Special thanks to ThisDayinMusic.com.

Brian Jones – guitarist for The Rolling Stones – drowned in his own swimming pool on this day in 1969. An accident was the official verdict, but there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

As The Rolling Stones competed fiercely with The Beatles for top dogs of rock and roll, the enigmatic and musically gifted Brian Jones slipped from the picture. Increasingly involved with drugs and alcohol, he became detached from the rest of the band, featuring less and less as a musician. Rehab, paranoia and drug busts had replaced music in Jones’s life.

Even when things had been going well within the band, Jones was a prickly customer.

As Bill Wyman explained in his book Stone Alone: “There were two Brians... one was introverted, shy, sensitive, deep-thinking... the other was a preening peacock, gregarious, artistic, desperately needing assurance from his peers... he pushed every friendship to the limit and way beyond.”

In November 1968, he tried to start afresh with new girlfriend Anna Wohlin and bought his first house. Cotchford Farm was a sprawling spread in East Sussex that once belonged to A.A. Milne of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.

With a U.S. tour in the works, and Brian sure to be barred from entry thanks to his pile of drug offences, the Stones opted to make a personnel change. In June 1969, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts headed to Cotchford Farm to let Brian know that he was going to be replaced with a 20-year-old guitarist named Mick Taylor.

Jones was not too disturbed by the news apparently and it seems he had already moved on musically, and was already planning his own projects and a trip to Morocco for some recordings.

It was a beautiful sunny and warm day in England on July 2, 1969 and Jones and girlfriend enjoyed the outdoors. In the evening, Jones, a keen swimmer, took the opportunity to do make use of his heated outdoor pool.

But as s July 2 turned into July 3, Jones’s body was found lying at the bottom of his pool. Doctors couldn’t revive him and the coroner called it “death by misadventure.”

There always seemed something odd about Jones’ death. Death by misadventure may have been the official verdict but the post-mortem report found no illegal drugs in his body and just the equivalent of three-and-a-half pints of beer – which, for a hardcore reveler like Jones, was like a cup of tea with sugar for the average 1960s Brit.

He was also a pretty good swimmer, so no wonder rumors have abounded over the years. Wohlin, Jones’ girlfriend, left England quickly and missed the funeral, but she would claim many years later that she believed Jones was murdered. Her book, The Murder of Brian Jones even inspired a movie, Stoned.

Then, in 2008, journalist Scott Jones (no relation) unearthed shocking information in the Mail on Sunday that suggested a darker tale than simple “misadventure.”

Among the findings that led to Sussex police re-opening the case in 2009 was the staggering revelation that Janet Lawson, who found Jones’ body, said she had seen Jones’ minder, Frank Thorogood (who died in 1994) jump into the swimming pool and “do something to Brian.”

A policeman who had been on the scene also claimed that Jones died as a result of a fight with Thorogood. Strangely, three unidentified witnesses were allowed to leave without being interviewed. Moreover, police files have revealed that Joan Fitzsimons, a former girlfriend of Thorogood, was killed just three weeks after Jones’ death. Police files show, said Scott Jones, that Fitzsimons was planning to speak to the media about Jones’ death.

In the article, Scott Jones said he believed that for some unknown reason, Brian Jones’ death was not properly investigated in 1969.

“If Janet Lawson and the anonymous Sussex Police officer are to be believed, vital details, such as who was present at the time, were not pursued, while the witness statements that were taken played a huge part in supporting the misadventure verdict,” he wrote. “And it is clear from the 470-pages detailing the horrific attack on Joan Fitzsimons that Sussex Police knew there was a possible link between her attack and Jones’s death. But the Press reports show this link was actively denied.

“Having spent two years studying the evidence and speaking to most of the surviving players, I’m convinced Brian Jones’ death was not fully investigated. The only question that remains is why?

“I hope this is something the authorities will discover if they finally decide to reopen the case. It is the least Brian Jones deserves.”

In April 2009, Sussex police said they would indeed examine the investigative reporter’s findings.

"These papers will be examined by Sussex Police but it is too early to comment at this time on what the outcome will be.”