The rock world was dealt a blow 50 years ago -- July 3rd, 1969 -- when Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool in England. There have been various theories about foul play, but no charges were ever brought.
His erratic behavior, legal issues, poor health and substance abuse led to his ouster from the band the previous month. The Stones allowed him to say he chose to leave the group, and in truth he had largely abandoned it. He issued a statement saying, "I no longer see eye-to-eye with the others over the discs we are cutting. … I want to play my kind of music, which is no longer the Stones music. The music Mick and Keith have been writing has progressed at a tangent, as far as my own taste is concerned.”
Jones played on every Stones album through 1969's Let it Bleed. He also recorded with The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Peter and Gordon, and Marianne Faithfull.
He was 27 and became the first member of the "27 Club" -- rock stars who died at that age. That notable group now includes Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.
Jones was replaced in the Stones by Mick Taylor. Two days after his death, the band's free concert in London's Hyde Park, which was meant to introduce Taylor, became a memorial for Jones.
Bill Wyman recently reflected on the late Brian Jones:
"Brian Jones created the Rolling Stones. It was Brian Jones who wanted to form a blues band. It was Brian Jones who gave The Rolling Stones their name. It was Brian Jones who chose the music we would play. It was Brian Jones who was the biggest star in the band. It was Brian Jones who got all the fan mail and all the girls. Not as people would think Mick Jagger and Keith Richards."