Jack Jones Biography

John Allan Jones, 14 January 1938, Los Angeles, California, USA. A popular singer from the early 60s, Jones has one of the finest, and most versatile, light baritone voices in easy listening popular music. The son of actress Irene Hervey and actor/vocalist Allan Jones, Jack studied singing while still at high school. After graduation in 1957, he joined his father’s act, making his first appearance at the Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas. He left after eight months, and worked in small clubs and lounges, even bowling alleys, and also appeared in the minor musical film Juke Box Rhythm. Jones was spotted, third on the bill in a San Francisco club, by arranger-conductor Pete King, who recommended him to Kapp Records. Shortly afterwards, Jones started a six-month stint in the US Air Force, and, during that time, recorded ‘Lollipops And Roses’, which won him a Grammy in 1962 for Best Performance By A Male Singer. Cash Box magazine voted him Most Promising Vocalist in 1962 and 1963; he had a minor hit with ‘Call Me Irresponsible’, and won another Grammy for ‘Wives And Lovers’ (1964), which was also the title of a bestselling album, as was ‘Dear Heart’, ‘The Impossible Dream’ and ‘Lady’. Other 60s chart successes, through until 1967, included ‘The Race Is On’ and My Kind Of Town. Jones also sang the title songs for the movies Where Love Has Gone and Love With A Proper Stranger and the winning entry of the Golden Globe Awards, ‘Life Is What You Make It’, from the film Kotch. In 1967 he switched from Kapp to RCA Records, and continued to make highly regarded albums, including Without Her, the first for his new label. He also appeared frequently on television with artists such as Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope, and was a part of Hope’s troupe which entertained the US Forces in Vietnam in December 1965.

In concert, Jones is an accomplished performer, skilfully mixing old standards such as ‘My Romance’ and ‘People Will Say We’re In Love’, with more up-to-date songs like ‘Light My Fire’, ‘I Think It’s Going To Rain Today’, ‘What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?’ and ‘What I Did for Love’. He also has a slick line in patter, for instance, when rejecting the inevitable request for ‘The Donkey Serenade’ (his father’s most famous number): ‘We don’t have that one, but I’ll sing you another song that has a lot of the same notes in it!’. In fact, he will sometimes sing the song, but at a much greater pace than his father ever did, occasionally prefacing it with lines like: ‘I don’t know if you know this, but my father recorded ‘The Donkey Serenade’ on the night that I was born. It’s true - he was on a very tight schedule!’

Since 1973, Jones has been extremely popular in the UK, and tours regularly. Although to date he has never had a Top 75 single there, he made the charts during the 70s with A Song For You, Breadwinners, Together, Harbour, The Full Life and All To Yourself. Breadwinners, with songs by David Gates, was typical of the way that Jones selected material from the best writers of the 60s and 70s, including Michel Legrand, Alan And Marilyn Bergman, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Nilsson, Leonard Cohen, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. In the 80s and early 90s he continued to thrive in Las Vegas, at venues such as the Golden Nugget and the Desert Inn. During such performances he added contemporary numbers including ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’ and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Music Of The Night’ to hoary old favourites such as the Love Boat theme. Early in 1991 he played Sky Masterson in a west coast production of Guys And Dolls, and continued with his classy singing act at theatres in several countries, including the London Palladium.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.