Gloria Jones

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Gloria Jones
Jones in 2014
Jones in 2014
Background information
Birth nameGloria Richetta Jones
Also known asLaVerne Ware
Born (1945-10-19) October 19, 1945 (age 76)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1960–2019
Associated acts

Gloria Richetta Jones (born October 19, 1945) is an American singer and songwriter who first found success in the United Kingdom, being recognized there as "The Queen of Northern Soul".[1] She recorded the 1965 hit song "Tainted Love" and has worked in multiple genres as a Motown songwriter and recording artist, backing vocalist, and as a performer in musicals such as Hair. In the 1970s, she was a keyboardist and vocalist in Marc Bolan's glam rock band T. Rex. She and Bolan were also in a committed romantic relationship and had a son together.


Early life and career[edit]

Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 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.[2]

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". So strong was Jones's following in Northern England that she was proclaimed "The Queen of Northern Soul".[1] 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.[1] 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 co-writes she used the name LaVerne Ware (not to be confused with another Motown songwriter/producer, Leon Ware).[3]

Songs that Jones worked on during this period include The Supremes' "Have I Lost You" (writer), Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross's "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" (writer), Junior Walker's "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (writer/producer) and the Four Tops' "Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)" (writer). In 1970 she provided backing vocals on Ry Cooder's eponymous first album. 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. Jones left Motown at the end of 1973, following the release of her album Share My Love.

After Motown[edit]

Jones performing with T. Rex in March 1976 in Glasgow, Scotland

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 Regehr to sing backing vocals behind T. Rex at Winterland in San Francisco.

Soon after joining T. Rex, Jones and Bolan became romantically involved. They had a son, Rolan Bolan (b. September 26, 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, which featured several songs written by Bolan, and he also was the producer for the album.

In 1977, Jones worked with the group Gonzalez, producing several of their singles, and also penning the disco hit, "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" for the group. She toured the UK with Gonzalez, first on the Bob Marley tour, and then with Osibisa.

She was the driver of the car, a Mini 1275 GT, that crashed near Barnes Common, striking a tree and killing Bolan at 4 a.m. September 16, 1977, on the way back to Bolan's Richmond property. They were returning from an evening at a restaurant in Mayfair where they had both been drinking wine.[4] Jones was found by her brother Richard, her foot trapped beneath the clutch by the engine, while Bolan was found still in the passenger seat which had been dislodged and landed in the rear of the vehicle.[5] Jones broke her jaw in the accident.[5][4] When she was well enough to leave the hospital, she was informed that Bolan's fans had looted from the house most of their possessions.[4] She was later scheduled to appear in court in London on charges of being unfit to drive and of driving a car in a dangerous condition. However, she left the UK with her son and returned to the US before the court date so the Coroner's Court recorded a verdict of accidental death.[4]

After Bolan[edit]

Jones with her son Rolan in 2014

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 she dedicated to the memory of Bolan: the back cover reads, "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.

In 2010, together with her son Rolan, she established the Marc Bolan School of Music & Film in Makeni, Sierra Leone.


Solo studio albums[edit]

With T. Rex[edit]

With The COGIC'S[edit]

  • 1966 – It's a Blessing
  • 1984 – The COGIC'S

US solo singles[edit]

Year A-side/B-side Catalog no.
1964 "My Bad Boy's Coming Home" / "Tainted Love" 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 (selection)[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Songwriting and production[edit]

