The Portsmouth Evening News reporter who discovered the Stones

Former Evening News reporter Peter Jones
Former Evening News reporter Peter Jones
Staunton Country Park. Picture: Paul Jacobs

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Back in the 1960s and into the ’70s my pop music bible was – as it would have been for many of you – Record Mirror.

The editor from 1964 until 1972 was Peter Jones who has died aged 85.

He had a remarkable career in which he wrote the first biography of The Beatles based on interviews with the Fab Four and was credited with discovering The Rolling Stones

Peter started his journalistic career on this newspaper in 1948 at the Gosport office having taken a commercial course at Portsmouth Municipal College.

He then transferred to the head office in Stanhope Road where he reported crime, sport and show business, interviewing the stars who appeared at the city’s then three theatres.

He left The Evening News in 1954 and moved to London as a trainee scriptwriter and showbiz booker.

With a recommendation from former Evening News colleague David English, who went on to become a legendary editor of the Daily Mail, he became the features and show business writer on Associated Newspapers’ Weekend magazine.

He also wrote for The Beatles Monthly, The Monkees Monthly and George Best Monthly.

In 1963 The Rolling Stones’s promoter persuaded Peter to attend a show at the Station Hotel, Richmond upon Thames.

Although not a rhythm and blues expert he was so enthused he commissioned an article on the band, the first time Record Mirror had featured a group without a recording contract.

Peter also tipped off Andrew Loog Oldham who became the Stones’s personal manager. He subsequently hired Peter to write the group’s ‘autobiography’ Our Own Story.

Other highlights of Jones’s time at Record Mirror included the first interview with the High Numbers (later to become The Who), ecstatic coverage of Jimi Hendrix’s British debut, and early recognition of Dusty Springfield’s star quality by placing her full-colour portrait on the front page.

Peter Jones: born January 6, 1930; died July 10, 2015.