John Paul Jones

Author: Janet



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One of the founding members of the legendary group Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones started life on January 3, 1946, in London, England. In the turbulent years since then, he has left his mark on rock & roll music history as an innovative musician, arranger, and director.

In 1960, when Jones was only 14 years old, he became a member of his father’s dance band. This time under his father’s watchful eye gave him a chance to gain experience and confidence. A year later, Jones formed his first band and by the next year, he began to travel and perform professionally at an age when school alone can apply too much pressure on a teen. By the mid-’60s, he had served for other groups as director and arranger, as well as bassist and keyboardist. His remarkable credits from that early period include amazing groups like The Rolling Stones, the Outlaws, Jeff Beck, Mickey Most, The Yardbirds, the Mindbenders, the Everly Brothers, and the Supremes.

In 1968, Jones was chosen by Jimmy Page to help put together a new group that would be known as Led Zeppelin. In less than a dozen years, Jones, as a member of Zeppelin, made one movie, recorded nine full-length albums that gave the world of rock & roll something to think over, and completed close to 30 exhausting tours. When Led Zeppelin ended in 1980, Jones continued his musical career.

Since 1980 Jones has collaborated with a number of artists, including R.E.M., Heart, Ben E. King, Foo Fighters, Cinderella, The Mission, La Fura dels Baus, Brian Eno, Karl Sabino, the Butthole Surfers and Uncle Earl. He appeared on several sessions and videos for Paul McCartney and was involved in the soundtrack of the film Give My Regards to Broad Street. In 1985, Jones was asked by director Michael Winner to provide the soundtrack for the film, Scream for Help, with Jimmy Page appearing on two tracks. Jones provides vocals for two of the songs. He recorded and toured with Diamanda Gal├ís on her 1994 album, The Sporting Life (co-credited to John Paul Jones). Jones set up his own recording studio called Sunday School, as well being involved in his daughter’s (Jacinda Jones) singing career.

In 1996, Jones saw the construction of his own studio completed. Two years later he finally recorded a solo debut album, Zooma. “Smile of Your Shadow,” “Bass ‘N’ Drums,” and “Grind” are a few of the tracks from this first noteworthy solo offering.

In 2004, he toured as part of the group Mutual Admiration Society, along with Glen Phillips (the front man for the band Toad the Wet Sprocket) and the members of the band Nickel Creek.

Jones plays on two tracks on Foo Fighters‘ album In Your Honor : mandolin on “Another Round” and piano on “Miracle”, both of which are on the acoustic disc. The band’s frontman Dave Grohl (a big Led Zeppelin fan) has described Jones’ guest appearance as the “second greatest thing to happen to me in my life”.

He has also branched out into album production, having produced such albums as The Mission (band) album Children, The Datsuns’ second album Outta Sight, Outta Mind (2004) and Uncle Earl’s upcoming album.

Recently he accompanied Robyn Hitchcock and Ruby Wright in performing the song Gigolo Aunt at a tribute for Pink Floyd founder, Syd Barrett, in London, which he did on mandolin.

He played at Bonnaroo 2007 in a collaboration with Ben Harper and Roots drummer Guestlove as part of the festival’s all-star Super-Jam, an annual tradition in the festival that brings together several famous, world-class musicians together to jam on stage together for a few hours. He came out and played mandolin with Gillian Welch at Bonnaroo during the song “Look at Miss Ohio” and a cover of the Johnny Cash song “Jackson.” He also appeared during the set of Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals where they played a cover of “Dazed and Confused”. Jones then closed Gov’t Mule’s first set, playing part of “Moby Dick” and then “Livin Lovin Maid” on bass, then proceeded to play keyboards on the songs “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “No Quarter”. Jones also performed on mandolin with all female blue-grass group Uncle Earl, whose album he had produced.

Jones played in the Led Zeppelin reunion show at London’s O2 Arena on December 10, 2007 as part of a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun.

This year, Jones plans to produce Nickel Creek singer-fiddler Sara Watkins’ debut solo album. As previously mentioned, Jones toured with Watkins, Glen Phillips, and the rest of Nickel Creek in late 2004 in a collaboration entitled Mutual Admiration Society.

On Feb. 10, 2008, John Paul Jones appeared with the Foo Fighters on the Grammies conducting the orchestral part to the song “The Pretender”. – Sources: Wikipedia and biography by Charlotte Dillon

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