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John Allan "Jack" Jones (born January 14, 1938) is an American jazz and pop singer. He was one of the most popular vocalists of the 1960s.
He was rated highly by Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Tony Bennett and a major influence on Scott Walker. Judy Garland called him the best jazz singer in the world, although Jones was primarily a straight pop singer (even when he recorded contemporary material) whose ventures in the direction of jazz were mostly of the big band/swing variety. Jones won two Grammy Awards. He performs concerts around the world and remains popular in Las Vegas. Some of his best-known recordings are "Wives and Lovers" (1964 Grammy Award, Best Pop Male Performance), "The Race Is On", "Lollipops and Roses" (1962, Grammy Award, Best Pop Male Performance), "The Impossible Dream", "Call Me Irresponsible", "Lady", and "The Love Boat Theme".
His birth name is John Allan Jones, the only son of actors Allan Jones and Irene Hervey. Jack Jones was born in Los Angeles on the very night that his father recorded his signature song "Donkey Serenade" (a fact that once prompted talk show host Mike Douglas to say to him: "I won't ask what your middle name is"). The young Jones attended University High School in West Los Angeles and studied drama and singing. His first professional break was with his father, when Allan Jones was performing at the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He recorded a couple of demos for songwriter Don Raye, attracting attention from the music industry. In 1959, Jones was signed to Capitol Records and released the album This Love of Mine and a few singles. None of these records sold well, and his contract was cut short. These early singles were compiled in the budget album The Romantic Voice of Jack Jones, released in the early 1970s in the UK by the label Music For Pleasure.
After being dropped by Capitol, Jones was drafted and spent some time in the US Air Force. Back to civilian life, he had more luck with his next company, Kapp Records. On 1961 he recorded the ballad “Lollipops and Roses” (a song by Tony Velona), which became a hit in the following year.
Jones’s biggest pop hit was “Wives and Lovers” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Today the lyrics may seem chauvinistic to some, but this song was a kind of anthem for the urban male of the Kennedy era, hauntingly, since it was climbing the national charts when Kennedy was assassinated. The imagery seems to come from the pages of an early 1960s Playboy Magazine, and a good-looking, smooth-sounding Jack was the perfect vocalist to deliver this classic hit. Singer Bobbi Martin could be considered Jones’s counterpart, echoing much the same message in “For the Love of Him” more than six years later from an agreeing female perspective
In the Kapp years, Jones recorded almost twenty albums, including Shall We Dance, This Was My Love, She Loves Me, Call Me Irresponsible, I´ve Got a Lot of Living To Do!, Bewitched, Wives and Lovers, Dear Heart, Where Love Has Gone, The Jack Jones Christmas Album, My Kind of Town, The Impossible Dream, The In Crowd, Jack Jones Sings, Lady, Our Song, etc. Young, handsome, and well-groomed, Jack Jones was an anomaly in the sixties, eschewing rock and roll trends and opting for the big band sound, lush romantic ballads and the Great American Songbook, although sometimes he recorded something more pop, country or bossa nova oriented. One of his biggest hits, for example, was "The Race Is On", by country music legend George Jones (who is not related to Jack). Besides the good choice of material, Jones worked with top arrangers like Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Marty Paich, Shorty Rogers, Jack Elliott, Ralph Carmichael, Bob Florence, Don Costa and Pete King.
Jones moved from Kapp (in the UK, London Records) to RCA Records in 1967. His first album in the new company was called Without Her. The following releases, If You Ever Leave Me, L.A. Break Down, and Where is Love were in roughly the same style of the classic Kapp records, but with slightly more contemporary vocal styling. After A Jack Jones Christmas, he decided to more significantly revamp his musical direction and image, changing his appearance from the smooth club entertainer of the 1960s Las Vegas scene to the longhaired singer of the early seventies. A Time For Us (1970) was one of the albums, which marked his transition towards a middle of the road sound. Jones started to record more contemporary material, including covers of people like Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Carole King, Paul Williams, Richard Carpenter, Gordon Lightfoot, Gilbert O'Sullivan, etc. The album Bread Winners (1972) was a tribute to Bread, with eight songs written by David Gates and two by Jimmy Griffin and Robb Royer. Two of his more acclaimed albums of that period were dedicated to two French songwriters: Jack Jones Sings Michel Legrand (1971), and Write Me a Love Song, Charlie (1974), with songs by Charles Aznavour. The Full Life (1977) was produced by Jones and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys. On this album, Jones recorded "Disney Girls" (Johnston's most well known song) and "God Only Knows", a Beach Boys classic. His last LP for RCA was With One More Look At You (1977) - the title song is a Paul Williams composition from the picture A Star Is Born. In 1979, Jones moved to MGM Records, recording the album Nobody Does it Better, which featured disco tracks of The Love Boat theme and his Grammy winner, "Wives and Lovers". His second (and last) MGM album, Don't Stop Now, featured duets with Maureen McGovern.
