Early life[ edit ] Jones was born the third of four children to Bettye and Richard Jones, on the north side of Chicago, Illinois , on November 8, A singer, dancer and comedian, Peg Leg Jones' routine consisted of playing the ukulele, singing ballads, and telling stories.
Jones' father, one of four children, was a WWII veteran. A singer, songwriter, painter, and trumpet player, her father worked as a waiter. Her mother, Bettye, was raised in orphanages in Ohio with her three brothers until she was old enough to leave. Bettye and Richard met in a drugstore coffee shop. The family moved to Arizona in , and the landscape provided imagery "Last Chance Texaco", "Flying Cowboys" for her early music.
She grew up riding horses, studying dance, and practicing swimming with her AAU coach before and after school. When she was 10 years old the family moved to Olympia, Washington , where her father abandoned them. At 14 and 15, she ran away to her father's in Kansas City, MO. She moved to Huntington Beach, California , on her 18th birthday. At the age of 21, Jones began to play in clubs in Venice. Jones played music in showcases, worked with cover bands in clubs, and sat in with Venice jazz bands.
She met Alfred Johnson, a piano player and songwriter. Jones and Waits were lovers at the outset of her career, creating a lifelong association with one another. Jones also met Chuck E. Weiss , who would figure prominently in her early career. In early , through the efforts of Ulz, she came to the attention of Dr.
John and Little Feat 's Lowell George. Ulz introduced Lowell George to Jones' composition "Easy Money" by singing it to him over the telephone. A four-song demo of material was circulated around the L. The recordings came to the attention of Lenny Waronker , producer and executive at Warner Bros. Records , and Tommy LiPuma. Jones was courted by the major labels, and after a bidding war, Jones chose Waronker because of his work with Randy Newman, and because, she said, she had a vision of standing in his office the moment she saw his name on the back of Newman's Sail Away album.
Waronker signed Jones to Warner Bros. Work commenced on her debut album, co-produced by Waronker and Russ Titelman. The album, which included guest appearances by Dr. Her appearance — as an unknown one month after her debut record had been released — on Saturday Night Live on April 7, , sparked an overnight sensation.
She performed " Chuck E. Touring after the album's release, she played Carnegie Hall on July 22, Members of her group included native New York guitarist Buzz Feiten , who was featured on the album and would appear in her recorded works for over a decade.
Following a successful world tour, Jones appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Photographed by Annie Leibovitz , the cover image showed Jones posing in a crouched stance, wearing a black bra and a white beret. Before the ceremony, Jones told her mentor Bob Regher that she would not attend. Changing her mind at the last minute, the two raced to the event just in time for her to walk up and collect her 'Best New Artist' trophy, in her leather jacket and boa, signature beret and gloves.
In her acceptance speech, she thanked her lawyers and her accountant, which earned laughter and applause from the audience. Coppola responded that it would be perfect for the film, since the two main characters in the film are separated, and he asked her to reconsider. Jones still refused the job, a decision she later admitted to regretting. He remained a personal and musical partner for decades. The songs were written between September and June — when the last lyrics to "Traces of the Western Slope" and the last bass on "A Lucky Guy" were put down.
The recording sessions finally yielded Pirates in July In America, "Woody and Dutch The finger snaps and jive talk beat were imitated in advertisements for McDonald's , Dr. Pepper , and others. Another lengthy and successful tour into followed, before Jones moved back to California, settling in San Francisco. A partial tour memento, the EP Girl at Her Volcano, was issued originally as a 10" record in , featuring a mix of live and studio cover versions of jazz and pop standards , as well as one Jones original, "Hey, Bub", which was recorded for Pirates.
Jones then relocated to Paris. The Magazine was produced by Jones and James Newton Howard and included a three-song suite, subtitled "Rorschachs," which featured multi-tracked vocals and synth patterns. She began to pursue jazz standards, recording "The Moon Is Made of Gold", which was written by her father. Her work with Wasserman earned her another Grammy nomination.
Jones took a four-year break from her recording schedule, largely attributed to the deaths of her mentor Bob Regher and her father, Richard Loris Jones, that same year. In September work began on her fourth solo album, Flying Cowboys. Jones included songs dating from the mids, as well as some writing collaborations with her husband Pascal Nabet Meyer and Sal Bernardi. The album made the US Top 40, reaching No. Jones ended the decade on a high note with her duet with Dr.
However, Jones' record company objected to the unauthorized use of her voice and pursued the issue in the court system. In she toured extensively with Rob Wasserman, with whom she had collaborated in the mids. The album was slightly more successful than its predecessor, reaching No.
A number of television and movies had licensed her work in these years, including House M. Jones' first solo shows in paved the way for her acoustic album Naked Songs , released in September through a one-off deal with Reprise Records.
The album, which reached No. Emphasizing her experimentation and change, Jones embraced electronic music for Ghostyhead , released on Reprise Records in June The album, a collaboration with Rick Boston both are credited with production and with twenty-one instruments in common , found Jones employing beats, loops, and electronic rhythms, and also showcased Jones' connection with the trip hop movement of the mid-to-late s.
Despite critical acclaim, it did not meet with commercial success, peaking at No. Jones' second album of cover versions, It's Like This , was released on the independent record label Artemis Records in September The album made it onto three Billboard charts — No. In November Artemis issued a release of archival material titled Live at Red Rocks, which features material recorded during the Flying Cowboys era tour of —, including a duet with Lyle Lovett. After Ghostyhead, Jones largely retired from public view and admitted that she had battled writer's block.
The album peaked at No. She invited punk bass icon Mike Watt the Minutemen, Iggy Pop to perform on "It Takes You There", while "Ugly Man" was a direct aim at the George Bush 'regime' evoking, with an anthem-like Hugh Masekela arrangement, what she termed "the Black Panther horns", and calling for "revolution, everywhere that you're not looking, revolution.
An Anthology , released through reissue specialists Rhino in June Also in , Jones was invited to take part in her boyfriend and collaborator Lee Cantelon's music version of his book The Words, a book of the words of Christ, set into simple chapters and themes.
Cantelon's idea was to have various artists recite the text over primal rock music, but Jones elected to try something that had never been done, to improvise her own impression of the texts, melody and lyric, in stream of consciousness sessions, rather than read Jesus' words. The sessions were recorded at an artist's loft on Exposition Boulevard in Culver City. When Cantelon could no longer finish the project, Jones picked it up as her own record and hired Rob Schnaf to finish the production at Sunset Sound in , and the result was The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard , released on the independent New West Records in February The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard debuted at No.
For her next project, Jones opted to finish half-written songs dating back as far as "Wild Girl" as well as include new ones the penned "The Gospel of Carlos, Norman and Smith", "Bonfires". Working closely with long-time collaborator David Kalish, with whom Jones first worked on 's Pirates, Jones released Balm in Gilead on the Fantasy label in November The Other Side of Desire, on the making of the album, was also released.
She has produced records including Leo Kottke 's Peculiaroso , and provided a voiceover for Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night , in which she played the Blue Fairy known as the Good Fairy or Fairy Godmother in the film. Jones also enjoys gardening.