John Allan Jones (born January 14, 1938) known professionally as Jack Jones, is an American actor and jazz and pop singer, popular during the 1960s. He is the son of actor/singer Allan Jones and actress Irene Hervey.
Jones was primarily a straight-pop singer (even when he recorded contemporary material) whose ventures in the direction of jazz were mostly of the big band/swing variety. Jones has won two Grammy Awards.
He continues to perform concerts around the world and remains popular in Las Vegas. Jones is widely known for his recordings of "Wives and Lovers" (1964 Grammy Award, Best Pop Male Performance), "The Race Is On", "Lollipops and Roses" (1962, Grammy Award, Best Pop Male Performance), "The Impossible Dream", "Call Me Irresponsible", "Lady", and "The Love Boat Theme". He was also the voice of Greg's frog in the 2014 animated television miniseries Over the Garden Wall.
Early years and Capitol Records
John Allan Jones, the son of actors Allan Jones and Irene Hervey, was born in Los Angeles on the night his father recorded his signature song "Donkey Serenade", causing him to say that he was "practically born in a trunk". The young Jones attended University High School in West Los Angeles and studied drama and singing.
His first professional break was with his father, who was performing at the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He recorded several demos for songwriter Don Raye, attracting attention from the music industry. In 1959, Jones was signed to Capitol Records and released the album This Love of Mine and a few singles. One track from the album is "This Could Be the Start of Something Big".
While performing at a San Francisco club, he was heard by Pete King, a producer and artist for Kapp Records, who quickly signed him to the label. In August 1961, he recorded the ballad "Lollipops and Roses" (a song by Tony Velona), which became a hit in the following year. Jones's biggest pop hit was "Wives and Lovers" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
In the Kapp years, Jones recorded almost twenty albums, including Shall We Dance, This Was My Love, She Loves Me, Call Me Irresponsible, I´ve Got a Lot of Living To Do!, Bewitched, Wives and Lovers, Dear Heart, Where Love Has Gone, The Jack Jones Christmas Album, My Kind of Town, The Impossible Dream, The In Crowd, Jack Jones Sings, Lady, and Our Song. Young, handsome, and well-groomed, Jack Jones was an anomaly in the 1960s, eschewing rock-and-roll trends and opting for the big band sound, lush romantic ballads, and the Great American Songbook, although sometimes he recorded something more pop-, country-, or bossa nova-oriented. For example, one of his biggest hits was "The Race Is On" by country music legend George Jones (no relation). Besides the choice of material, Jones worked with such arrangers as Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Marty Paich, Shorty Rogers, Jack Elliott, Ralph Carmichael, Bob Florence, Don Costa, and Pete King.
RCA Victor and MGM years
Jones moved from Kapp (in the UK, London Records) to RCA Victor in 1967. His first album for the label was Without Her. The following releases, If You Ever Leave Me, L.A. Break Down, and Where Is Love were in roughly the same style of the Kapp records, but with a slightly more contemporary vocal styling. After A Jack Jones Christmas, he changed his musical direction and appearance from the smooth club entertainer of the 1960s Las Vegas scene to the long-haired singer of the early seventies. A Time for Us (1970) was one of the albums which marked his transition towards a middle-of-the-road sound. Jones started to record more contemporary material, including covers of such well-known songwriters as Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Carole King, Paul Williams, Richard Carpenter, Gordon Lightfoot, and Gilbert O'Sullivan.
The album Bread Winners (1972) was a tribute to the band Bread, with eight songs written by David Gates and two by Jimmy Griffin and Robb Royer. Two more of his albums from this period were dedicated to two French songwriters: Jack Jones Sings Michel Legrand (to Michel Legrand, 1971) and Write Me a Love Song, Charlie with songs by Charles Aznavour (1974).
The Full Life (1977) was produced by Jones and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys; on this album, Jones recorded "God Only Knows", a Beach Boys classic, and "Disney Girls" (Johnston's most-well-known Beach Boys contribution – Johnston also wrote "I Write The Songs", made famous by Barry Manilow). His last LP for RCA was With One More Look At You (1977), which contains his performance of the Little Feat hit "Dixie Chicken"; this performance appeared in Golden Throats 2: More Celebrity Rock Oddities. In 1979, he moved to MGM Records, recording the album Nobody Does it Better, which featured a disco track of "The Love Boat", the main (opening) theme from the TV series of the same name, and his Grammy winner, "Wives and Lovers". His second (and, due to its subsequent closure, his last) MGM album, Don't Stop Now, featured duets with Maureen McGovern.
