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Gloria Jones performing with T.Rex in March 1976 in Glasgow, Scotland
October 19, 1945 |
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Gospel, Northern soul, R&B|
|Instruments||Piano, vocals, clavinet|
|Labels||Minit, Motown, EMI|
|Associated acts||Marc Bolan, T.Rex|
Gloria Richetta Jones (October 19, 1945, Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She recorded the 1964 song, "Tainted Love", later a hit for the British synth-pop duo, Soft Cell. She was the girlfriend of glam rock artist Marc Bolan of the band T. Rex until his death in 1977.
Early life and career
Jones was born in Cincinnati, and moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of seven, where she first started singing. Jones' first taste of fame came at the age of 14, when, while still at school, she formed with Frankie Kahrl and Billy Preston the successful gospel group the Cogic Singers, with whom she recorded the album It's a Blessing. Although she remained with the group for some four years, she soon found herself drawn into the Los Angeles pop scene.
In 1964, Jones, in her late teens, was discovered by the songwriter Ed Cobb. Signing with Cobb's Greengrass Productions, she recorded her first hit record, "Heartbeat Pts 1 & 2," which Cobb wrote and produced. She toured the United States, performing on several American television programs, footage of which still exists. One performance occurred at a Rock and Soul show in Disneyland in the summer of 1965. "Heartbeat" became a rhythm and blues tune which was recorded later by Dusty Springfield, Spencer Davis and many other artists.
By then, Jones had recorded other songs for Uptown Records, a subsidiary of Capitol/EMI. Included among these was another Cobb-written song, "Tainted Love". Marc Almond of the duo Soft Cell, whose cover version of "Tainted Love" reached #1 worldwide, originally heard the song in a nightclub in Northern England. So strong was Jones's following there that she was proclaimed the "Northern Queen of Soul." Jones also recorded an album for the Uptown label entitled Come Go With Me which was released in 1966.
Jones studied piano, and acquired an advanced classical degree primarily in the works of Bach. In 1968, she joined the cast of Catch My Soul, a rock and soul version of the play Othello, which included cast members Jerry Lee Lewis, The Blossoms, and Dr. John. During the summer of 1968, she performed in a play called Revolution, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. That winter, she joined the Los Angeles cast of Hair, the musical. Eventually, she was to meet Pam Sawyer, who asked her to write for Motown Records. Jones and Sawyer were amongst the second string of writers at Motown, but still wrote for such artists as Gladys Knight & the Pips, Commodores, The Four Tops and The Jackson 5. As Jones was also initially a singer for the label, protocol demanded a pseudonym, so for some of her earlier co-writes she used the name LaVerne Ware.
Songs that Jones's worked on during this period include The Supremes' "Have I Lost You" (writer), Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross' "My Mistake" (writer), Junior Walker's "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (writer/producer) and the Four Tops' "Just Seven Numbers" (writer). The most remembered song that Jones penned was Gladys Knight and the Pips' "If I Were Your Woman", which was nominated for a Grammy in 1971. However, Jones left Motown at the end of 1973, subsequent to the release of her album Share My Love.
Jones first met Marc Bolan of T. Rex in 1969 while performing in Hair (Los Angeles cast). While touring in Europe, Bolan and Jones met for the second time at the Speakeasy in London. In 1972, she was recommended by Warner Brothers Bob Regere to sing backing vocals behind T. Rex at the Winterland in San Francisco.
Soon after joining T. Rex, Jones and Bolan became romantically involved. Together, they had a son, Rolan Bolan (b. 26-Sep-1975). She sang backing vocals and played clavinet with T. Rex from 1973 to 1977. Her rendition of "Dock of the Bay" appears as a bonus track on T.Rex's album Bolan's Zip Gun. Jones released an album in 1976, called Vixen, featuring several songs written by Bolan, and he also was the producer.
In 1977, Jones worked with the group Gonzales, producing several of their singles, and also penning the disco hit, "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" for the group. She toured the UK with Gonzales, first on the Bob Marley tour, and then with Osibisa.
She was the driver of the car, a Mini 1275 GT, that crashed and killed Bolan at 4:00 am on 16 September 1977 on the way home to Bolan's Richmond property. They had been out to a restaurant in Mayfair and had been drinking wine. Jones broke her jaw in the accident and was found draped over the car's bonnet with Bolan lying on the floor. She did not learn of Bolan's death until the day of his funeral. When she was well enough to leave the hospital, she soon found that Bolan's fans had looted what was left of his possessions. Jones and Bolan were not legally married, so she was not entitled to any inheritance, except for £10,000 which Bolan had left her in his will, drafted in 1973. She was later summoned to appear in court in London on charges of being unfit to drive and driving a car in a dangerous condition. She never returned to face the allegations.
