Jack Jones Interview

Frank Sinatra called him “one of the major singers of our time”.
He is the recipient of two Grammy Awards, including “Best Pop Male Vocal Performance”.
On April 13th 1989, he was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He’s recorded over 50 albums, 17 of which charted in Billboard’s Top 20.
He’s performed around the world from Malaysia to Bahrain and in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to The White House.
His popular concert tours have taken him to Australia, Singapore, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe.
He also appears annually throughout Britain.
Jack Jones is the gentleman we’re talking about, and Great Britain was our first topic of conversation.

Q – Mr. Jones, what do you think accounts for your popularity in England?
A – Well, I’m popular in the United States and I’m popular in England. England is just more concentrated. The people are closer together. Venues are closer together. Many albums of mine have been popular in England, but, no hit singles. All the hit singles I had were before I went to England. So, I’m not necessarily more popular in England, I’m just popular in England, and more so for my performances than hit records. But, I enjoy doing concert halls all over America, England, Scotland and Australia.

Q – What type of an age group are you getting to your concerts?
A – They’re my age group and younger, and some older. But, they’re a lot of young people who come to any concerts, whose parents directed them my way, and they like my work. They’re into romance so they come and see me.

Q – You’ve been a professional singer since 1964?
A – 1957.

Q – So, in that time you’ve seen a lot of singers come and go. Did you understand the appeal of the singers and groups of the British Invasion in 1964?
A – I have a 14 year old daughter now. You know, it was that time in these kids lives when these girls are becoming women and the hormones are raging. They didn’t know if The Beatles were any good, they just went for it ‘cause The Beatles were attractive. They had a wonderful gimmick, long hair-----in those days it was considered long hair. Then The Beatles proved to have substance after that. I was on the Ed Sullivan Show when The Beatles first showed up. It was amazing because the studio audience was completely replaced by kids. I walked out there and they’re screaming at me just ‘cause they were excited. They weren’t there to see me or anyone else on the show except The Beatles. The rest of us on the show just had to endure this fantastic group of adolescent females, and it was very interesting.

Q – There were guys like myself who also liked The Beatles. The girls screamed, but, guys also liked The Beatles.
A – You didn’t hear me, what I said. The Beatles were accepted after their initial visit. This is when they first came to this country is what I’m talking about. All they were to us guys is-----we didn’t know what the hell that was, until we started listening to the music and they kept coming up with new albums and they proved to be very creative. But, I don’t think the guys really got behind “I Want To Hold Your Head”. I would assume that they didn’t, because they were just new on the scene. Here was a group singing “I Want To Hold Your Head” and we didn’t know what they were. They became artistically successful after they started making albums and progressing, but, their initial arrival was basically to a teen-age audience. I was there, I didn’t see any guys in the audience. All girls.

Q – I actually knew a guy who went down to New York and saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
A – Oh, I mean, o.k. I’m off by a few guys.

Q – Let’s jump up to the 70’s, when you had Alice Cooper and Kiss. These guys were wearing make-up and stage props were part were part of the act. What did you think of that?
A – Theatrical. That’s what it is. That’s what it was.

Q – Does that mean you liked it or dis-liked it?
A – Where are you going with this interview? You want to be negative about music? I don’t want to be negative about music.

Q – No-----I’m not trying to be negative about music.
A – I’m not going to start putting down acts and rock ‘n’ roll. I’m fine with it. This interview is going negative.

Q – Hold on! Let me make my point-----which you should like.
A – Go ahead.

Q – What I’m getting at is-----Rock ‘n’ Roll has gone about as far as it can go-----up ‘til this point. So, a guy like yourself, who comes out on stage in a suit and tie, or a tuxedo would be perceived as something different. Something new. Would you agree?
A – I’ve always said that rock ‘n’ roll has hit a wall, a creative wall and they don’t know where to go with it anymore. I can see that people who come to see my show are younger and looking for that romantic thing. There are young singers who are wearing a suit and tie, and singing the same stuff I started out with. Yeah. I can see that’s happening. And-----that’s great! Music just keeps rolling along and somebody’s going to try and find a new way of presenting it. I think the only negative thing about it is Rap. When people say to me what do you think of Rap music? My answer is there’s no such thing. There’s rap and there’s music.

Q – Now, do you see where I was going with my questions?
A – I see where you’re going with it. I had other people start to be negative and want to get negative things out of me and I don’t do that.

Q – And to hear something “new” these days, you almost have to go back.
A – I don’t know if you can ever go back. You can be eclectic, and people can sample things from what’s available. The public is really the one that dictates it, and seems to be telling people what they want. Although, it spins kind of out of hand once the public makes a move in one direction then the industry is like a school of fish, they all go zipping over that way to try and please the public, and then they start dictating back to the public what they think the public was trying to dictate to them and then it becomes a vicious circle. Then we have to go through that cycle and get rid of it, and go on to something else. In the days when I started out, there were older producers who were in charge who were trying to use as much wisdom as they could. Then the corporations started hiring younger people to make those decisions, and so it just got more skewed. It’s all really based on what kids think. So, there are two music businesses. One is for the kids, which is the dominant one and one is for the adults which I think is being paid a little more attention now. You still walk into a record store and it’s threatening to an adult what’s being played very loudly. It’s kind of like they’re playin’ it for a reason-----to keep the adults out of there, my daughters 14. She just loves the kind of music I do, but, that’s one thing. She loves what’s trendy.

Q – Did you ever appear at a place just outside of Syracuse called “Three Rivers Inn”? It was run by a gentleman named Don Bruno.
A – Never went to Three Rivers. I always wondered about that. I was never asked to go there.

Q – Did you ever perform anywhere in Syracuse?
A – I never played any clubs up there. My father went to Syracuse University. I did a concert there, a tribute to Sammy Cahn, in the performing arts center there.

Q – As the years have passed, have you found singing become easier for you?
A – Oh, yeah. Extremely.

Q – We don’t seem to have many what I would call “crooners” left. When they are no longer around, will that style of music only be found on CD’s?
A – Well, you got a few. So, the Tony Bennetts and Jack Jones’ are still out there. When they die off, I don’t know.

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