Song Artist Date Writer(s) Producer
"Bad Seed" Chris Clark 1969 Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer Deke Richards
"Black Mail" David Ruffin 1969 Jones, Sawyer Henry Cosby
"Teenage Symphony" Jackson 5 1973 (issued 1986) Gloria Jones, Hal Davis, Marilyn McLeod Hal Davis
"I Ain't Goin' Nowhere" Junior Walker & The All Stars 1977 Jones, Sawyer Jones, Sawyer, Junior Walker
"If I Can't Love You Then I Can't Love Me" Eddie Kendricks 197- Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones
"Nothing Is Real" Eddie Kendricks 197- Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones
"Piece of Clay" Marvin Gaye 197- Gloria Jones Gloria Jones
"My Love Is Yours" The Sisters Love 1973 Gloria Jones, Josef Powell Gloria Jones, Willie Hutch
"You've Got My Mind" The Sisters Love 1972 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"When My Love Hand Comes Down" David & Jimmy Ruffin 1970 Jones, Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"Your Love Was Worth Waiting For" David & Jimmy Ruffin 1970 Jones, Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"Black Mail" Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers 1970 Jones, Sawyer Henry Cosby
"Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year" Jackson 5 1970 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis
"2-4-6-8" Jackson 5 1970 Jones, Sawyer The Corporation
"If I Were Your Woman" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1970 Jones, Sawyer, Clay McMurray Clay McMurray
"Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)" Four Tops 1970 Jones, Sawyer Frank Wilson
"Earthquake" Martha Reeves & The Vandellas 1970 Jones, Sawyer, Johnny Bristol Johnny Bristol
"Let's Go Back to Day One" Eddie Kendricks 1971 Gloria Jones, Patrice Holloway Frank Wilson
"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready" Rahsaan Roland Kirk 1971 Jones, Sawyer, Johnny Bristol Joel Dorn
"Have I Lost You" The Supremes 1971 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones
"I Ain't That Easy to Lose" The Supremes 1971 Jones, Sawyer Clay McMurray
"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy" Edwin Starr & The Fantastic Four 1972 Jones, Sawyer Terry Johnson
"I Don't Need No Reason" Junior Walker & The All Stars 1973 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis
"I Don't Need No Reason" The Miracles 1973 Jones, Sawyer Frank Wilson, Leonard Caston
"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready" Junior Walker & The All Stars 1973 Jones, Sawyer, Johnny Bristol Johnny Bristol
"I'm Learning to Trust My Man" The Sisters Love 1973 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis
"Where Do You Go (Baby)" Eddie Kendricks 1973 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"There's a Lesson to Be Learned" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1973 Jones, 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 Jones, Sawyer, Clay McMurray Clay McMurray
"It's Too Late To Change The Time" Jackson 5 1974 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis
"Do It Again" New Birth 1974 Jones, Sawyer Harvey Fuqua
"The Assembly Line" The Commodores 1974 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"The Zoo (The Human Zoo)" The Commodores 1974 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"My Mistake (Was to Love You)" Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye 1974 Jones, 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 Jones, Sawyer Johnny Bristol
"All We Need Is a Miracle" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975 Jones, Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975 Jones, Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"I Hate Myself for Loving You" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975 Jones, Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"It's Bad for Me to See You" Yvonne Fair 1975 Jones, Sawyer Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"I Ain't That Easy to Lose" Bettye Swann 1975 Jones, Sawyer Mickey Buckins
"Love Is Lovelier" Walter Jackson 1976 Jones, Sawyer Carl Davis
"I've Got It Bad Feelin' Good" Walter Jackson 1976 Jones, Sawyer Carl Davis
"If I Ever Lose This Heaven" G.C. Cameron 1976 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis, James Carmichael, Winston Monseque
"Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" Gonzalez 1976 Gloria Jones Gloria Jones, Richard Jones
"Rockin' on My Porch" The Jackson Sisters 1976 Jones, Sawyer Albert Hammond, Don Altfel
"Sweet Beginnings" Marlena Shaw 1977 Gloria Jones, John Bettis Bert DeCoteaux
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" Gonzalez 1977 Elliot Lurie Gloria Jones
"Just Let It Lay" Gonzalez 1977 Gloria Jones Gloria Jones
"Share My Love" Rare Earth 1977 Gloria Jones, Janie Bradford Cal Harris
"Tin Can People" Rare Earth 1977 Gloria Jones, Beverly Gardner Cal Harris
"You" Billy Preston 1979 Gloria Jones, Richard Jones Billy Preston
"One Day I'll Marry You" Jackson 5 1979 Jones, Sawyer Hal Davis


Year Film Role
2012 Jobriath A.D. Herself
2013 20 Feet from Stardom Herself

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Lynne (1976). "Gloria Jones Biography", EMI Records Press Office, 1.
  2. ^ Kit O'Toole (May 26, 2015). "DeepSoul: Gloria Jones - "Tainted Love"". Blinded by Sound. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Betts, Graham (2014). Motown Encyclopedia. AC Publishing. ISBN 9781311441546
  4. ^ a b c d "1977: T-Rex singer killed in car smash". BBC. September 16, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Marc Bolan - Rise and Fall of a Twentieth Century Superstar Mark Paytress, Omnibus Press 2005


External links[edit]