Having lost her possessions, Jones and her son moved back to Los Angeles where they stayed with Jones' family.
In 1978, she released the album Windstorm, which was a dedication to the memory of Bolan. On the back cover, it is written "Special Dedication in memory of my son's father, Marc Bolan, whom we miss very much." Her single "Bring On The Love" was a success on the American R&B chart.
Jones stayed in the music industry for several years after, releasing an album produced by Ed Cobb, titled Reunited in 1981. She also collaborated again with Billy Preston and other Cogic Singers for a 1984 reunion album The Cogic's. She has since worked as a musical supervisor for films.
Solo studio albums
- 1966 - Come Go With Me
- 1973 - Share My Love
- 1976 - Vixen (Not released in the US)
- 1978 - Windstorm
- 1982 - Reunited
- 1996 - Vixen / Windstorm (CD release)
- 2009 - Share My Love (CD release)
With T. Rex
- 1974 - Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow
- 1974 - Light of Love
- 1975 - Bolan's Zip Gun
- 1976 - Futuristic Dragon
- 1977 - Dandy in the Underworld
With The COGIC'S
- 1966 - It's A Blessing
- 1984 - The COGIC'S
US solo singles
|1964||"Tainted Love" / "My Bad Boy's Coming Home"||Champion 14003|
|1965||"Heartbeat (Part 1)" / Heartbeat (Part 2)"||Uptown 712|
|1966||"Finders Keepers" / "Run One Flight Of Stairs"||Uptown 724|
|1966||"Come Go With Me" / "How Do You Tell An Angel"||Uptown 732|
|1968||"I Know" / "What About You"||Minit 32046|
|1969||"Look What You Started" / "When He Touches Me"||Minit 32051|
|1973||"Why Can't You Be Mine" / "Baby Don't Cha Know (I'm Bleeding For You)"||Motown 1256|
|1978||"Bring On The Love" (Single Version) / "Cry Baby"||Capitol 4563|
|1978||"Bring On The Love" (Album Version) / "Bring On The Love"||Capitol 12" 4563|
|1978||"Woman Is A Woman" / "Blue Light Microphone"||Capitol 4662|
|1979||"When I Was A Little Girl" / "When I Was a Little Girl"(Inst)||Capitol 4762|
|1982||"My Bad Boy's Coming Home" / "We Gotta All Get Together"||Avi 187|
|1982||"My Bad Boy's Coming Home" / "Tainted Love"||Avi 338|
UK solo singles (selected)
- 1973 - "Tin Can People" / "So Tired"
- 1976 - "Get It On (Part 1)" / "Get It On (Part 2)"
- 1976 - "I Ain't Going Nowhere" / "Simplicity Blues"
- 1976 - "Tainted Love" (New Version) / "Go Now" (Album Version) (12" - MAXI)
- 1977 - "To Know You Is To Love You" / "City Port" (with Marc Bolan)
- 1977 - "Go Now" (Single Version) / "Drive Me Crazy (Disco Lady)"
- 1977 - "Bring On The Love" (Single Version) / "Cry Baby"
- 1977 - "Bring On The Love" (Album Version) / "Bring On The Love" (Instrumental)
- 1978 - "When I Was a Little Girl" /"When I Was a Little Girl" (Instrumental)
- 1978 - "Windstorm" / "Blue Light Microphone"
- 1979 - "Listen To Me" / "Father I'm Coming Home" (From the v/a Double Album Alpha Omega)
Backing vocal work
- 1968 With Neil Young on Neil Young
- 1968 With Jackie DeShannon on "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
- 1969 With The Brothers And Sisters Of Los Angeles on Dylan's Gospel
- Gloria sings lead on "I Shall Be Released", "Chimes Of Freedom", and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
- 1970 With Ry Cooder on Ry Cooder
- 1971 With Jesse Davis on Jesse Davis
- 1971 With Ry Cooder on Into The Purple Valley
- 1971 With REO Speedwagon on REO Speedwagon
- 1972 With Buffy Saint Marie on Moonshot
- 1972 With Elvin Bishop on Rock My Soul
- 1973 With Judee Sill on Heart Food
- 1973 With Little Feat on Dixie Chicken
- 1974 With The Commodores on Machine Gun
- 1975 With Michael Masser on The Original Soundtrack Of Mahogany
- 1975 With Harry Nilsson on Duit on Mon Dei
- 1978 With Steve Harley on Hobo with a Grin
- 1979 With Billy Preston on Late at Night and A Whole New Thing
Songwriting / Production
|"Bad Seed"||Chris Clark||1969||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Black Mail"||David Ruffin||1969||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Henry Cosby|
|"Teenage Symphony"||Jackson 5||197-||Gloria Jones, Hal Davis, Marilyn McLeod||Hal Davis|
|"I Ain't Goin' Nowhere"||Junior Walker & The All Stars||197-||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"If I Can't Love You Then I Can't Love Me"||Eddie Kendricks||197-||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones|
|"Nothing Is Real"||Eddie Kendricks||197-||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones|
|"Piece Of Clay"||Marvin Gaye||197-||Gloria Jones||Gloria Jones|
|"My Love Is Yours"||The Sisters Love||197-||Gloria Jones, Josef Powell|
|"You've Got My Mind"||The Sisters Love||197-||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"When My Love Hand Comes Down"||David & Jimmy Ruffin||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Your Love Was Worth Waiting For"||David & Jimmy Ruffin||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Black Mail"||Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Christmas Won't Be The Same This Year"||Jackson 5||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Hal Davis|
