Joe Jones (12 August 1926, New Orleans, Louisiana – 27 November 2005, Los Angeles, California was an American R&B singer, songwriter and arranger. Jones is also generally credited with discovering The Dixie Cups.
Jones was born in New Orleans in 1926 and took to music when he was very young. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he trained at the Juilliard Conservatory and then went on to work at a university in New Orleans. Eventually he broke into the music scene as a bandleader for the likes of B. B. King, playing the piano and arranging music. Jones also toured behind Shirley & Lee before forming his own band despite limited vocal ability. After playing the French Quarter nightclub circuit for several years, he cut his single "Will Call" for Capitol in 1954.
After briefly resurfacing on the Herald label in 1957, the following year Jones signed with New York City-based Roulette to cut "You Talk Too Much," a song written by Fats Domino's brother-in-law Reggie Hall and summarily rejected by the Fat Man himself. Roulette shelved the disc, but Jones loved the song and re-recorded it in 1960 for the small New Orleans label Ric, complete with a new arrangement courtesy of Harold Battiste.
When "You Talk Too Much" topped New York radio, Roulette cried foul, filing an injunction that forced Ric to withdraw its version. The song soon reappeared on Roulette, crossing over to reach the pop Top Five by September. While Ric issued an answer record, Martha Nelson's "I Don't Talk Too Much," Jones' own follow-up, "One Big Mouth," flopped, and outside of 1961's minor hit "California Sun," he never charted again. Moreover, he earned next to nothing from the success of "You Talk Too Much" and in disgust relocated to New York to pursue a career in production, shepherding the fledgling careers of the Dixie Cups (of "Chapel of Love" fame) and R&B singer Alvin Robinson.
Jones migrated to Los Angeles in 1973 and founded his own publishing firm. He also became an advocate for the rights of fellow R&B acts, helping African-American performers regain the rights and royalties they'd signed away during the infancy of the modern recording industry. Jones died in L.A. on November 27, 2005, following quadruple bypass surgery. He was 79.
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