might’ve done had he lived longer. Attempting to show The beauty of world music several decades before anyone else attempt to do anything like that. Anyway enough of my rant. Interesting article.

  13. Lynn Hislop on September 3rd, 2016 8:18 pm

    That is NOT Dawn with Bill. She was a married woman, with children from that marriage by this point. It was Bill’s girlfriend Astrid.

  14. Craig Thomson on November 13th, 2016 1:25 am

    When I was a kid, Brian Jones was my fave Stone.
    When he died, Myself, and a good friend promised,that one day, we would visit Brian’s Grave in Cheltenham. But because we lived in Scotland, Cheltenham seemed an awful long way away. We were only 14 at the time. Sadly,the friend in question, Charlie Bone, died of a brain tumour about 10 years ago and never got to fulfil our promise. But, in August this year, 2016, my wife and I were driving through Cheltenham and we decided to look for Brian’s grave. We found it very quickly, and spent five very peaceful minutes, sitting on a bench, just looking at his grave, and thinking of the great man, and what he meant to me as a teenager, all those years ago.
    It truly was a humbling experience. I have lived in London since 1971, and was a Recording Engineer for many years. I did my early training with The Decca Record Company. Whilst I know The Stones recorded very little, at the Decca studios in Broadhurst gardens, West Hampstead, It was a great privilege to have at least worked for the same record co.that had signed the original band, The Rolling Stones.
    I enjoyed several happy years there until the studios closed in December 1979.
    I worked as an engineer, on a freelance basis up until 1992. Now, I live in Surrey, and write books for Young adults. Brian Jones though? What a charismatic and talented man,and a tremendous loss to music!

  15. Diane on December 16th, 2016 12:57 am

    The woman in the photo with Bill is his wife Astrid. Dawn Molloy did not attend Brian’s funeral. Linda Lawrence did with her and Brian’s son Julian. The best site on Brian by far is Brian Jones The Original Rolling Stone on FB. They have Brian’s close friends, family, business associates on there. They are the best site that I have found.

Leave a Reply