Feb. 28: Rolling Stones Founding Member, Brian Jones, was born on this date in 1942...

... he died July 3, 1969, when he was 27 years-old.

Born Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Brian was a versatile musician who in addition to guitar and the harmonica, played a wide variety of other instruments. His innovative use of traditional or folk instruments, such as the sitar and marimba, was integral to the changing sound of the Rolling Stones.

Both Jones's parents were interested in music: his mother Louisa was a piano teacher, and in addition to his job as an aeronautical engineer, Lewis Jones played piano and organ and led the choir at the local church.

In 1957 Jones first heard Cannonball Adderley's music, which inspired his interest in jazz. Jones persuaded his parents to buy him a saxophone, and two years later his parents gave him his first acoustic guitar as a 17th birthday present. (He also played first clarinet in the school orchestra.)  Despite well above average academic ability, his hostility to authority figures he was suspended from school on twice.

After his 14-year old girlfriend became pregnant, Jones quit school and left home, travelling through northern Europe and Scandinavia for a summer. During this period, he busked with his guitar on the streets for money. Jones grew up listening to classical music, but he preferred blues. and began playing at local blues and jazz clubs. (Jones also fathered three other children before he turned 23.)

Jones moved to London where he became friends with musicians in the small London rhythm and blues and jazz scene. For a brief time, Jones called himself "Elmo Lewis," and playing slide guitar. Jones also started a band with Paul Jones called The Roosters.

Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News in May 1962 inviting musicians to audition for a new R&B group at the Bricklayers Arms pub; pianist Ian "Stu" Stewart was the first to respond. Later singer and his childhood friend Keith Richards and Mick Jagger joined the band.

Jones came up with the name "The Rollin' Stones" (later with the 'g') while on the phone with a venue owner. The Best of Muddy Waters album was lying on the floor—and track one was 'Rollin' Stone Blues'."

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The Rollin' Stones played their first gig on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London with Mick Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, bass player Dick Taylor (later of The Pretty Things) and drummer Tony Chapman.

From September 1962 to September 1963 Jones, Jagger and Richards shared an apartment in Chelsea, London.  Jones and Richards spent every day playing guitar while listening to blues records. During this time, Jones also taught Jagger how to play harmonica.

The four Rollin' Stones went searching for a bassist and drummer, finally settling on Bill Wyman on bass because he had a spare VOX AC30 guitar amplifier ( and always had cigarettes,) and a bass guitar that he had built himself. In January 1963 they persuaded jazz-influenced Charlie Watts to join them.

The group played at local blues and jazz clubs, garnering fans in spite of resistance from traditional jazz musicians who felt threatened by their popularity. While Jagger was lead singer, Jones, in the group's embryonic period, was the leader—promoting the band, landing gigs, and negotiating with venue owners.

From 1966 onwards Jones's contributions in the recording studio were more as a multi-instrumentalist than as a guitarist. His aptitude for playing a wide variety of instruments is particularly evident on the albums Aftermath, Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Examples of Jones's contributions on slide guitar include "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I'm a King Bee," "Little Red Rooster," "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I'm Movin' On," "Doncha Bother Me," and "No Expectations."

Jones played Bo Diddley-style rhythm guitar on "I Need You Baby (Mona)," the guitar riff in "The Last Time"; sitar on "Street Fighting Man" and "Paint It, Black"; organ on "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Complicated," and "2000 Man"; marimba on "Under My Thumb," "Out Of Time" and "Yesterday's Papers"; recorder on "Ruby Tuesday" and "All Sold Out"; trumpet on "Child of the Moon"; Appalachian dulcimer on "I Am Waiting" and "Lady Jane" and harpsichord on "Lady Jane"; accordion on "Backstreet Girl"; saxophone and oboe on "Dandelion"; mellotron on "She's a Rainbow," "We Love You," "Stray Cat Blues" and "2000 Light Years from Home"; and - on his final recording as a Rolling Stone - the autoharp on "You Got the Silver."

Jones also played harmonica on many of the Rolling Stones' early songs including "Stoned," "Not Fade Away," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Now I've Got A Witness," "Good Times, Bad Times," and "Dear Doctor" and "Prodigal Son" among many other songs.

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The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 - Limited Edition Remastered Vinyl Box Set

In the early years, Jones also sometimes served as a backing vocalist. Notable examples are "Come On," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Walking the Dog," "Money (That's What I Want)," "I'm Alright," "You Better Move On" and "It's All Over Now." He is also responsible for the amazing whistling on "Walking the Dog."

