Howard Jones (musician)


Howard Jones (musician)

Infobox musical artist



Name = Howard Jones
|Img_capt = Howard Jones, 2008
Img_size =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = John Howard Jones
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1955|2|23|df=y
Died =
Origin = Southampton, Hampshire, England
Instrument = keyboards, Synthesizer, vocals, drums, percussion, Piano
Genre = Pop, Rock, New Wave, Synthpop
Occupation = Musician, Singer, Songwriter
Years_active = 1983-Present
Label = Elektra
Associated_acts =
URL = http://www.howardjones.com/
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Howard Jones (born John Howard Jones, 23 February 1955) is an English singer and songwriter who gained acclaim in the 1980s.

Personal life

He is the eldest of four boys (brothers Roy, Martin, and Paul). Born in Southampton, Hampshire, he spent his early years in Stokenchurch, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire and attended the Royal Grammar School. He then spent a year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He currently lives with his family in Somerset.

Early career

Jones took piano lessons from the age of 7 and joined his first band at 15. When he was young, he used to give piano lessons. One of his clients was a girl named Jan Smith, whom he later married. Whilst working with her, a vehicle crashed into their van, injuring Smith.Fact|date=February 2007 She claimed compensation and used the money to buy Howard a Synthesizer, a Moog Prodigy. He was sent two synthesizers by accident, and he liked the combination of the two so much that he paid for the extra one. He appeared as a solo artist in local venues in High Wycombe, before inviting a mime artist called Jed Hoile, who used to do improvised choreography while doused in white paint as Jones played behind him. After a well-received John Peel session he obtained support slots with China Crisis and OMD before signing to WEA in the summer of 1983.

Major label recording career

After a promotional frenzy, his first single called "New Song" was released in September 1983 and reached the UK top five and U.S. top 30. He made his debut performance on Top Of The Pops in October 1983, watching the performance on a borrowed television resting on an ironing board before a concert at The University of Kent. He subsequently had four more hits over the next twelve months and a UK Number 1 album, "Human's Lib". This album went gold and platinum in a number of countries and he acquired a hardcore fanbase. His mother and father Thelma and John Jones ran his fan club. Jones was a close temporal and stylistic contemporary of Nik Kershaw, and the two musicians were often allied in the affections of the contemporary pop audience.

Jones combined synthesizer music with comment on animal rights and life's excesses. Philosophy, spirituality and humanistic ideals were all lyrical themes.

In the summer of 1984, he released a single called "Like To Get To Know You Well", which he said was 'dedicated to the original spirit of the Olympic Games'. Although it was not an official Olympic anthem for the Games in Los Angeles that summer, it caught on and was a huge worldwide hit. The sleeve featured the song title in ten different languages; while Jones sang the title line in French and German on the extended version. The song appeared in the film "Better Off Dead" (1985) and the computer game "" (2006).

Jones' second album was a 'remix' album. It contained six songs, all but one of which had been previously released, but which appeared in elongated formats, including the multilingual version of "Like To Get To Know You Well". The album was called "The 12 Inch Album" and the sleeve featured a miniature Jones standing next to a 12-inch ruler.

When he released his second studio album, "Dream Into Action", in 1985 he introduced his own backing band, including female backing vocal trio Afrodiziak. Afrodiziak featured Caron Wheeler (who went on to greater success with Soul II Soul) and Claudia Fontaine (who became a renowned backing singer). Playing bass guitar, meanwhile, was Jones' own brother Martin, who had to have an extra string added to his instrument to play some of Howard's bass lines, which were originally played on a keyboard without regard for the range of a real bass guitar. One of the singles released from this album, "No One Is to Blame", was later re-recorded and featured Phil Collins as drummer and producer. "Dream Into Action" was a huge hit worldwide.

In July 1985, Jones performed at Wembley Stadium as part of the Live Aid concert, singing his 1984 hit "Hide And Seek" while playing a piano belonging to Freddie Mercury. He also embarked on a major world tour-hitting countries such as Japan, Australia and the US where Jones was selling out huge arenas.

Independent recording and producing career

Jones had his last UK Top 40 hit in 1986 with 'All I Want' but continued to have a degree of success in the US. He concentrated on production, songwriting and running a successful vegetarian restaurant called Nowhere. He had more hits on the "Billboard" charts in the U.S. into the early 1990s, including "Everlasting Love" (1989, his second #1 hit on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart after "No One Is To Blame"), "The Prisoner" (1989), and "Lift Me Up" (1992).

Jones' recording contract with Warner Bros. Records/WEA was cancelled after the release of "In The Running" and "The Best Of Howard Jones". He responded by starting his own record label, dtox, and producing an album, "Working in the Backroom", in his own studio "The Shed" which was made available only at gigs and through his website. Artists affiliated with Howard's Dtox label include Martin Grech, Dba, Shaz Sparks and The Itch (Robin Boult).

