Keno's ROLLING STONES Web Site


Brian Jones

Keith Richards

   . Who shinned the brightest?

Gosh, it must have been around 1999 or so, when after a long phone conversation with my cyber friend, the late Gerry Seda, she suggested the next day in a email, that I make up a web page which listed the songs where Brian Jones out shinned Keith Richards. I didn't feel the need to do that, so I suggested she make up the page instead on her site. Neither of us ever did. But it is now 2011 and things have changed since that time. I now feel the need to do this! So first off, I dedicate this page to Gerry, it was her idea, and there was never a Brian Jones fan like she.

I decided it was finally time to made up this page as a protest against my former favorite Rolling Stone, Keith Richards, after years of his putting down my second favorite Stone, Brian Jones. I still love Keith to this day, but after his latest falsehoods about BJ in his book Life, I have a problem with the man. The lies in his book about BJ is about all I can take as a hardnosed Stones fan. So today Keith claims that Brian Jones didn't even start the Stones (he actually noted this in another book, not in Life)? Okay, I guess he feels the need to change history. But his lie on this doesn't make it the truth, anybody who was around in 1962 knows who started the band and who hired Keith into the Stones. 


Close friends share a marijuana shotgun in the studio

Brian and Keith in the early '60s were best friends. Then in 1967 Keith stole away Brian's live-in fiancée, Anita Pallenberg, and the war was started between the two. By 1968 Brian was not himself anymore after what his best friend Keith did to him, and it's true he didn't contribute as much to that year's release, Beggar's Banquet, as much as Keith did, only because he pretty much gave up by that time and didn't care anymore, although on a few songs on that album, like "No Expectations", he did play excellent slide guitar. But what about the songs up to 1968?

Keith can put down Brian all he wants to today, but it was mainly Brian's playing that stood out on most of their hit songs up till '68. Sure, Keith got writing credit on most of those songs, where as Brian never did (and should had gotten on a few). But it was Brian Jones who made the Stones stand out up to the late 1960s, not Keith Richards, and any fan alive back then knows this. From 1968 on into the 1980s, yes, Keith was the main music man in the Stones (although he had help from Mick Taylor and Ron Wood). But it is clear to me, that Keith Richards is still to this day jealous of Brian Jones. Why? Who knows for sure, he has no reason to be jealous of anybody! Guess maybe it was because Brian was a full step ahead of him in the early sixties? It was the many different instruments Brian added to Stones songs that made the band different and special. Want proof? Check out the hit songs listed below and see who I pick as the person who stood out on each song. Most of the time it was Brian - not Keith. If you disagree with me and think Keith stood out on most of these songs, then please feel free to drop me an email and explain why. Or post a message to me at the Gas board.

A note on the songs below, and the ones not listed. Yes, many of their lesser, non hit songs from the '60s I don't list here. Keith might have played a bigger role than Brian on some of those songs. But those songs didn't help make the band big, so I'm not listing them, plus there are other songs not listed below that Brian was the lead player on. I don't think I need to list every song from the '60s to prove my point. I also know that Mick Jagger is the other key reason all of these songs are great. But this list has nothing to do with MJ. It was put together to show that between Keith and Brian, on all of the top and different sounding rock songs which the Stones put out up to 1968, it was almost Brian every time who out-shined Keith. So is this why Keith has a problem with Brian today? Well I don't know what Keith's problem is, but I as a fan will stick up for Brian, since he can't stick up for himself when his former best friend keeps putting him down today. Shame on you Keith, please stop it, Brian doesn't deserve this shit from his former best friend; and us fans are sick of hearing you bad mouth a late friend who can't defend himself, the dude who make you the star that you still are today.

Now, please let me prove my point!

30 pre 1968 Rolling Stones Songs
(in alphabetical order)

Who shines brighter on the below songs, Keith Richards or Brian Jones?  

19th Nervous Breakdown
(1965)

Electric Guitar & Background Vocal: Keith Richards Electric Guitar & Saxophone: Brian Jones  

Who Shines the most: A Draw.... Brian's brief sax fits in just right, but Keith plays a bit more guitar on this than BJ does. Note: Some fans claim where you hear the sax, it is actually Brian playing a fuzz guitar. Well, it sounds like a sax to me, but regardless, it's BJ playing there.

2000 Light Years From Home
(1967)

Mellotron & Piano: Brian Jones Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian..... Brian's playing on this song is the only reason it was released, and the only reason this ditty is so damn cool; a song ahead of it's time, thanks to BJ.

2000 Man
(1967)

Guitars: Keith Richards Organ: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: A Draw...... Nothing too special from the two here, but still a very cool song regardless.

As Tears Go By
(1964)

Acoustic Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Keith. BJ doesn't play on this one, nor does the rest of the band.

Dandelion
(1966)

Acoustic Guitar: Keith Richards Harpsichord, Saxophone & Oboe: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian.... he added the extra special instruments.

Get Off Of My Cloud
(1965)

Lead Electric Guitar: Brian Jones Rhythm Electric Guitar & Background Vocal: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian.... Brian's lead guitar riff on this song is as good as any guitar riff Keith played in the 1960s.

Gomper
(1967)

Dulcimer, Sarod, Tamboura, Flute, Organ, Tabla & other Percussion: Brian Jones Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian.... BJ plays most of the instruments on this song. The first modern day New Age/World Music song - thanks to Brian.

