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Ada Jones

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Ada Jones
Portrait of Jones, 1894
Portrait of Jones, 1894
Background information
Birth nameAda Jane Jones
Born(1873-06-01)June 1, 1873
Lancashire, UK
DiedMay 22, 1922(1922-05-22) (aged 48)
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, US
GenresVocal, ragtime, vaudeville, comedy
Years active1889–1922
LabelsNorth American Phonograph Company, Edison
Formerly ofAmerican Quartet

Ada Jane Jones (June 1, 1873 – May 2, 1922) was an English-American popular singer who made her first recordings in 1893 on Edison cylinders. She is among the earliest female singers to be recorded.[1]


She was born in Lancashire, UK, but moved with her family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of six in 1879. She started performing on stage, including juvenile roles in the 1880s.[2]

She sang in a contralto, learning songs by ear, and lacked the ability to read music or play an instrument. Her repertoire included ballads, ragtime, vaudeville, and comedy in a variety of dialects. During 1893–1894, she recorded for Edison Records on wax cylinders, making her among the earliest female singers to be recorded.[1] She sang with Billy Murray, Billy Watkins, Cal Stewart, Len Spencer, the American Quartet, and with her 12-year-old daughter Sheilah. Touring was made difficult due to epilepsy.[3]

In 1893 or 1894 she recorded some musical performances for the North American Phonograph Company, including "Sweet Marie" and "The Volunteer Organist". But the demise of this company interrupted her recording career and it was not until 1905 that she returned to recording, after a few years doing performances at such locations as Huber's 14th Street Museum in New York City.[2]

Jones recorded "The Yama Yama Man" in 1909 for the Victor Light Opera Company.[4] The lyrics for verse two and three were changed from the original, verse two being more bawdy. It was the most popular song of her career, spending five weeks at number one.[5]

Jones died in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on May 22, 1922[3] of kidney failure.


Ada Jones discography


Ada Jones discography

  • "Sweet Marie" (c. 1893–94)
  • "The Volunteer Organist" (c. 1893–94)
  • "Please Come Play in My Yard" (1905)
  • "I'm a Woman of Importance"[6] (1906)
  • "Don't Get Married Any More, Ma" (1906, 1907; multiple recordings)
  • "Experience (from 'The Little Cherub')" (1906)
  • "Peaches and Cream", Ada Jones and Len Spencer (Lowitz cylinder 1906)[7]
  • "All She Gets from the Iceman Is Ice" (1907)
  • "If the Man in the Moon Were a Coon" (1907)
  • "I Just Can't Make My Eyes Behave" (1907)
  • "Now I Have to Call Him 'Father'" (1908)
  • "I've Got Rings On My Fingers" (1909)
  • "My Pony Boy" (1909)
  • "The Yama Yama Man" (1909)
  • "Whistle, and I'll Wait for You" (1909)
  • "Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon" (1910)
  • "Oh, You Candy Kid" (1910)
  • "The Girl With the Brogue" (1910)
  • "Whistle It" (1912) (with Peerless Quartet)
  • "Down in Gossip Row" (1912 Victor 17056-B)
  • "Row! Row! Row!" (1913)
  • "Beatrice Fairfax, Tell Me What to Do!" (1915)
Ada Jones sending morse code in 1918

With Billy Murray[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Songwriters Hall of Fame - Artists - Ada Jones". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2016-07-14. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Sutton, Allan. "A Prehistory of Ada Jones: 1889–1905". Mainspring Press. Archived from the original on 7 August 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Ada Jones | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ Ada Jones & Victor Light Opera Company - The Yama Yama Man 1909, Internet Archive
  5. ^ "The Yama Yama Man" Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Netlex News, July 5, 2006.
  6. ^ "Victor matrix B-2957. I'm a woman of importance / Ada Jones - Discography of American Historical Recordings". adp.library.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  7. ^ Frank Hoffmann, B Lee Cooper, Tim Gracyk -Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895-1925 - Page 188 1136592296 2012 -"She is called "Miss Ada Jones," though in Manhattan on August 9, 1904, she had married Hughie Flaherty. ... On various records the two imitated Bowery toughs (on the popular "Peaches and Cream," Spencer was a "newsy" named Jimmie, ..."

External links[edit]