Jill Jones

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Jill Jones


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Identity

Jill Jones Born: 11 July 1962, Lebanon, Ohio, USA

Early Life

Jill Jones' mother was a model and a singer. At a very young age she was exposed to a lot of music, mostly blues and Jazz, amongst others Nancy Wilson. She also had exposure to music from the likes of Charles Brown, Muddy Waters & B.B. King. Barely into her teens, Jill moved to California where she dived a bit more into the music business. She often witnessed studio sessions and became familiar with the way a record session is organized, and how producers and engineers worked.

Before working with Prince

Soon after Jill Jones' mother started managing Teena Marie, one of Jones' cousins, Teena moved into their house. She and Jill would sometimes write songs together, and thus Teena Marie influenced Jill's own willingness to pursue in the musical direction. Jill practiced on the piano, and writing her own material, up to the point when Teena Marie asked her to sing backing vocals for her. Shortly after, at age 15, she decided to leave school and start a professional career as backing singer. She met Prince in 1980 at age 18, when Teena Marie was the opening act during his Dirty Mind tour.


Work with Prince

Prince encouraged Jones to sing, and stayed in touch with her. After she finished high school, she made contact with him and asked for a job. Prince invited her to the Sunset Sound recording studios in 1982, to sing backing vocals for several tracks on his forthcoming 1999 album. She also got a part in the music videos for the songs "1999" and "Little Red Corvette", as well as "Automatic", and then joined 1999 Tour to sing backing vocals with Vanity 6 and with Prince's band. During the Vanity 6 performance she would be kept behind a curtain (with the accompanying band The Time) and would only appear on stage for 2 songs.

After the tour, she moved to Minneapolis and became Prince's on-and-off again girlfriend as well as a regular on studio sessions, singing on many different projects. In 1984, she had a small part in Purple Rain as the waitress at the First Avenue club and recorded backing vocals for the Apollonia 6 album.

Her solo debut on Prince’s newly established Paisley Park Records materialized in 1987, with the release of her eponymous album Jill Jones. The album included many withdrawn songs from former projects, such as G-Spot, previously intended for a second Vanity 6 album that ultimately was never made and became a first [Apollonia 6]] album instead. It also featured an unreleased rock effort by Prince, All Day, All Night, and a cover of With You (recorded from scratch without any input from Prince). On top of this, Prince wrote original material specially tailored for Jill Jones. Some of the tracks were recorded in Minneapolis and the rest at Electric Lady Studios in New York with the help of David Rivkin.

Apart from With You, Prince was credited as a co-writer with Jill Jones on 4 tracks leaving the other 3 songs credits to her, but in fact, as for his previous protégées records, he wrote all the songs himself, registering them at the library of congress under the pseudonym of Joey Coco. Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from critics, but was not a commercial success in the USA, failing to enter the Billboards Pop and Black Top 100 charts. The 3 singles issued from it, Mia Bocca, G-Spot and For Love did not make any impact on the US charts either.

In the contrast, with the help of Warner UK, the album did well in Europe and Jill spent considerable time over there doing interviews and making TV appearances. With the help of a sepia video shot in Mexico by French director and photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and regularly broadcast by MTV, Mia Bocca became a minor hit in Europe.

Jill Jones went to England in the autumn of 1988 to work on songs intended for a second Paisley Park album, which was never completed. Several demos were recorded, and a video was filmed for the track Boom, Boom (Can't U Feel The Beat Of My Heart) which would have been the lead-off single, but the album never materialized.

In 1990 she appears in Graffiti Bridge, where she has a small role as The Kid's girlfriend.

Input in Prince's Discography

Two of her most standout contributions are on Hello, released as a B-side, and the extended version of Kiss. Jill also claims being a featured, though uncredited, vocalist on the Bangles hit Manic Monday. She can also be heard on It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night, recorded live in Paris, although Jill's vocals were overdubbed in the studio later. She is also featured in the unreleased Vanity 6 song Vibrator. In this song, she does a skit in a department store where Vanity goes to get batteries for her vibrator. The Prince song She's Always In My Hair, released as a B-side to the single Raspberry Beret, was written about her.

After working with Prince

Discography

Albums

  • 1987 Jill Jones (Paisley Park / Warner Bros.)
  • 2000 Two – with Chris Bruce (DAV Music)
  • 2004 Wasted – with The Grand Royals(Peace Bisquit)

Singles

Year Song US Hot 100 US Dance US R&B Album
1987 Mia Bocca - - - Jill Jones
1987 G-Spot - - - Jill Jones
1987 For Love - - - Jill Jones


With Prince

Co-lead vocals, Produced by Prince

  • 1988 Bright Lights, Big City (Warner Bros.)
    • Backing Vocals (Uncredited) for Good Love by Prince
    • Good Love Song included on independently released Crystal Ball by Prince


With Prince's Associates


With Other Artists (non-exhaustive list)

  • 1980 Teena Marie: Album Name (Gordy/Motown)
    • Irons in the Fire (m:ss) : Backing vocals
  • 1980 Teena Marie: Album Name (Gordy/Motown)
    • Lady T (m:ss) : Backing vocals
  • 1981 Teena Marie: Album Name (Gordy/Motown)
    • It Must Be Magic (m:ss) : Backing vocals
  • 1984 Teena Marie: Starchild (Gordy/Motown)
    • x (m:ss) : Backing vocals
  • 1988 Kristen Vigard: Kristen Vigard
    • x (m:ss) : Backing vocals
  • 1989 The Ground You Walk On Jill Jones (Warner Bros.)
    • For the Earth Girls Are Easy Soundtrack
    • Produced by Nile Rodgers
  • 1989 You Do Me Ryuichi Sakamoto (Virgin)
    • Lead Vocals [video clip available]
  • 1990 UNRELEASED DEMOS W/ ANGIE STONE (Paisley Park/; Warner Bros.)
  • 1990 C'est Si Bon (From Yves St. Laurent television spot)
    • Produced by Trevor Horn
  • 1991-1995 UNRELEASED DEMOS W/ TIM SIMENON & JOHN REYNOLDS
  • 1993 Mystic Man Paolo Rusticelli (Island)
    • Lead vocals on Rock Man & In Deep
  • 1993 Bald Paolo Rusticelli (Island)
    • Featured vocalist w/ Miles Davis, Carlos Santana
    • Produced by Paolo Rusticelli
  • 1994 The Great Pretender Lisa Lisa (EMI)
    • Written & produced by Jill Jones & Giovanni Salah
  • 1995 BABY MOTHER – Baby Mother (London Records) unreleased
    • Lead Vocalist
    • Produced by David Steele, Andy Cox, Carmen Rizzo, Jamie Mahobaritz
  • 1995 THE LISTENING POOL – Oil for The Lamps Of China (Telegraph/ Island)
    • Backing vocals
  • 1997-1998 WRITING/PRODUCING SOLO PROJECTS W/ CHRIS BRUCE
  • 1999 CHIC – Live At The Budokan (Sumthing)
    • Background vocals
  • 2000 Call Me With Todd Terry (BMG Germany)
  • 2000 Why With Ronnie Jordan (Blue Note)

Live performances

With Other Artists (non-exhaustive list)

  • Teena Marie

References