Musician Biographies » The Rolling Stones » Stones on Top - New Management, Aftermath Of Success, 1967, Recovery Records, Rock And Roll Circus, Brian's Sad Decline

Stones on Top - Brian's Sad Decline

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While things had never been better for the band, they had never been worse for Brian. His health was declining. The woman he loved had left him for his band mate. He had run into trouble with the law, and was busted twice for drug-related crimes. And possibly worst of all, the very band he had started and willed into being had gradually eased him out of the spotlight.

That Mick and Keith were now the leaders of the group was undeniable, but what was in question was what Brian's role would be. At this point, he was just a lowly second guitarist. He was unhappy, and the band was unhappy with him. Also, the band had been away from the touring circuit since 1967, and they had a big tour planned for 1969. With his physical and mental health looking worse and worse, it was impossible for Brian to do the tour. It was definitely time for a change.

The Stones had been recording some new material for their next album, Let It Bleed, and they had been looking around for someone to come in and jam with them. Toward the end of May 1969, they found a man named Mick Taylor, a former member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. At first, they didn't tell Taylor exactly what they wanted to meet up with him for, but he meshed well with the band while playing, and he was an excellent guitarist.

Shortly after meeting Mick Taylor, Mick, Keith, and Charlie went to Brian's farm in the English countryside. After a brief conversation, Brian was fired from the band he had started. They announced to the press that Mick Taylor would replace him. Taylor, only twenty years old and quiet, was the perfect replacement for Brian, as there was almost no danger of him trying to steal any of the spotlight from Mick or Keith, and he was good-natured and willing to cooperate.

Sadly, Brian's health problems were not the only threat to his well-being. On July 2, a friend staying at his country house discovered Brian floating in his swimming pool after taking a sleeping pill. By the time Brian was found, he was dead. To pay tribute to the man who had brought them together, the Stones played a free concert in London's Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. The concert had originally been planned as a chance for the public to get a look at the new Rolling Stones, and they were not sure if they should still do it. Unfortunately, this tragedy would not be the last tragedy of 1969 for the Rolling Stones.

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