Since 1980, he has recorded only a handful of albums, and now performs in various concert arenas and occasionally appears on the supper-club circuit. He has performed all over the world and has a large following in England, a place he visits almost every year. He even recorded an album there: Live at the London Palladium, which was released in 1995 by the label Emporio. Jones is also well regarded in Japan, where a lot of his old records were released on CD. Although Jones records only sporadically, his new work is always well received. In 1982 he recorded an album for Applause Records, with covers of songs by the Beatles, Billy Joel, The Eagles, etc. Jones released I Am a Singer in 1987 for USA Records, and in 1992 he recorded The Gershwin Album for Sony Music, with songs written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. In 1997 came NEW Jack Swing (Honest Entertainment), with Jones giving a big band treatment to old standards and assorted pop/rock songs. Another recent album is Jack Jones Paints a Tribute to Tony Bennett (Honest Entertainment, released in 1999), that was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. In March 2008, Jack Jones celebrated his 70 years of age and 50 years in show business with a concert at the McCallum Theatre (Palm Springs). The guests were jazz singer Patti Austin, songwriters Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman and singing impressionist Bob Anderson. In 2010, he recorded an album focusing on the Bergmans' work called Love Makes The Changes. Jack Jones made his movie debut in Juke Box Rhythm (1959), a rock and roll exploitation production. He is Riff Manton, a young singer who is involved romantically with a princess (Jo Morrow). Jack sings three songs. Other performers featured were The Earl Grant Trio, Johnny Otis & His Band and The Treniers. Jack has acted in such minor films as cult horror The Comeback and feature length British comedy Cruise of the Gods. In the latter he starred alongside comedy writers/actors Steve Coogan, David Walliams and Rob Brydon. He had a humorous cameo in the film parody Airplane 11: The Sequel (1982) as Robert Hays avoids searchlights while escaping captivity; the beams become a spotlight on Jones, performing a verse from The Love Boat theme.
The singer was a staple in the sixties and seventies TV variety shows, performing on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Jerry Lewis Show, American Bandstand, This is Tom Jones, The Dean Martin Show, The Judy Garland Show, Playboy After Dark, The Jack Benny Program, The Steve Allen Show, and The Morecambe and Wise Show in Britain. He twice hosted NBC's top rated rock and roll series Hullabaloo, and was featured in two prime-time specials, Jack Jones on the Move (1966) and The Jack Jones Special (1974). Jones provided the famous opening theme for the television series The Love Boat from 1977 through 1985, and also made several guest appearances on the show. Prior to that, he also provided the vocals to the theme song of Funny Face, The Kind of Girl She Is. When the show returned as The Sandy Duncan Show, he was replaced by a chorus of unknown men and women. He also guested in the series The Rat Patrol, Police Woman, McMillan & Wife, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Match Game, and Night Court. The singer promoted the Chrysler New Yorker in the mid-1970s with the "It's the talk of the town" ad campaign. In 1990, Jones recorded Three Coins in the Fountain, which was used in the film Coins in the Fountain that same year. He also appeared in the Chris Elliot Fox television show "Get a Life." In the episode, Chris' parents wanted to see Jack Jones perform, but the tickets were in his pocket, under 1,000s of pounds of stuff as Chris was trying to set a world record for piling on. In these last two decades, Jones has been active in the musical theater, acting in Guys and Dolls, South Pacific and others. He went to national tour performing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and was acclaimed by the critics.
In the second half of the sixties, Jones had a well-publicized relationship with actress Jill St. John and the two were briefly married. In the early seventies, Jones married Gretchen Roberts. Next, he was linked romantically to British actress Susan George. From 1976 to 1982, he was married to Kathy Simmons. From 1982 to 2005, he was married to British-born Kim Ely and they had a daughter, Nicole (born in 1991). The singer has another daughter, Crystal Thomas, from a former marriage to Lee Fuller. Jack Jones now lives with wife Eleonora in La Quinta, a resort city in Riverside County, California.
Courtesy of Wikipedia