Why the sudden interest in Brian Jones?

Friday, May 13, 2022

One of the odd things about a blog is how an old post can suddenly get an unexpected burst of interest, for no apparent reason whatsoever. While my commentary on “The Fiftieth Anniversary of ‘The Last Time’ ” has intermittently drawn the attention of readers now and then, the traffic report for that article alone has never before hit almost 30 readers in a two-day period (May 12-13, 2022). From the very start, my blog has never been one to attract much attention; for one thing, I refuse to stick to a single subject with a precise point of view that keeps hammering away at the same ideas. If I want to write about a novel by Jim Krusoe, I do so with the same commitment that I write about the ideological limits of Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate, bringing the song that Sanders used in one of his advertisements (Paul Simon’s “America”) into the discourse. If I want to write a long, two-part entry on public transportation (“The New Covenant of Public Mobility”), and then give my attention to some quirky thing that’s happened in my life or to a film that my CSULB colleague Steve Cooper was involved in, then I regard that as the birthright of this blog: no one’s paying me to write this, so I get to write what I want. Sometimes people write me with additional questions, as has been the case with my entry on Sam Shepard’s first known script, “The Mildew.”

Since writing my post on “The Last Time,” a several hour film has been released on the Beatles and the recordings they made at the end of their time as a group. It’s a shame that an equivalent amount of footage doesn’t exist of the Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s as they made “The Rolling Stones Now,” “Out of Our Heads,” “Aftermath,” and “Between the Buttons.” While there are at least an additional half-dozen songs on which Jones’s contributions are crucial (such as “2000 Light Years from Home”; and “No Expectations”), those four albums are among the very best made by any group in the 1960s, and they had a mesmerizing influence on many poets as well as a culturally contextualizing impact that lingers to this day. While Charlie Watts’s assessment of Jones is all too true (“He had a death wish at a very early age”), it’s also the case that the music Jones made still sounds audaciously resonant.

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