Jones earned two Grammys for “Best Pop Male Vocal Performance” with his singles “Lollipops and Roses” by Anthony Velona and the Bert Bacharach/Hal David tune “Wives and Lovers.”
As the rock ‘n roll era entered its second decade in the 1960s, Jones bucked the rock trend, displaying his cool charm and vocal talents bringing to mind classic popular singers such as Mel Torme, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.
In the 1970s he continued to record and put his trademark sound on many of the current standards, when he got a call from famed composer Paul Williams asking him to sing the theme to a new television show.
Speaking to Highlands Today by phone from his Palm Springs, California home, Jones said he told Williams he would record the theme. But, Williams cautioned him that he didn’t know anybody who wanted to watch a show about a cruise ship.
As it turned out, starting in 1977, “The Love Boat” sailed for a lengthy 10-year cruise on network television with Jones singing the opening theme to a disco beat.
Jones noted that he wrote an episode of the show that featured himself and his dad.
Looking back at what prompted him to be a performer, Jones said while attending University High School in West Los Angeles, a classmate, Nancy Sinatra, told him not to miss a school assembly because her father would be performing. After seeing Frank Sintra perform, Jack said he knew that is what he wanted to do.
In 1957, his father, actor/singer Allan Jones, was headlining at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas. Jones said his dad invited him to perform with him and see how he liked it.
Jones recorded a few singles on Capitol Records and an album — with little response.
He continued to work day jobs and was working as a gas station attendant when his first album was released on Kapp Records. He heard one of his songs on the radio while he was washing a customer’s windshield.
“Lollipops and Roses,” was getting good radio play in Boston, Jones said.
“They said if you shortened this thing down, you got a hit; so we did and it became a hit and got a Grammy,” he said. The song was featured on an episode of the “Mad Men” television show.
Jones said the lyrics to his other Grammy winner “Wives and Lovers,” which encouraged housewives to dress up for their husband’s return from the office, caught a little flack from women’s groups.
“I laugh about it all the time and there was a time when it really wasn’t funny,” he said. “It was a serious issue, and the National Organization of Women were really pounding their fists about it.”
It was an innocent song of its time and he agrees with the objections to the lyric, Jones said. The issues with it didn’t last long, however.
South Florida State College Director of Cultural Programs Cindy Garren said Jones’ recent United Kingdom tour was a hit as he performed in support of his new album “Simply Sinatra.”
“Jack still has the chops and it will be a memorable concert,” she said.
Tickets for the show are: $59, $51 and $46. Groups of 12 or more can save 25 percent.
Those who purchase VIP seats (first two rows, $65) will receive an autographed Simply Sinatra CD and will have a private meet and greet with Jones after the show.
For more information go to: www.performances.southflorida.edu.
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