Book Review: Read My Lips

The Rolling Stones' sacrificial lamb receives an overdue close-up

Read My Lips

Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones

by Paul Trynka
Viking, 384 pp., $28.95

Every great rock band has a bloodletting at its core. Take the Beatles' Pete Best or Replacements' Bob Stinson. As such, it's accepted history that Brian Jones is the Rolling Stones' sacrificial lamb. Considering the guitarist founded the group, named it, and ultimately set its musical course and attitude, the severing of ties remains especially nasty in this instance. Jones was far more than a dandy, libertine, and Lothario who fell victim to his own insecurities and considerable appetites. Veteran UK rock journalist Paul Trynka, author of definitive Iggy Pop biography Open Up And Bleed, effectively communicates the cruelty in Jones' excommunication over a pay discrepancy and manager Andrew Loog Oldham's alleged homoerotic eye for Mick Jagger. Example: Keith Richards' continual crediting his discovery of the open G guitar tuning to Ry Cooder in 1968 when it was his partner in six-string slash who was the band's slide guitarist. Richards' churlish dismissal of his debt to Jones presents merely one of myriad questions at the book's heart, including possible songwriting contributions being covered up. Trynka deftly lifts the rug, finally giving the flawed, well-dressed devil his due.

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Brian Jones, Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Andrew Loog Oldham

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