Howard Jones (born 23 February 1955) is a English musician, singer
and songwriter. According to the Guinness Book of British Hit
Singles & Albums, "Jones is an accomplished singer-songwriter who
was a regular chart visitor in the mid-1980s with his brand of
synthpop. Jones, who was equally popular in the U.S., appeared at
Live Aid". Allmusic journalist, Stephen Thomas Erlewine adds, "Jones
was one of the defining figures of mid-1980s synthpop. His music
merged the technology intensive sound of New Wave with the cheery
optimism of hippies and late 1960s pop. Jones racked up a string of
hits in the mid and late 1980s, before he retreated into being a
cult figure in the 1990s".
His first single called "New Song" was released in September 1983
and reached the UK Top 5 and US Top 30. He made his debut
performance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops in October 1983, and
he watched his tape-delayed 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, which eventually went double
Credited with jointly writing the lyrics for six songs on the album
was the lyricist Bill Bryant. Thanks to repeated exposure on MTV,
the album became a moderate hit in the US. Later in 1984, "New Song"
and "What Is Love" became American Top 40 hits, while "Pearl in the
Shell" became his third UK Top 10 single. Human's Lib went gold and
platinum in a number of countries. Jones had developed a loyal teen
following, and his mother and father, Thelma and John Jones, ran his
In the summer of 1984, he released "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 was a worldwide hit. It reached
Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. The sleeve featured the song title
in ten different languages; while Jones sang the title line in
French and German on the extended 12" version. The song also
appeared in the film Better Off Dead (1985) and the computer game
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006).
Jones' second long player 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 record sleeve for The 12 Inch
Album, featured a miniature Jones standing next to a 12-inch ruler.
The album went gold in the UK.
In 1985, Jones released his second studio album, Dream into
Action. He introduced his own backing band, including the female
backing vocalist trio, Afrodiziak. Afrodiziak featured Caron Wheeler
and Claudia Fontaine. Playing bass guitar was Jones' own brother,
Martin. He had to have an extra string added to his instrument to
play some of the bass lines, which had originally been played on a
keyboard. 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 worldwide hit and Jones' most
successful album, reaching number 2 in the UK and number 10 in the
US, staying on the US chart for almost a year. The album spawned the
hit singles "Things Can Only Get Better", "Life In One Day", and
"Look Mama". 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 world tour reaching Japan, Australia and the US.
In the spring of 1986 in the US, he released Action Replay, an EP of
remixes that featured a new version of "No One Is to Blame". It
became Jones' biggest US hit, peaking at number 4. However, by this
time, Jones' fortunes were changing in his native UK and "No One Is
To Blame" peaked at number 16. His next single, "All I Want", peaked
at number 35, and would be his last UK Top 40 hit. Jones released
his third studio album, One To One, in October 1986, which peaked at
number 10 in the UK and would be his last UK hit album, despite
going gold there. Stateside, however, Jones continued to fill large
arenas and the single "You Know I Love You Don't You?" went top
twenty in 1986 on the Billboard charts.
In June 1988, Jones performed at Amnesty International's Festival of
Youth at the Milton Keynes Bowl. Jones' subsequent albums Cross That
Line (1989) and In the Running (1992) both performed poorly in the
UK, the latter even failing to chart there. However,he had further
hits on the Billboard charts in the US during this period, including
"Everlasting Love" (1989, his second number 1 hit on the US Hot
Adult Contemporary Tracks chart after "No One Is to Blame"), "The
Prisoner" (1989), and "Lift Me Up" (1992).
Jones continued to play large venues in the US during the late
1980s, and the Cross That line tour played major outdoor venues in
the US, during 1989. With his ten-year tenure on the Warner music
label at an end, a greatest hits compilation The Best of Howard
Jones was released in 1993. The album peaked at number 36 in the UK,
and by 2005 (12 years after its release) it was certified silver by
the BPI for over 60,000 copies sold in the UK.
Jones also had success as a songwriter for other artists in the
early 1990s. He co-wrote the dance music hits "Heaven Give Me Words"
and "Your Wildlife" with the members of Propaganda. The tracks
appeared on the 1990 album 1234; "Heaven Give Me Words" reached
number 22 on the Adult Contemporary chart and "Your Wildlife"
reached number 22 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart.
In the summer of 2013 Andy Bell joined Howard Jones on the highly
anticipated Regeneration tour.