December 28, 1939 |
San Francisco, California
|Years active||1960s – present|
|Labels||Tower, Polydor, Columbia|
Jake Holmes (born December 28, 1939 in San Francisco, California) is an American singer-songwriter and jingle writer who began a recording career in the 1960s. Holmes, who has a particular talent for writing clever, perceptive lyrics, is perhaps best known as the original author of the song "Dazed and Confused", later popularized by Led Zeppelin, and for composing the music to US Army recruitment jingle "Be All That You Can Be" for the words created by Earl Carter in the 1980s. The jingle and subsequent advertising campaign was used extensively by the US government throughout the 1980s. Holmes also co-wrote the famous "Be a Pepper" for soft drink multinational corporation Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Holmes' first musical foray was with his wife Katherine in the folk pop parody duo, Allen & Grier. Following military service, he resumed his music career. Among the highlights: Holmes put lyrics to Bob Gaudio's music on The Four Seasons' 1969 Genuine Imitation Life Gazette album, after which the pair went on to compose Frank Sinatra's 1970 Watertown album. Coming during a relative low point in Sinatra's career, Watertown was his least successful album, but the song "I Would Be in Love (Anyway)" reached No. 4 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The song "What's Now is Now" reached No. 31 on that chart and was later included in Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits Volume 2. Sinatra's recording of the Gaudio-Holmes composition "Lady Day" was left off the Watertown album, but was released as a single, and Don Costa later rearranged "Lady Day" for inclusion in Sinatra's Sinatra & Company album. In 1985 Nina Simone recorded a cover version of "For a While," from the Watertown album, for her Nina's Back album. That same year Simone recorded a live version of "For a While" for her Live And Kickin' album.
On his own, Holmes recorded during the 1960s two well-regarded albums for EMI's Tower Records label: A Letter to Katherine December and The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes, which contained the aforementioned "Dazed and Confused" and "Genuine Imitation Life." The Four Seasons' Bob Gaudio heard Holmes sing "Genuine Imitation Life" at The Bitter End in New York's City's Greenwich Village, which led to their collaborations on the The Four Seasons and Sinatra albums.
Between those projects, Holmes, who had landed a recording contract with Polydor, went to Nashville to record an album called Jake Holmes. That was followed by the most successful solo album of his career, So Close, So Very Far to Go. Released by Polydor in 1970, it rreached No. 135 on the Billboard album chart, and the single "So Close" rose to No. 49 on Billboards Hot 100. In 1970 Lena Horne sang Holmes' "It's Always Somewhere Else" on a TV special made with Harry Belafonte, and released on the album Harry & Lena. Belafonte commenced recording Holmes' songs on The Warm Touch (1971), followed by Play Me (the song "So Close", 1973), and Loving You Is Where I Belong (1981), culminating in a whole album, 1988's Paradise in Gazankulu. These were followed by the live recordings Belafonte '89 and An Evening with Harry Belafonte and Friends (1997). In 1977, "So Close" became the title song of an album by Helen Schneider, a popular New York night club singer.
Holmes's modest success with Polydor led to a contract with Columbia Records and the album How Much Time. It was as accomplished as all his work, but yielded no hits in a pop era that was about to be swamped by disco music.
Later in the 1970s, with his music career stalling, Holmes moved into writing advertising jingles for HEA Productions, which provided music for advertising agencies. His first jingle for HEA was for an anti-drug campaign, "What Do You Do When the Music Stops". Besides the US Army slogan and Dr. Pepper jingle, he is also the composer of the "Aren't You Hungry for Burger King Now?" campaign (1981), "Come see the softer side of Sears", and many other commercials, earning him the nickname "Jingle Jake". His voice can also be heard on commercials for Philip Morris, General Motors, Union Carbide, Gillette, DeBeers, Winn-Dixie, and British Petroleum. In the 1990s, Holmes set up in partnership a jingle and [music] production company called 3 Tree Productions.
