Last night I watched Nick Broomfield‘s The Stones and Brian Jones, which is basically about how Jones started the Rolling Stones 61 years ago (at age 20 he advertised for bandmates in the 5.2.62 edition of Jazz Weekly) and was the band’s “uncontested leader” until they began to move away from blues covers in ’65 due to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards beginning to write more and more of their own material.

Jones resented the dilution of the Stones’ blues cover band identity and particularly Jagger-Richards becoming more dominant figures and Jones becoming less of one.

Alas, when the druggy-mystical period of the mid to late ’60s kicked in Jones became more and more of a hostile, sullen, indifferent or undermotivated fellow and certainly a major druggie, contributing less and less to the band’s album output.

The Stones fired his scowling, resentful ass in June of ’69, and Jones drowned in his swimming pool on 7.3.69.

The Stones and Brian Jones is therefore a cautionary tale that says “adapt or die.”

Jones was fine as long as the Stones were playing Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo and Howlin’ Wolf covers, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t submit to the Jagger-Richards era. He basically sulked himself to death.

Broomfield doesn’t touch the fact that Jones was short but he was — only 5’6″, or roughly the same height as Alan Ladd and at least an inch shorter than Frank Sinatra. I once read a Jagger quote in which he called Jones “just a little guy.” Do you think he used this description because he admired his stature?

Jagger to Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner in ’95, answering whether or not he felt guilty about driving Jones to despair and apparent suicide:

“No, I don’t really. I do feel that I behaved in a very childish way, but we were very young, and in some ways we picked on him. But unfortunately, Brian made himself a target for it. He was very, very jealous, very difficult, very manipulative, and if you do that in this kind of a group of people you get back as good as you give, to be honest.

“Plus I wasn’t understanding enough about his drug addiction. No one seemed to know much about drug addiction. Things like LSD were all new. No one knew the harm. People thought cocaine was good for you.”

Broomfield’s doc (co-written by Broomfield and Marc Hoeferlin) is very good and a lot of fun in its spirited recollections of the ’62 to ’65 era. Recommended viewing.