Since 1980, he has recorded few albums, and now performs in various concert arenas and occasionally appears on the supper-club circuit. He released the album Live at the London Palladium in 1995, recorded in London on the Emporio label. Jones received recognition in Japan, where a lot of his old records were released on CD. In 1982, he recorded an album for Applause Records, with covers of songs by the likes of The Beatles, Billy Joel, and The Eagles.
Jones released I Am a Singer in 1987 for USA Records, and in 1992 he recorded The Gershwin Album for Sony Music, with songs written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. In 1997 came New Jack Swing (Honest Entertainment), with Jones giving a big band treatment to old standards and assorted pop/rock songs. Another recent album is Jack Jones Paints a Tribute to Tony Bennett (Honest Entertainment, released in 1999), that was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. In March 2008, Jones celebrated his 70th birthday, and a half-century in show business with a concert at the McCallum Theatre (Palm Springs). Guests included Patti Austin, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. In 2010, he recorded an album focusing on the Bergmans' work called Love Makes The Changes. He also released an album featuring new renderings of some of his original hits entitled Love Ballad. In 2015, Jones released Seriously Frank (Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Frank Sinatra), orchestra arranged and conducted by Patrick Williams, with Dave Grusin on piano. The record was subsequently followed-up with a tour in Los Angeles and the United Kingdom in 2016.
Film, television and theatre
Jones made his film debut in Juke Box Rhythm (1959), playing Riff Manton, a young singer who is involved romantically with a princess (Jo Morrow). He sings three songs. Jones acted in such minor films as The Comeback (1978), Condominium (1980), and Cruise of the Gods (2002). He had a humorous cameo in the film parody Airplane II: The Sequel (1982); as Robert Hays's character avoids searchlights while escaping captivity, the beams become a spotlight on Jones, performing a verse from The Love Boat theme.
He became a staple on 1960s and 1970s variety shows, performing on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Jerry Lewis Show, American Bandstand, This is Tom Jones, The Dean Martin Show, The Judy Garland Show, Playboy After Dark, The Jack Benny Program, The Steve Allen Show, and The Morecambe and Wise Show in Britain. He twice hosted NBC's top-rated rock and roll series Hullabaloo, and was featured in two prime-time specials, Jack Jones on the Move (1966) and The Jack Jones Special (1974).
Jones provided the opening theme for the television series The Love Boat from 1977 through 1985, and also made several guest appearances on the show, including one with his father, Allan. Prior to that, he also provided the vocals to the theme song of Funny Face, The Kind of Girl She Is. When the show returned as The Sandy Duncan Show, he was replaced by a chorus of unknown men and women. He also guest-starred in the 1960s series The Rat Patrol (season 2, episode 8, "The Do-Re-Mi Raid"), where he performed "That Tiny World" in the role of PFC Roberts, a POW being held by the Germans), Police Woman, McMillan & Wife, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Match Game, and Night Court.
The singer promoted the Chrysler New Yorker automobile in the mid-1970s with the "It's the talk of the town" ad campaign.
In 1990, Jones recorded Three Coins in the Fountain, which was used in the film Coins in the Fountain that same year. He also appeared in the Chris Elliot Fox television show Get a Life. In the episode, Chris' parents wanted to see Jack Jones perform, but the tickets were in his pocket, under 1,000s of pounds of stuff as Chris was trying to set a world record for piling on.
In these last two decades, Jones has been active in the musical theater, acting in Guys and Dolls, South Pacific and others. He went on national tour performing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and was acclaimed by the critics. He performed a song in an episode of Phineas and Ferb.
In 2013, he appeared as himself/ nightclub singer in the film American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell. American Hustle spawned the single "I Got Your Number" (recording it in one take). In 2014, he provided the voice of Jason Funderburker the frog and sang several of the songs, including the theme song, for the Cartoon Network mini-series, Over the Garden Wall.
In 2003, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Jones.
Jones has been married six times. In the second half of the 1960s, Jones had a well-publicized relationship with actress Jill St. John and the two were briefly married. In the early 1970s, Jones married Gretchen Roberts. Subsequently, he was linked romantically to British actress Susan George. From 1976 to 1982, he was married to Kathy Simmons. From 1982 to 2005, he was married to British-born Kim Ely and they had a daughter, Nicole (born in 1991). The singer has another daughter, Crystal Thomas, from a former marriage to Lee Fuller. Jones lives with wife Eleonora in Indian Wells, in Riverside County, California.