Howard Jones would like to get to know you well. Is that what love is?(!)
John Howard Jones became one of the most successful artists of the 1980’s and he hit the ground running with his debut single, “New Song”, in 1983. Born in Southampton in 1955, Howard went to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester after leaving school and after a number of amateur music ventures he hired a London club in 1983 and invited record labels to hear what he had on offer. Warner Records liked what they heard and signed him up and in September that year, “New Song” was released and went to No.3 in the UK. The track charted across Europe and broke the US singles chart peaking at No.27.
Before the year was out, a follow up with “What Is Love?” was issued and it found even more success, becoming, arguably, his best known song. “What Is Love?” made it to No.2 in the early months of 1984 and again was a sizeable hit across Europe. The song reached No.33 in The States. Both tracks would feature on his first album, “Human’s Lib”, released at the beginning of March. “Human’s Lib” would top the UK chart, where it holds a double Platinum certification for sales of more than 600,000 copies, and would eventually reach No.59 in America. Two further hits would come from the album, “Hide And Seek” (UK No.12) and a third top ten hit with “Pearl In The Shell” (No.7). Not resting on his laurels, Jones began work immediately on a follow up and before the year was out, a new single, “Like To Get To Know You Well”, was premiered.
The song climbed to No.4 in the UK and was a top ten hit in Sweden and Ireland as well as reaching No.49 in America, where Howard enjoyed consistent if not enormous success. The track was followed by “Things Can Only Get Better” which this time did give him a substantial hit Stateside, the song reaching No.5. Back home, “Things Can Only Get Better” peaked at No.6, Howards’s fifth top ten hit out of six singles released! Exactly a year after his debut, Jones released his second album, “Dream Into Action”, in March 1985. The album was a huge hit in America selling over million copies and reaching the top ten, while back in the UK, it made it to No.2. Jones worked with UK based vocal trio Afrodiziak, who could count among their number one Caron Wheeler, later to find fame with Soul II Soul at the end of the decade. “Dream Into Action” would yield a further UK top ten hit with “Look Mama” and a US top twenty hit with “Life In One Day” (UK No.14).
Howard was nothing short of endless enthusiasm as he played at Live Aid in 1985 and embarked on a world tour that same year as well as writing and recording new songs for his third album! He released a fifth single from “Dream Into Action”, “No One Is To Blame”, in early 1986, which would produce another US top ten hit, this time reaching No.4, the highest chart placing he would attain there. The song charted at No.16 in the UK. “One To One” would be that third album and was it released in the Autumn of 1986. Once again he worked with Afrodiziak, but support for the new album was not as forthcoming as previous releases. Indeed, the lead single, “All I Want”, failed to make the UK top twenty while the follow up, “You Know I Love You…Don’t You”, even missed the top 40, although it found more ground in America where it would get up to No.17.
“One To One” was a top ten hit in the UK but sales were only a fraction of its predecessors. Howard Jones toured America extensively during this period with long spells away from home, possibly affecting sales in his home country. His 1989 album, “Cross That Line”, told a similar story. The lead single, “Everlasting Love” a hit Stateside but not back home. Two further singles also reached the top thirty in America while both flopped in the UK, one from “Cross That Line” and one from his 1992 album, “In the Running”. After ten years with Warners, Jones released his first compilation, “The Best of Howard Jones”, in 1993, which would attain a Silver certification in the UK, his first album to do so since “One To One” seven years earlier. In the years since mainstream success, Howard Jones has continued to play live and record and release new music. The 1990’s saw a total of four albums, three through independent labels.
He has found lasting success with his classic and best known hits which continue to attract his many fans across the world whenever he plays at 80’s retro festivals or intimate gigs on his own. In 2019, he returned to the UK album chart with “Transform”, his most successful release since “One To One” back in 1986. He promoted the album heavily through media as well as live appearances that year and found radio success and support with the three key tracks from it, “Beating Mr. Neg”, “Hero In Your Eyes” and “The One To Love You”. As of this writing (2022), Howard Jones is embarking on a UK and European tour throughout the Summer and Autumn and has also released a new single, “I Believe In You“, which will feature on his upcoming fourteenth studio album, “Dialogue”!
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