Jones's and Richards's guitars became a signature of the sound of the Rolling Stones, with both guitarists playing rhythm and lead without clear boundaries between the two roles.

Beginning of the End
The arrival of Andrew Loog Oldham's as the Stones' manager marked the beginning of Jones's slow estrangement, his prominent role gradually diminishing as the Stones' centre shifted from Jones to Jagger and Richards. Oldham recognized the financial advantages of bandmembers writing their own songs, and wanted to make Jagger's charisma and flamboyance a focus of live performances.

Jones saw his influence over the Stones' direction slide as their repertoire comprised fewer of the blues covers that he preferred and more Jagger/Richards original songs.

According to Andrew Loog Oldham in his book Stoned, Jones was an outsider from the beginning. When the first tours were arranged in 1963, Jones travelled separately from the band, stayed at different hotels, and demanded extra pay. According to Oldham, Jones was very emotional, and felt alienated because he was not a prolific song writer and his management role had been taken away.

The toll from the feeling of alienation from the group resulted in Jones's abuse of alcohol and other drugs. As tensions and Jones's substance use increased, his musical contributions became sporadic. He became bored with the guitar and sought exotic instruments to play, and he was increasingly absent from recording sessions.

Brian with Anita Pallenberg
In March 1967, Anita Pallenberg, Jones's girlfriend of two years, left him for Richards when Jones was hospitalized during a trip the three made to Morocco, further damaging the already strained relations between Jones and Richards.

Jones's last substantial sessions with the Stones occurred in spring and summer of 1968, when the Stones produced "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the Beggars Banquet album. He can be seen in the Jean-Luc Godard film One Plus One - which chronicles the making of "Sympathy for the Devil - playing acoustic guitar, chatting and sharing cigarettes with Richards, although Jones is snubbed during the performances.  Jones's acoustic guitar can be heard occasionally in the raw film footage but was not included in the released version.

Jones's last formal appearance was in the December 1968 The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, a part concert, part circus-act film organised by the band. It went unreleased for 25 years because Jagger was unhappy with the band's performance. The DVD release of the film Jones's playing is inaudible except during "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Sympathy For The Devil," and "No Expectations."

Jones was arrested a second time in May 1968, for possession of cannabis. He was facing a long jail sentence if found guilty, owing to his probation. Jones's attendance of rehearsals and recording sessions had become erratic; and when he did appear, he rarely contributed anything musically, or his bandmates would switch off his guitar, leaving Richards playing nearly all the guitars.

Following the release of the Let it Bleed album in the summer of 1969, they would start a North American tour. Because of his drug convictions, Jones would not receive a work permit. At the suggestion of pianist and road manager Ian Stewart, the Stones decided to add a new guitarist.

On June 8, 1969, Jones was visited by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts, and was told that the group he had formed would continue without him. He was replaced by 20-year-old guitarist Mick Taylor formerly of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

During the period of his decreasing involvement in the band, Jones was living at Cotchford Farm in East Sussex, the residence formerly owned by Winnie-the-Pooh author A. A. Milne. He had talked to others about starting a new band.

However, at around midnight on the night of July 2-3, 1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool. By the time the doctors arrived, he was pronounced dead. The coroner's report stated "death by misadventure," and noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.


Feb. 27: Josh Groban is 30 today.

Born Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban was born in Los Angeles. His four solo albums have been certified at least multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was charted as the number one best selling artist in the U.S. with over 21 million records sold. To date, he has sold over 24 million albums worldwide.

Groban first sang in public in the seventh grade when his music teacher asked him to sing a solo of "S'wonderful" at the school's Cabaret Night. At this time, he was more focused on theatrical arts.

In the summers of 1997 and 1998, he also attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts Camp in Michigan, majoring in music theatre, and began taking vocal lessons. Groban went on to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a theatre major and graduated in 1999. He was admitted to the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, intending to study drama, but he left four months into his first semester.

The event that propelled him into singing happened when his vocal coach, Seth Riggs, submitted a tape of Josh singing, "All I Ask of You," from The Phantom of the Opera, to producer, composer and arranger David Foster. Foster called him to stand in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli to rehearse a duet, "The Prayer," with Celine Dion at the rehearsal for the Grammy Awards in 1998. Groban reluctantly agreed.

Rosie O'Donnell was so impressed that she immediately invited him to appear on her daytime talk show. He got another big break when Foster asked him to sing at the California Governor's Gray Davis' 1999 inauguration.

