The Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix are both, tragically, members of the ’27 Club’ after succumbing to the pitfalls of addiction and excess. It remains all-too-easy to slip into addiction when a person has the world hero-worshipping them night after night. With Jones and Hendrix, two kindred spirits in a sense, once worked together on a very rare occasion, putting the world to rights on a visceral version of ‘There Ain’t Nothing Wrong (Little One)’.
The most famous collaboration between these two came when Jones nonchalantly waltzed into the studio at a time when The Jimi Hendrix Experience was cooking up a timeless cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ which, bizarrely, Jones played the percussion on. Although he technically does combine with Hendrix on that track, he is operating well outside of his comfort zone and we don’t get to hear the searing talents of both mercurial guitarists go toe-to-toe. That was, however, until they combined on a rare alternate version of Noel Redding’s ‘There Ain’t Nothing Wrong (Little One)’. With Jones taking up the sitar, Mitch Mitchell behind the drumkit and Jimi Hendrix killing it on the guitar, the rendition remains a timeless piece of rock and roll history.
Little is known about the session that resulted in this version or the relationship that the two men shared because of how their lives were both tragically cut short. However, Hendrix’s longtime engineer Eddie Kramer would later recall the session that resulted in that legendary cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’: “Brian Jones stumbled into Electric Lady Studios,” Kramer told Esquire. “Out of his mind, and started to play the piano on ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ Jimi looked at me. The look was, ‘Can we get him to stop?’ Jimi was so polite, never wanted to hurt anybody. But he was in the middle of a session and Brian wasn’t doing well.”
“So I said, ‘Brian, come into the control room and listen to what we’ve done,'” Kramer continued. “He staggered into the control room and fell, right in front of the console. Then he fell asleep. And we finished the track.”
Jones and Hendrix were allegedly planning to secretly break-away from their respective groups to form a supergroup, with none other than John Lennon and Alexis Korner in 1969. A few months prior to his death, The Rolling Stones guitarist reportedly told Nicholas Fitzgerald: “Towards the end of last year, four musicians made a trial recording for Apple, The Beatles’ label. They played under the group name of Balls. One of them was John Lennon and one of them was me. The other two swore me to secrecy, so I can’t tell you about them, except to say one was a lead guitar and the other was a drummer. We recorded one track called ‘Go to the Mountains’.
“Alexis [Korner] brought the subject up. He said a band with John Lennon and Brian Jones together could be bigger than either. [Beatles and the Rolling Stones] But on top of that, add the name of Jimi Hendrix. In the same outfit. That’s right. He’s falling out with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, his bass guitarist and his drummer. He doesn’t want to carry on with the old stuff, wants to play something new. So it could be all three groups could fall apart and a new one be born. John, Jimi and me.”
Because of their deaths, it remains impossible to confirm whether the plans to break away from their respective groups had legitimacy and whether the sensational claims had meat on the bones. However, just imagining a supergroup crammed with such immense talent is beyond mouth-watering. Sadly, this never came to fruition, therefore we have to settle for this rousing rendition of ‘There Ain’t Nothing Wrong (Little One)’ which serves as a delight and is the closest we’ll ever get to the sound of Balls…