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Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones (28 February 1942 – 3 July 1969) was an English musician, best known as the founder and the original leader of the Rolling Stones. Initially a slide guitarist, Jones would go on to play a wide variety of instruments on Rolling Stones recordings and in concerts, such as rhythm and lead guitar, various keyboard instruments such as piano and organ, marimba, harmonica, sitar, wind instruments such as recorder, saxophone and numerous others.
Jones and fellow guitarist Keith Richards developed a unique style of guitar play that Richards refers to as the “ancient art of weaving” where both players would play rhythm and lead parts together; Richards would carry the style on with later Stones guitarists and the sound would become a Rolling Stones trademark.
After he founded the Rolling Stones as a British blues outfit in 1962, and gave the band its name, Jones’ fellow band members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began to take over the band’s musical direction, especially after they became a successful songwriting team. Jones also did not get along with the band’s manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, who pushed the band into a musical direction at odds with Jones’ blues background. At the same time, Jones developed alcohol and drugs problems, and his performance in the studio became increasingly unreliable, leading to a diminished role within the band he founded. The Rolling Stones asked Jones to leave in June 1969 and guitarist Mick Taylor took his place in the group. Jones died less than a month later by drowning in the swimming pool at his home while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Long-time Rolling Stones bass guitarist Bill Wyman said of Jones, “He formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs. … he was very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it – highly intelligent – and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away