His name and career soared with the public recognition he received, after being cast on Ally McBeal by the show's creator David E. Kelley, who asked him to perform "You're Still You" for the show's 2001 season finale.

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Groban's character, Malcolm Wyatt, was so popular, he generated 8,000 emails from viewers. Groban was asked to return the next season to reprise his role and perform "To Where You Are."

Groban was offered a recording contract at Warner Bros. Records through Foster's 143 Records imprint. Under Foster's influence, Groban's first album focused more on classics such as "Gira Con Me Questa Notte" and "Alla Luce Del Sole."

Groban performed "There For Me" with Sarah Brightman on her 2000–01 La Luna World Tour, and was featured on her "La Luna" concert DVD. He recorded "For Always" with Lara Fabian on the movie soundtrack to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence in 2001.

The singer's self-titled debut album Josh Groban was released on November 20, 2001. Over the next year, it went from gold to double-platinum.

On February 24, 2002, Groban performed "The Prayer" with Charlotte Church at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and by November, he had his own PBS special, "Josh Groban In Concert."

Groban's second album Closer, produced and written by Foster, was released on November 11, 2003. Groban said that he believed that this second album was a better reflection of him, and that his audience would be able to get a better idea of his personality from listening to it.

Two months after Closer was released, it rose on the Billboard charts from number 11 to number one. His cover of "You Raise Me Up" became very popular on the adult contemporary charts. Groban also performed the song "Remember" with Tanja Tzarovska on the Troy soundtrack, "Believe" on the soundtrack to the 2004 animated film The Polar Express, and a cover of Linkin Park's "My December."

In 2004 , Groban performed "Remember When It Rained," backed by a full orchestra, at the American Music Awards, where he was nominated for Favorite Male Artist in the pop category. Groban and his recordings were nominated for more than a dozen awards in 2004, including the American Music Award, a World Music Award, an Academy Award, and a Grammy.

Groban's third studio album Awake was officially released on November 7, 2006. His latest studio album, entitled Illuminations and the album was released on November 15, 2010. Most of the songs on the album are about "specific situations that I've had where love has existed and ultimately failed," Groban told The New York Times. Groban wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the album.

In a comedy called Crazy, Stupid, Love, an upcoming film starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, scheduled for released in July 2011, Groban plays a character named Richard, a caddish lawyer.


Feb. 27: Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Coil and The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir was born on this date in 1955 ...

... he was 55 years old, and died in his sleep on November 25, 2010.

Peter Martin Christopherson, a.k.a. "Sleazy" was a musician, video director and designer, and former member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis.

Throbbing Gristle
Born in Leeds, Christopherson was a founding member of Throbbing Gristle who are credited with creating the industrial music genre before disbanding in 1981. Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti formed their own group while Peter Christopherson and TG's other member Genesis P-Orridge formed Psychic TV along with other musicians.

John Balance (Geoffrey Rushton) met Christopherson as a Throbbing Gristle fan and the two became partners. Christopherson worked on the first two Psychic TV albums, Force The Hand Of Chance and Dreams Less Sweet, joined by Balance on the second one. The two performed live several times with Psychic TV then formed their own project, Coil.


Prior to his musical career, Peter Christopherson was a commercial artist, designer, and photographer. Notably, he was one of the three partners of the album cover design group Hipgnosis, which was responsible for many notable album covers of the 1970s. Christopherson remained involved with commercial art through his later musical career as a director of music videos and television commercials.

Despite Christopherson's long and extensive history as a musical artist, he has only released two tracks under the name Peter Christopherson. The first, "In My Head A Crystal Sphere Of Heavy Fluid," appeared on the compilation Foxtrot, a benefit album for former partner John Balance's rehabilitation from alcohol addiction while the second, "All Possible Numbers," appeared eleven years later on Autumn Blood (Constructions.)

In 2005, Christopherson relocated from England to Krung Thep, Thailand to manage The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir. Since Christopherson's relocation he released the final Coil CDs; The Ape Of Naples, The Remote Viewer, Black Antlers, The New Backwards, and reissued Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 1 and Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2.

Also in 2005 Throbbing Gristle reunited for a series of concerts. Soon after, Throbbing Gristle announced a new album Part Two. In 2007, the group toured to promote the album.

The Threshold HouseBoy's Choir
In 2007 Christopherson released the debut album of his solo effort The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. The album, Form Grows Rampant, is broken down into five "parts" or songs, and includes a DVD of the album set to video of Thai rituals in Krabi.