In 2001, Jones played keyboards for Beatles legend Ringo Starr on Ringo's All Starr Band tour. The 2001 All Starr Band line-up consisted of ex-Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson, dance-music percussionist Sheila E., former Mott the Hoople singer Ian Hunter and King Crimson/Emerson, Lake and Palmer singer-bassist Greg Lake. Jones fulfilled two life-long ambitions on this tour: to play live in a band with a member of the Beatles and to play Karn Evil 9 live. Keith Emerson’s classic keyboard arrangement is regarded as one of the most difficult keyboard pieces ever written.

On 20 September 2003, Jones played a sold-out 20th Anniversary Concert at the Shepherds Bush Empire, London, commemorating the release of his first single. The gig, which drew fans from all over the world, consisted of four sets: Acoustic, Retro, Electronic and Full Band, featuring music from his 20-year career. He was joined by friends Midge Ure (Ultravox) and Nena, as well as his mime artist, Jed Hoile. A recording of this concert has since been released on DVD.

Recent activities

Jones has continued to tour and write new music, more recently collaborating with Robbie Bronniman (Dba) to co-produce music for the Sugababes and his 2005 studio album "Revolution of the Heart".

He has been busy in the past few years touring the world - playing gigs in the United States, Italy, Germany, Sweden and other countries. He has been putting the finishing touches to a new acoustic album, a second album of piano solos and remixing some tracks from his last album. He played a number of nights at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 2006. The same year Jones did a vocal for the song "Into the Dark" by Ferry Corsten for L.E.F..

In 2006, he re-recorded his hit song "Things Can Only Get Better" in Simlish, the fictional language spoken by characters in Electronic Arts' The Sims 2. Jones is also featured on Katrina Carlson's remake of his hit "No One Is To Blame," which cracked the U.S. Adult Contemporary singles chart in the fall of 2007.

In October 2006, he released the song "Building Our Own Future" as a podsafe track, as one of several established artists looking to use podcasts as a new means of promoting their music and tours. The song debuted at #1 on the Pod Music Countdown (PMC Top10) October 29, 2006 and spent four weeks at the top of the chart. Howard's track "Revolution of the Heart" spent five weeks at #1 on the PMC Top10 during 2007 and finished the year as the #2cite web|last=Doelle|first=Chris|url=http://www.podmusiccountdown.com/archives/2008/01/pmc_top10_01040.html|title=PMC Top10 - 010408 - Top Hits of 2007!!!|publisher="PMC Top10"|date=2008-01-05|accessdate=2007-04-01] song in the annual countdown.

Jones embarked on a tour of Australia in 2007, beginning at the Kedron-Wavell RSL club in Brisbane on March 22 and concluding on April 5 at The Regal, Perth.

2005 seen the release of 'Revolution Of The Heart' - a ten track retro elctronic album. Although this did not achieve similar chart success as his previous albums it was aimed more at the loyal fan base Howard still has in the UK, the U.S. & many European contries.

In 2007 the 'Revolution Remixed & Surrounded' album featuring a bonus DVD & excellent remixes from John B, The Young Punx, DBA & the 'Sharooz' mix of 'Stir It Up' was followed in the November by the 'Live In Birkenhead' cd.

2008 began with the single release of 'Into The Dark' by Ferry Corsten for which Jones provided vocals. Later in the year, Jones' earlier 1983/84 UK top 10 hit 'What Is Love?' was covered by indie/rock band Audio1 (a clip of the track is available on Audio 1's Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/audio1music)

Jones recently went into the studios of The Young Punx to record vocals for their forthcoming Summer 2008 release "And The Feel Goes On."

Jones' new studio album is scheduled for release around September 2008; a concert in London celebrating 25 years in music will be held to promote the release.

Jones performed an acoustic set with other 1980's acts at Retro Fest on 1st September 2007 at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Jones is a member of the Japanese Buddhist lay organization Soka Gakkai, and is musical director of its choir, the Glorious Life Chorus. The chorus performs some of his songs in its repertoire, including "Building our own Future" and "Respected".

Musical style

Many elements of Jones' style are identifiable on numerous tracks.

Bass notes or riffs

Jones often uses a single bass note or repeated riff pedal point, despite chord changes. On his debut album, Human's Lib, this style is used on the following tracks:
* What Is Love? (during the chorus)
* Pearl In the Shell
* Hide and Seek
* Hunt the Self
* Don't Always Look At the Rain (during the chorus)
* EqualityMany of his subsequent albums also have numerous tracks that employ this style. This technique may stem from limitations of early sequencers and synthesisers.

Pauses

Jones uses musical rests throughout his tracks instead of sustaining notes. This provides a clear, crisp sound and may also stem from limitations of early synthesisers.

Percussion

Some of Jones' tracks have little or no percussion/drums. This is to be expected on tracks that were essentially piano solos but also includes tracks such as:
* Elegy
* One Last Try
* Sleep My Angel
* Little Bit of Snow

Discography

"For a list of Howard Jones releases, see Howard Jones discography."

References

External links

* [http://www.howardjones.com Official Website]
* [http://www.dtox.co.uk dtox records official website]


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