Howard Jones

Howard Jones

It was in 1983 that Howard Jones released his first single 'New Song' in the UK. The expectation was that it might sell a few thousand copies and introduce his fresh new music to an unsuspecting world. The reality was quite different. The single steadily climbed the UK chart to peak at No. 3.

Then came the second single 'What Is Love?' which reached No. 2 in the UK and the third single …the enigmatic 'Hide and Seek' which showed the spiritual side of Howard Jones' writing. This was followed by the first album 'Human's Lib' which came straight in at No. 1 in the UK in April 1984, eventually going platinum and which took the synthesiser and Howard to a new plateau. This success spread across the globe with 'Human's Lib' going gold in USA, Japan, Germany, Italy and Australia.

The second album 'Dream Into Action' was even more successful spawning a series of hits including 'Like To Get To Know You Well', 'Look Mama', 'Things Can Only Get Better' and the classic 'No One Is To Blame' which reached No.1 in the U.S. singles chart and has since had over 3 million radio plays in USA. Dream Into Action went platinum in USA and lived in the US top 20 album chart for the best part of a year making Howard Jones one of the very few British artists to have comprehensively 'broken' America in the past 20 years. In 1986 Howard was voted Keyboard Player of the Year in Rolling Stone magazine and in 1987 and 1989 he toured extensively particularly in USA where he headlined Madison Square Garden in New York and the Forum in LA.

There were three more albums on Warner/Elektra 'One To One' (1987), 'Cross That Line' (1988) and 'In The Running' (1992) all three of which were accompanied by successful world tours. The 1992 single 'Lift Me Up', taken from 'In The Running' album went top ten in USA. In 1993 the 'Best Of Howard Jones' was released which, together with the Howard's other albums have seen his worldwide album sales to date exceed eight million.

In 1993 Howard returned to his one-man synthesiser set up that he had pioneered 10 years before and embarked on an extensive tour which culminated in Japan in January 1994. He also released a new album 'Working In The Backroom' on his own dTox label with the idea that the album would only be available at live concerts and on the Howard Jones website www.howardjones.com. This continues to be the case. In the true Howard Jones pioneering tradition, this album has never been sold in shops and never will be.

Since 1994 this consummate musician and writer has maintained an admirable independence with his prodigious output. Being a classically trained piano player, Howard decided to take a completely unexpected path and in 1996 without a synth in sight he embarked on 'The Acoustic Tour' which featured Howard on grand piano accompanied only by Carol Steele on percussion. This proved to be a huge success and was recorded live at the Variety Arts Theatre in Los Angeles. This was later released as 'Live Acoustic America' and has to rate as one of the best live albums ever recorded.

This was followed in 1999 by a new highly acclaimed studio album 'People' which many true Howard Jones fans regard as his best ever album.

Always one to present the unexpected Howard then formed a full band which featured Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo/Ellis Beggs and Howard) on bass and Chapman stick, Robin Boult (Fish) on guitars and the legendary Kevin Wilkinson (China Crisis/The Waterboys/Squeeze) on drums. This superb band toured the world throughout 1998 and the first half of 1999 which included a major tour of the USA with Culture Club and the Human League. It was with enormous sadness that the news was received on 18 July 1999 that drummer Kevin Wilkinson had taken his life. Kevin was one of the most respected and sought after drummers and was a wonderful caring human being. He has been very greatly missed.

Just before this tragedy a studio recording was made which was eventually released in July 2000 as the album 'Perform.00'…. an exceptional recording and a fitting tribute to Kevin's talent.

In 2000 Howard appeared on the infamous 'Night of the Proms' tour of Europe with a 72 piece orchestra and a 50 piece choir. This was followed in the summer of 2001 with a huge Ringo Star tour of USA and Canada. The band featured Greg Lake on bass, Sheila E and Ringo on drums, Ian Hunter and Roger Hodgson on guitars and Howard on keyboards. Apart from playing his three biggest US hits 'No One Is To Blame', Things Can Only Get Better', and 'Everlasting Love' each night, Howard also got to fulfil a lifetime ambition by playing Emerson Lake and Palmer's 'Karnevil 9' with Greg Lake and Sheila E. Keith Emerson's classic keyboard arrangement is regarded as one of the most difficult keyboard pieces ever written.

In September 2001 Howard set off once more into uncharted waters. He formed a new touring band with Robin Boult on guitars, Shaz Sparks (from dba) on backing vocals and Robbie Bronnimann (from dba) on programming and mixing. Howard had the idea of doing a tour wherein each gig was recorded and digital photographs would be taken at each concert. Then on the same night CD's would be burnt, and artwork produced from the photographs taken that night and the finished CD's would then be sold all on the same night! Incredibly it worked and 19 different CD's were produced and sold during the tour which sent Howard Jones collectors into a tailspin. At the end of the tour a best of was compiled under the title 'The Peaceful Tour Live' which has been licensed to various labels around the world. It is also available on Howard's website 'howardjones.com.

In 2002 Howard continued to be at the forefront of music. He co-wrote and co-produced 'Blue' with the Sugababes which turned out to be track two on their platinum album 'Angels with Dirty Faces'. He had previously signed the amazing Martin Grech to his Dtox label and had spent three years as executive producer which resulted in Martin's first album 'Open Heart Zoo' which received huge critical acclaim in the UK. Similarly trance duo 'dba' were signed to Dtox which resulted in their first album 'Spectrum' and the accompanying mix album 'Twister'. In April 2002 Howard embarked on the 'Here and Now Tour' of the UK playing the largest arenas in Britain including London's Wembley Arena and the NEC in Birmingham.

In May and June 2002 Howard set off again to the USA, performing a series of US dates which included New York, San Diego, Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Anaheim. This was the first time that Howard's new electronic band had been seen in America. Further UK dates happened between July and August, which saw Howard and the electronic band play a number of Summer festivals.

In the last months of 2002 Howard again surprised everyone by recording an album of intimate piano solos entitled Piano Solos for Friends and Loved Ones which is at present only available from Howard's website www.howardjones.com. This album has had wonderful reviews from Howard Jones fans all over the world and apart from demonstrating what a wonderful piano player he is also expresses a soundscape of deep and tender emotion.

In July 2003 a short tour of NorthEast USA takes place which will include BB Kings in New York City which will be followed by dates in Singapore in August.

This will be followed by a special 20th Anniversary concert at The Shepherd's Bush Empire London on 20 September 2003. This concert will be a celebration of the past 20 years of an extraordinary career and will feature Howard on stage all evening. The concert will feature several special guests and will be filmed and recorded for a DVD release later in the year. There will also be extensive TV and radio appearances surrounding this special night.

To tie in with this 20th Anniversary celebration Warner Music will release a special double CD which will be a new best of and a second special CD of Howard Jones single B sides which collectors and fans have been demanding for years.

Howard Jones has proved that he is one of the most talented writers and performers of recent times. His independent attitude and his ability and willingness to take risks ensures that he continues to operate on the cutting edge of today's music.

$30.00 - $35.00

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