|"2-4-6-8"||Jackson 5||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||The Corporation|
|"If I Were Your Woman"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurray||Clay McMurray|
|"Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)"||Four Tops||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Earthquake"||Martha Reeves & The Vandellas||1970||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John Bristol||John Bristol|
|"Let's Go Back To Day One"||Eddie Kendricks||1971||Gloria Jones, Patrice Holloway|
|"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready"||Rahsaan Roland Kirk||1971||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John Bristol||Joel Dorn|
|"Have I Lost You"||The Supremes||1971||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones|
|"I Ain't That Easy To Lose"||The Supremes||1971||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Clay McMurray|
|"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy"||Edwin Starr & The Fantastic Four||1972||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"I Don't Need No Reason"||Junior Walker & The All Stars||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"I Don't Need No Reason"||The Miracles||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready"||Junior Walker & The All Stars||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John Bristol|
|"I'm Learning To Trust My Man"||The Sisters Love||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Where Do You Go (Baby)"||Eddie Kendricks||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"There's A Lesson To Be Learned"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1973||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Clay McMurray|
|"A Million To One"||Jermaine Jackson||1973||Phil Medley||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Give Me Your Love"||The Sisters Love||1973||Curtis Mayfield||Gloria Jones|
|"(I Could Never Make) A Better Man Than You"||The Sisters Love||1973||Gloria Jones, Janie Bradford||Gloria Jones|
|"Master Of My Mind"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurray||Clay McMurray|
|"It's Too Late To Change The Time"||Jackson 5||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Hal Davis|
|"Do It Again"||New Birth||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Harvey Fuqua|
|"The Assembly Line"||The Commodores||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"The Zoo (The Human Zoo)"||The Commodores||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"My Mistake (Was To Love You)"||Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye||1974||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Hal Davis|
|"Let's Go Back To Day One"||Mahogany Soundtrack||1975||Gloria Jones, Patrice Holloway||Gil Askey|
|"No One Could Love You More"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Johnny Bristol|
|"All We Need Is A Miracle"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Bobby Taylor|
|"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Bobby Taylor|
|"I Hate Myself For Loving You"||Gladys Knight & The Pips||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Bobby Taylor|
|"It's Bad For Me To See You"||Yvonne Fair||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"I Ain't That Easy To Lose"||Bettye Swann||1975||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Mickey Buckins|
|"Love Is Lovelier"||Walter Jackson||1976||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Carl Davis|
|"I've Got It Bad Feelin' Good"||Walter Jackson||1976||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer||Carl Davis|
|"If I Ever Lose This Heaven"||G.C. Cameron||1976||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet"||Gonzales||1976||Gloria Jones||Gloria Jones, Richard Jones|
|"Rockin' On My Porch"||Jackson Sisters||1976||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
|"Sweet Beginnings"||Marlena Shaw||1977||Gloria Jones, John Bettis|
|"Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)"||Gonzales||1977||Gloria Jones||Gloria Jones|
|"Just Let It Lay"||Gonzales||1977||Gloria Jones||Gloria Jones|
|"Share My Love"||Rare Earth||1977||Gloria Jones, Janie Bradford|
|"Tin Can People"||Rare Earth||1977||Gloria Jones, Beverly Gardner|
|"You"||Billy Preston||1979||Gloria Jones, Richard Jones||Billy Preston|
|"One Day I'll Marry You"||Jackson 5||1979||Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer|
- Brown, Lynne (1976). "Gloria Jones Biography", EMI Records Press Office, 1.
- "1977: T-Rex singer killed in car smash". BBC. September 16, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2011.