Jean Carn

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Jean Carn
Carn in 1997
Carn in 1997
Background information
Birth nameSarah Jean Perkins
Also known asJean Carne
Born (1947-03-15) March 15, 1947 (age 73)[1][2]
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Years active1969–present

Jean Carn, also spelled Jean Carne (born Sarah Jean Perkins; March 15, 1947) is an American jazz and pop singer. In mid career, she added a final e to her name. Carn is a vocalist credited with a five octave vocal range.[3][4] She began her recording career with her then-husband, pianist Doug Carn, for Black Jazz Records. Carn has worked with some of the most prolific soul artists, producers and songwriters over the years, including Dizzy Gillespie, Norman Connors, The Temptations, Glenn Jones, Phyllis Hyman, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.


Carn was born Sarah Jean Perkins in Columbus, Georgia. She was encouraged by her parents to sing. At the age of four, she became a member of her church choir. She went on to learn to play the piano, the clarinet, and the bassoon, mastering all three. Carn attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, and learned to speak Russian fluently. She received a scholarship after graduating in 1965, to attend Morris Brown College where she performed every genre from musical theater to grand opera.[citation needed]

Carn planned on furthering her studies at Juilliard School of Music in New York City when she met and married jazz pianist Doug Carn (the couple later divorced) and became a featured vocalist in his jazz fusion band. The couple based themselves in Los Angeles, California, where Carn did four early albums with her husband, Infant Eyes, Spirit of the New Land, Revelation and :Adam's Apple"on Black Jazz/Ovation.[5]

In 1976, Carn was signed to Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records; her debut album in 1977 Jean Carn (PIR 34394) was a classy affair that merged the best of '70s soul and jazz with solid songwriting and tight instrumental support (MFSB, Instant Funk). The debut single "Free Love" went to number 23 R&B. Several of the album's tracks received considerable radio airplay. In June 1978, her second album for the label, Happy to Be With You (PIR 34986), was released. It included the hit single "Don't Let It Go to Your Head".

Carn's third Philadelphia International album When I Find You Love (PIR JZ 36196) was more of a return conceptually (musically and sonically) to that of Jean Carn. Produced by Dexter Wansel, Gamble and Huff, and Jerry Butler, the album rates as one of Carn's best efforts. The smooth and halting "My Love Don't Come Easy" peaked at number 43 R&B in the summer of 1979. At this time Ms. Carn was switched from the Philadelphia International label to the subsidiary TSOP imprint for her final outing. Released in August 1981, Sweet and Wonderful a duet featuring Glenn Jones, containing a remake of the Spinners' "Love Don't Love Nobody," on which Carn sang all the backgrounds, which went to number 35 R&B.

With artistic and critical successes in tow, Carn moved to Motown Records in 1982, making her label debut with the album Trust Me. The single "If You Don't Know Me By Now," a cover of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes hit with backing vocals by The Temptations, went to number 49 R&B. A scheduled follow-up LP was canned and is reportedly in the vaults, following Ms. Carn's leaving the Motown roster. Her career continued and thanks to what she describes as her "devoted following", Carn continued to perform worldwide.

By 1986, Carn signed to Omni Records. Closer Than Close, produced by saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. was released in July of that year and the title track went to number one R&B. Her 1988 album You're a Part of Me included a hit cover of Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way," produced by Nick Martinelli. Carn later signed with Place One Entertainment, which reunited her with former Omni Records president Steve Bernstein, with her Love Lessons album.

In 2002, Carn toured the United Kingdom accompanied by her musical director, Nathan Heathman, with appearances at the London Jazz Cafe in March of that year. Numerous visits to Europe followed. 2003 saw the release of Collaborations, an album for the Expansion Records label. In 2008, she was among the Philly artists featured in the two-part PBS television special "Love Train, The Sound of Philadelphia" which celebrated the musical legacy of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and Philadelphia International Records.

In 2014, Carn was honored with a lifetime Achievement Award present by The National R&B Music Society in Philadelphia, PA.[6]

In 2020, Carn was one of the many performers aboard The Soul Train Cruise.[7]

Pop culture and Samples[edit]

The movie Precious, released in November 2009, produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, starring Mariah Carey and comedian Mo'Nique, features Jean Carn's disco single "Was That All It Was." In 2011, Jet Life, rapper Currensy's hip-hop group, sampled her song "Completeness" in their song "The Business" and is from their collaboration album Jet World Order.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label

US Jazz
1977 Jean Carn 122 46 26 Philadelphia International
1978 Happy to Be with You 55
1979 When I Find You Love 42 28
1981 Sweet and Wonderful 176 38 TSOP
1982 Trust Me 210 37 Motown
1986 Closer Than Close 162 9 Omni
1988 You're a Part of Me 40 Atlantic
1995 Carn Sings McCoy Vammi
1996 Love Lessons Moja
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.



Year Single Peak chart positions Album


1971 "Peace" Infant Eyes
1975 "Valentine Love" (with Norman Connors & Michael Henderson) 97 10 Saturday Night Special
1977 "Free Love" 23 18 Jean Carn
"You Got a Problem"
"If You Wanna Go Back"
1978 "Happy to Be with You" Happy to Be with You
"Don't Let It Go to Your Head" 54
"There's a Shortage of Good Men"
1979 "My Love Don't Come Easy" 43 When I Find You Love
"Start the Fire"
"Was That All It Was" 22
"What’s On Your Mind"
"Give It Up"
1980 "I'm Back for More" (with Al Johnson) 26 Back for More
1981 "Sweet and Wonderful" Sweet and Wonderful
"Love Don't Love Nobody (Part 1)" 35
1982 "If You Don't Know Me by Now" 49 Trust Me
"Let's Stay Together" (with Bobby Militello) 74 Blow
1986 "Closer Than Close" 1 Closer Than Close
"Flame of Love" 21
1987 "Everything Must Change" 79
1988 "Heartache" You're a Part of Me
"Ain't No Way" 23
"Let Me Be the One" 95
1996 "Don't Stop Doin' Whatcha Doin'" 109 Love Lessons
1998 "Make Love"
2002 "Somebody Bigger" (with Jeff Majors) 111 Gotta Have Gospel
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  • Jean Carn & Friends: The Sound of Philadelphia: Live in Europe (Expansion, 2005)
  • Ladies Night Out—Live (Steppin Muzak, 2007, also available as a CD)


  1. ^ The HistoryMakers – Jean Carne
  2. ^ Discogs – Jean Carn
  3. ^ "Jean Carn: Collaborations". Soul Town Records.
  4. ^ "Musicdiscoveries". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  5. ^ "Doug Carn: Black Jazz - JazzWax". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  6. ^ "Past Honorees". rnbmusicsociety1. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  7. ^ "2020 Soul Train Cruise | The Hippest Trip At Sea | Soul at Sea". Soul at Sea. December 12, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "US Charts > Jean Carn". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "UK Charts > Jean Carn". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 3, 2015.

External links[edit]