Even as his jingle career flourished, Holmes never gave up songwriting. He co-wrote every song on Harry Belafonte's 1988 album Paradise in Gazankulu. And as the new century dawned, Holmes released a new solo album called Dangerous Times and jumped into the political fray with such downloadable anti-Bush songs as "Mission Accomplished" and "I Hear Texas."
- "The Above Ground Sound" of Jake Holmes (Tower, 1967)
- A Letter to Katherine December (Tower, 1968)
- Jake Holmes (Polydor, 1969)
- So Close, So Very Far to Go (Polydor, 1970)
- How Much Time (Columbia, 1971)
- Mission Accomplished - The Return of the Protest Song (three song ep; about George W. Bush)
- Dangerous Times (2000)
- "Building a better way .... to see the U.S.A." for Chevrolet (General Motors) (1972)
- "Be a Pepper" for Dr Pepper (with Randy Newman, 1977)
- "Be all that you can be" for the U.S. Army (1979)
- "We fly the world" for Pan American World Airways (DATE)
- "Raise your hand if you're Sure" for Sure deodorant (197X)
- "Aren't You Hungry for Burger King Now?" for Burger King (1981)
- "America's Getting Into Training" for Amtrak corporation (1981)
- "Come to Metropolitan and simplify your life" for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1981)
- "Great Moments for You on CBS" for CBS (1982)
- "Ah ha, we're sitting pretty, altogether in Schaeffer City" for Schaeffer Beer (198X)
- "NBC, Let's All Be There!" for NBC (1985)
- "Best a Man Can Get" for The Gillette Company (1988)
- "Come see the softer side of Sears, Roebuck and Company" for Sears (19XX)
- "With Charmin Ultra, Less Is More" (Cha-cha-cha!!!) for Charmin (200X)
Dazed and Confused
Holmes is also known for writing "Dazed and Confused," which was later adapted and popularized by Jimmy Page of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. The song appeared on Holmes' debut, "The Above Ground Sound" of Jake Holmes. Led Zeppelin does not credit Holmes with authorship of their song. A Yardbirds live recording from French TV series "Bouton Rouge" (recorded on 9 March 1968) was released on Cumular Limit in 2000, credited as "Dazed and Confused" by Jake Holmes arr. Yardbirds. Another live performance (recorded 30 March 1968, New York City) is included on the album Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page under the alternate title "I'm Confused". Notably, it is the only track that has no songwriter credits on the release.
It is still not widely recognized that Holmes was the author of the classic song. Page, while on tour with the Yardbirds in 1967, saw Holmes perform the song in Greenwich Village. Within months, he had adapted the song for that group, and later, for Led Zeppelin. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Page claimed sole songwriting credit for the song when it appeared on Led Zeppelin's debut album. Holmes later sent Page a letter about the songwriting credits but received no reply.
November 2012's release of Celebration Day (The Led Zeppelin Reunion Show at the O2) credits "Dazed and Confused" as written by Jimmy Page inspired by Jake Holmes
- "Earl Carter Awards". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "All We Could Be: How an Advertising Campaign Helped Remake the Army". Armyhistory.org. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- ""Be a Pepper" jingle". Classicthemes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- ""Burger King" jingle". Classicthemes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- "Jingle Jake". Jiffynotes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- http://www.personal.psu.edu/sxh36/dangerous.htm Dangerous Times review
- "Amtrak jingle". Classicthemes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- Popik, Barry (2005-05-09). "Met Life Insurance campaign". Barrypopik.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- Cumular Limit CD booklet, Burning Airlines 2000
- Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page (Epic E 30615) liner notes
- Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page at Discogs Release missing songwriter credits for "I'm Confused"
- Led Zeppelin sued by folk singer for alleged plagiarism. New York Post. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Jake Holmes interview Jingle Land: Be All that You Can Be
- Jake Holmes on Myspace
- Professional page at 3Tree
- Watertownology -- a site to study the Watertown album
- Jake Holmes info and place to order his albums
- Jake Holmes discography at Discogs