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Howard Jones Biography
John Howard Jones, born on February 23, 1955, is a renowned British musician, singer, and songwriter who made a significant impact on the music scene during the 1980s. His chart-topping success and memorable hits earned him a well-deserved place in music history. Jones garnered ten top 40 hit singles in the UK between 1983 and 1986, including classics like "Like to Get to Know You Well," "What Is Love?," "New Song," and "Things Can Only Get Better." The pinnacle of his early career was marked by the 1984 album "Human's Lib," which clinched the number one spot on the UK Albums Chart.
Internationally, Jones achieved similar success, with 15 top 40 hit singles spanning from 1983 to 1992. His 1986 hit single "No One Is to Blame" reached the impressive No. 4 position on the US charts, while four others secured spots in the US top 20. His significant influence on the 1980s music scene earned him a place in the Second British Invasion of the US and a description by AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine as "one of the defining figures of mid-'80s synth-pop." In 1985, he had the honor of performing at the historic Live Aid concert, further cementing his musical legacy.
Early Life: Born in Southampton to Welsh parents, John Howard Jones spent his formative years in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, South Wales. He began his musical journey at the age of seven, taking piano lessons. His family later moved to Canada when he was a teenager, and during this time, he formed his first band, Warrior, which delved into progressive rock.
Returning to the UK, Jones pursued his musical aspirations while attending the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester during the mid-1970s. It was there that he met Bill Bryant, a Buddhist practitioner who became a significant influence on his songwriting. Alongside his brothers, Roy, Martin, and Paul, Jones formed the band Red Beat in the late 1970s.
Career: In 1983, Jones emerged as a solo artist, incorporating mime artist Jed Hoile into his performances, adding an element of improvisational choreography. He gained recognition after a performance at the Marquee Club in London, where he invited record labels to witness his talent. Subsequently, he signed with Warner Music Group (WMG) in mid-1983.
Jones' debut single, "New Song," was released in September 1983 and quickly climbed the charts, reaching the top 30 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. This marked the beginning of a string of hits in the following year, including "What Is Love?" and "Pearl in the Shell." His album "Human's Lib" went on to become a UK number one album, achieving double platinum status. He developed a devoted teenage following during this period, with his parents even running his fan club.
In the summer of 1984, Jones released "Like to Get to Know You Well," which, although not an official Olympic anthem, became a worldwide hit and reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. His second album, "Dream into Action," released in 1985, featured hits like "Life in One Day," "Things Can Only Get Better," and "Look Mama." Jones had the privilege of performing at Wembley Stadium as part of the Live Aid concert in July 1985, showcasing his talent on a global stage.
The 1986 EP "Action Replay" featured a re-recorded version of "No One Is to Blame," which became Jones' biggest US hit, reaching No. 4 on the charts. However, his fortunes in the UK began to change as the 1980s drew to a close. Despite his UK chart performance diminishing, Jones continued to captivate US audiences with the single "You Know I Love You... Don't You?" making it into the Billboard Hot 100.
Jones' subsequent album, "Cross That Line," released in 1989, did not fare well in the UK. Nevertheless, he found success with singles like "Everlasting Love" and "The Prisoner" in the United States. Jones continued to perform in large venues in the US during the late 1980s.
The 1990s saw Jones release his album "In the Running," which failed to chart in the UK. However, the single "Lift Me Up" charted in the United States. He also ventured into songwriting, collaborating with artists like Propaganda and producing hits such as "Heaven Give Me Words" and "Your Wildlife."
In the early 2000s, Jones played keyboards on the Ringo Starr
& His All-Starr Band tour. He commemorated the 20th anniversary of his career with a concert at Shepherd's Bush
Empire in London, where he was joined by notable artists. Jones continued to tour and release new music, and in 2005, he released the album "Revolution of the Heart
." His involvement in music extended to songwriting for other artists as well.
Personal Life: John Howard Jones is married to Jan Smith. He adopted Nichiren Buddhism, a practice he credits with having a profoundly positive impact on his life. As a member of Soka Gakkai International, he serves as the musical director of the Glorious Life Chorus, which incorporates some of his songs into its repertoire.
In recent years, Jones remained actively engaged in music, touring, and recording new material. His contributions to the world of music continue to be celebrated, and his impact on the 1980s music scene remains enduring and influential.