Jill Jones

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Jill Jones

Artist details

Birth Name: Jill Jones
Date Of Birth: 11 July 1962: Lebanon, Ohio, USA
Occupation: Singer, Vocalist.
Activity with Prince: From 1982 to 1990
Live Performances
First live appearance w/Prince:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:
With Prince:
  • Singles:
1982: 1999
1983: Automatic
1985: Take Me With U
1985: Pop Life on the non-album track Hello
1986: Kiss on the extended version
  • Albums:
1984: Purple Rain
1987: Sign O’ The Times
1998: Crystal Ball
2017: Purple Rain Deluxe Expanded Edition
With Prince’s Associates:
  • Singles:
1984: Sheila E. - The Glamorous Life
1985: The Bangles - Manic Monday
1985: Andre Cymone - The Dance Electric
1985: Sheila E. - Noon Rendezvous on the b-side Oliver’s House
1986: Mazarati - Players’ Ball on the b-side I Guess It’s All Over
  • Albums:
1984: Sheila E. - The Glamorous Life
1984: The Time - Ice Cream Castle
1984: Apollonia 6 - Apollonia 6
1985: Andre Cymone - A.C.
1985: The Bangles - Different Light
1986: Mazarati - Mazarati
1990: The Time - Pandemonium
Self Productions with Prince:
  • Singles:
1987: Mia Bocca
1987: G-Spot
1987: For Love
  • Albums:
1987: Jill Jones

Jill Jones is an American singer and vocalist. After collaborating with Teena Marie, she started to work with Prince as a background vocalist and released her first album on Paisley Park Records in 1987.

She continued her musical career after leaving Prince by working with numerous artists and released two collaborative albums in the early years of 2000 and her second solo album in 2016.

Prince wrote the song She’s Always In My Hair about her.

Musical Career
Early Life

Jill Jones' mother was a model and a singer and her stepfather was Fuller Gordy, brother of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records.

At a very young age she was exposed to a lot of music. 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.

Early Musical Career

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.

First steps

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 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 two songs.

Always In His Hair

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.

Between 1983 and 1987 she recorded backing vocals for the albums released by Sheila E., The Time, Apollonia 6, Mazarati.

She also contributed vocals (albeit often uncredited) to Baby I’m A Star, We Can Fuck, Manic Monday, The Dance Electric, Hello, the extended version of Kiss, It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night, Good Love.

In addition, Jill sang on tracks that remain unreleased to this day, including songs intended for her album (Rough, If I Could Get Your Attention, Killin’ At The Soda Shop, Married Man, Living Doll, My Baby Knows and My Sex).

In 1984, she had a small part in Purple Rain as the waitress at the First Avenue club and played in the short unreleased film Hard Life in 1987.

In 1990 she appeared in Graffiti Bridge, where she had a small role as The Kid’s girlfriend.

Debut 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 never materialized). It also featured an unreleased rock effort by Prince, All Day, All Night, and a cover of With You (recorded 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 four tracks, leaving the other three songs credits to her. In fact, as for his previous protégées records, he wrote all the songs himself, and registred 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 three singles issued from it, Mia Bocca, G-Spot and For Love did not make any impact on the US charts either despite a short tour as a support act for Jody Watley.

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

I guess it’s all over

In the autumn of 1988, Jill Jones went to England to work on songs intended for a second Paisley Park album.

Several songs were recorded or revamped with the help of Prince: Boom, Boom (Can’t U Feel The Beat Of My Heart), Flesh And Blood and My Baby Knows.

4 Lust, formely a duet with Prince, was re-recorded with Martyn Ware of The Human League and Heaven 17 producing.

A video was filmed for the track Boom, Boom (Can’t U Feel The Beat Of My Heart) which was intented as the lead-off single, but the album could not be completed, as Prince and Jill Jones disagreed on the direction of the album; Jill Jones wanted to sing more mature songs than Prince was providing.

Her contract with Paisley Park Records was due to expire in april 1993. However, she worked with non-Prince camp artists during the remainder of it.

Jill collaborated with Nile Rodgers on a song for the "Earth Girls Are Easy" Soundtrack and with Japanese avant-garde musician Ryuichi Sakamoto on the track "You Do Me," for his album Beauty, released in 1989.

After Working With Prince

After leaving the Prince camp, Jill returned to England to work on demos with Tim Simenon of Bomb The Bass and John Reynolds.

Later, Jill sang backing vocals on "Oil For The Lamps Of China", the debut single by The Listening Pool, an English band comprised three former members of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), which subsequently appeared on their debut album "Still Life".

Collaborative efforts

Jill’s friendship with Tim Simenon led her to front an English band called "Baby Mother", which was a collaborative effort with two former members of Liverpool band "The River City People". The group became very popular throughout the club scene in England and was offered recording contracts from several record labels.

"Baby Mother" decided to sign with London Records, but the group disbanded without releasing a single. Jill was busy in New York helping her mother to fight cancer and asked to be released from the project.

Jill co-wrote and produced "The Great Pretender" for Lisa Lisa’s LL77 album and worked on a song with Paolo Rustichelli for his album "Mystic Man" (featuring contributions by Carlos Santana, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock); Paolo Rustichelli also co-wrote and co-produced the club-friendly song "Bald", her only single released under her own name in the nineties.

In 1996, she toured with Chic as co-lead vocalist. The last show, featuring Bernard Edwards who died the following day, was released three years later on Live at the Budokan.

The following years, Jill Jones started to work with Chris Bruce (a bassist and guitarist who had previously work with Wendy & Lisa) on a record that would be published in 2001, called "Two" (under the name Jill Jones & Chris Bruce).

In 2004, she formed the duo "The Grand Royals" with Ian Ginsberg and released the album "Wasted" on Peace Bisquit label.

Current Work

In 2016, Jill released a club-music oriented album called "I Am" on Peace Bisquit label, her second solo album since 1987.

After Prince’s passing, she wrote a tribute song to him called "I Miss You".

Additional Information

See also Trivia

The Question of U: Jill Jones Talks 2 Beautiful Nights by K Nicola Dyes (beautifulnightschitown.blogspot.fr: 17 February 2015)
Kirk Johnson All Biographies Prince Biography Marva King