Heart Of Stone
(1965)

Weaving Electric Guitars: Keith Richards & Brian Jones (bass sounding six string)

Who Shines the most: Brian....Keith never played a guitar the way BJ does on this song.

I Am Waiting
(1966)

Dulcimer: Brian Jones Acoustic Guitar: Keith Richards  

Who Shines the most: Brian... Brian's dulcimer totally makes the song.   

I Wanna Be Your Man
(1963)

Lead Slide Guitar & Backing Vocals: Brian Jones Rhythm Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian... This song, their first hit single, is all BJ and very little Keith.

Jumpin' Jack Flash
(1968)

Acoustic Guitars: Keith Richards Electric Guitar: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Keith, you can hear his acoustic guitars more than Brian's electric.

Lady Jane
(1966)

Dulcimer: Brian Jones Acoustic Guitars: Keith Richards & Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian.... again, no BJ dulcimer, then nothing special about this song.

Let's Spend The Night Together
(1966)

Electric Guitar &  Bass: Keith Richards Organ: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Keith

Little Red Rooster
(1964)

Electric Slide Guitar & Harp: Brian Jones  Acoustic Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian. A white man playing slide guitar, that was a new thing in 1964.

 
Mona (I Need You Baby)

(1964)

Guitar: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian... Keith isn't on this song and he didn't know how to play guitar in the way BJ did on this song.


Mother's Little Helper
(1965)

Acoustic Guitar & Background Vocals: Keith Richards Vox Mando Guitar & Sitar: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian... BJ's playing on here made this ditty a hit!

Off The Hook
(1964)

Electric Guitars: Keith Richards & Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: A Draw

Out Of Time
(1966)

Acoustic Guitars: Keith Richards Marimbas & Piano: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian... Can Keith play the marimbas? No, nor can he play most of the other instruments Brian played for the band.


Paint It Black
(1966)

Sitar & Tamboura: Brian Jones Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocal: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian (big time!)... Brian and Bill Wyman, along with Charlie Watts, came up with the music for this song, but none of them were credited. You can barely hear Keith's guitar on this song, yet he got the writing credit with Mick Jagger, who at least wrote the lyrics.


Play With Fire
(1965)

Acoustic Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Keith, he's the only band member playing on this song.


Route 66
(1964)

Electric Guitars: Keith Richards &  Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: A Draw

Ruby Tuesday
(1967)

Recorder & Piano, Vocal Harmony: Brian Jones Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian, by a mile. Can you even hear Keith's guitar on this song? This song never would had been written if not for BJ, yet he didn't get any writing credit.

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
(1965)

Electric Guitars: Keith Richards (lead) & Brian Jones Acoustic Guitar: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: A Draw..... Yes, most fans would say Keith shines the most here, because of his great lead - one of the greatest guitar leads that he ever played, but.... Brian plays the best rhythm guitar to ever land on a Stones song on this number, and most fans don't ever consider that fact. Keith Richards in the '60s and '70s was the king of all rhythm guitar players, yes, but he never played rhythm as good as Brian plays on this one song. Next time you hear this song, just pay attention to the rhythm guitar only - and tell me that I'm wrong! If you look at it in that light, it is a draw as to who shinned the most here, for that reason.

Note added: Since I first published this page, this seems to be the only song on the list where some fans disagree with me big time. Fine, but I still stick 100% to what I wrote here. I'm not changing my view on this no matter how many disagree with me, we fans can't agree on everything now, can we? I also need to note that you can only hear Brian's playing on the newer remastered versions of the song. If you listen to the old 45 or the old LP cut, it's hard to hear him playing at all.

She's A Rainbow
(1967)

Electric Guitar: Keith Richards Mellotron & Percussion: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian. Nobody in rock played mellotron better than Mr Jones.

Tell Me (You're Coming Back)
(1964)

Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals: Keith Richards Lead Electric Guitar, Tambourine & Backing Vocals: Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: A Draw.

The Last Time
(1965)

Lead Electric Guitar: Brian Jones  Rhythm Electric Guitar (& solo): Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian, although Keith's solo is excellent, too.

Time Is On My Side (guitar version)
(1964)

Guitars: Keith Richards and Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Keith, the very best of his early guitar playing.

Under My Thumb
(1966)

Marimbas & Piano: Brian Jones Acoustic & Electric Guitars: Keith Richards & Brian Jones

Who Shines the most: Brian. The marimbas make this song what it is.

Walking The Dog
(1964)

Vocal Harmony: Brian Jones Electric Guitars: Brian Jones & Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian... Perhaps the only song where Brian's singing gives him the edge in a song over Keith (and he sang this in a unusual voice, not using his normal vocal tone).

You Better Move On
(1964)

Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocal: Brian Jones Electric Guitar: Keith Richards

Who Shines the most: Brian...  Keith plays little on this song while BJ's acoustic stands out.

So of the 30 special songs listed, Brian shines on 19 of them; on  another 6, both of them are equal; and Keith shines on 5 of the songs. Musically, it wasn't even close back then as far as to whom was the more talented. Sure, by the mid '60s, Keith was a better guitarist than Brian (other than on slide), in part because Brian wasn't happy playing just guitar. Brian's favortie instrument was the sax in the early '60s, yet he rarely played it with the Stones. By the late '60s he was into the sitar a lot, although in the last months of his life, he was back into playing the guitar again most of the time.

Anyway, that's my list and I feel proof enough that Brian Jones was just as important to the Stones as Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were in the 1960s.

 

Check out my book on the Stones: Rolling Thru The Stones

 

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