In 2008 Christopherson and Ivan Pavlov (aka COH) started a new project called Soisong.

In 2007 Christopherson released the debut album of his solo effort The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. The album, Form Grows Rampant, is broken down into five "parts" or songs, and includes a DVD of the album set to video of Thai rituals in Krabi.

In 2008 Christopherson and Ivan Pavlov (aka COH) started a new project called Soisong.

Recommended (Links to Amazon):
20 Jazz Funk GreatsTaste of Tg: Beginners Guide to Throbbing GristleMr Alien Brain Vs the Skinwalkers (W/Dvd)Musick To Play In The Dark 2

Feb. 27: Actress and "Singer" Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on this date in 1932...

... she died on March 23, 2011.

Beginning as a child star then throughout her adulthood, Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor became known for her acting talent, glamour and beauty; as well as a much publicized private life, which included eight marriages, several near-death experiences, and decades spent as a social activist, championing the cause of AIDS awareness, research and cure.

Taylor, a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, is considered one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.

Taylor was not known as a singer, but she was credited for "singing " in at least two movies, A Little Night Music and "A Date With Judy,"although it's possible her voice was dubbed.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in Hampstead Garden Suburb, a northwestern suburb of London. Her parents were Americans residing in England. Her parents were originally from Arkansas City, Kansas.

Francis Taylor was an art dealer, and Sara was a former actress whose stage name was "Sara Sothern." Sothern retired from the stage when she and Francis married in 1926 in New York City. Taylor's two first names are in honor of her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Rosemond) Taylor.

A dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States, she was born a British subject through her birth on British soil and an American citizen through her parents.
At the age of three, Taylor began taking ballet lessons.

Shortly before World War II, her parents decided to return to the United States, settling in Los Angeles, California, where her father established a new art gallery including many paintings from England. The gallery attracted Hollywood celebrities.

Some of her mother's friends urged her to have Elizabeth screen tested for the role of Bonnie Blue, Scarlett's child in Gone with the Wind, then being filmed. Her mother refused, but soon, both Universal and MGM pursued her, with Universal giving her a seven-year contract.

Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of nine in There's One Born Every Minute in 1942, her only film for Universal. After less than a year, the studio fired Taylor for unknown reasons. Some speculate that there was something slightly odd about Elizabeth's looks, even at this age - an expression that sometimes made people think she was older than she was.

Then MGM offered her a long-term contract at the beginning of 1943 and quickly casted her in Lassie Come Home. After her performance received favorable reviews MGM signed Taylor to a  seven-year contract at $100 a week but increasing at regular intervals until it reached $750 during the seventh year.

Her first assignment under her new contract at MGM was a loan-out to 20th Century Fox for the character of Helen Burns in a film version of the Charlotte Brontë novel Jane Eyre. Elizabeth then returned to MGM to film The White Cliffs of Dover in England.

It was Taylor's persistence in seeking the role of Velvet Brown in MGM's National Velvet, however, that made her a star at the age of 12. Taylor's character is a young girl who trains her beloved horse to win the Grand National. National Velvet, costarring fellow child actor Mickey Rooney and English newcomer Angela Lansbury, became a big success upon its release in December 1944. However, the film caused many of her later back problems due to her falling off a horse during filming.

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National VelvetA Place in the SunBUtterfield 8

After the success of Velvet, Taylor was cast in another animal film, Courage of Lassie, which led to another contract for Taylor paying her $750 per week. Her roles as Mary Skinner in a loan-out to Warner Brothers' Life With Father, Cynthia Bishop in Cynthia, Carol Pringle in A Date with Judy, and Susan Prackett in Julia Misbehaves were all successful.

Taylor received a reputation as a consistently successful adolescent star, with a nickname of "One-Shot Liz" (referring to her ability to shoot a scene in one take) and a promising career.

Her portrayal as Amy, in the American classic Little Women was her last adolescent role. In October 1948, Taylor appeared in Conspirator, her first adult role. Her first box office success in an adult came as Kay Banks in the romantic comedy Father of the Bride. She soon followed with A Place In The Sun which became the pivotal performance of Taylor's career according to many film critics.

Taylor would go on to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performance in Butterfield 8 in 1960, and for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. She was also awarded the Jean Herscholt Humanitarian Academy Award in 1992 for her work fighting AIDS.

On May 16, 2000, in a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace, Taylor was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger inducted Taylor into the California Hall of Fame.

In February 2011, symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for treatment, where she remained until her death at age 79 on March 23, 2011. She died surrounded by her four children.


Rest in Peace