As great voices go, few match that of Glenn Jones. Why Glenn is not listed among the leading soul singers of all time remains one of music's mysteries. This is a man who has produced album after album of gems, has filled dance-floors with the most incredible soul tracks, and has worked with some of the biggest names in the business.
What makes Glenn Jones World class? First, the incredible range of his voice. Take a listen to the sound clips here and judge for yourself. "Bring Back Your Love", taken from his first full solo album "Finesse" is likely to bring a shiver down the spine any discerning music lover. "I Am Somebody" is surely THE inspirational tune of the era, featuring clips of Martin Luther King's celebrated speech. And ballads such as "Show Me", "You Are My Everlasting Love", "Stay" and "We've Only Just Begun" represent contemporary love songs at their finest. In short, Glenn is a soul superstar.
Glenn has surrounded himself with the best talent throughout his career. His early roots in gospel saw him record at Ray Charles' RPM studios. Norman Connors, who produced a series of legendary recordings during the 70s and 80s packed with the finest available singers (Jean Carne, Phyllis Hyman, Michael Henderson), spotted Glenn's talents. Glenn was lead vocalist on two sensational tracks with Connors, the mellow "Melancholy Fire" and the uplifting "Sing A Love Song".
The amazing "I Am Somebody" led the five track EP "Everyone Loves a Winner", that kick-started Glenn's solo career in 1983. This track now appears extensively on compilations and is a regular on soul shows worldwide, so much so that you might conclude that Glenn was a one-hit-wonder. But every track on this release was a winner. All these tracks have since been released on CD, and if you love "I Am Somebody" you will be equally impressed by the other four gems. In particular, "Keep On Doin'" features his wife, the fantastic Genobia Jeter, a brilliant soul artiste in her own right.
The only thing actually wrong with the initial EP was that it did not contain enough tracks. This was quickly rectified and in 1984 the album "Finesse" was released, which remains a firm Radiocafe favourite. Once again, every track is first class, and we have rarely heard vocals as good as this. Not surprisingly, it enjoyed huge commercial success in the States, featuring in soul charts for much of '84, while Glenn gained a huge following in the UK. The "soul heads" among you might be interested in a reminder of who appeared on this album: Wayne Braithwaite, LaLa, Meli'Sa Morgan, Freddie Jackson, Barry Eastmond & Kashif, among others. The sound these talented individuals produced was sensational, and represented this era at its very best.
During the years that followed,
Glenn continued to produce some fantastic material, each of his superbly crafted albums producing definitive tracks: "We've Only Just Begun", "Stay" and "Giving Myself To You" are all notable successes from the late eighties through early nineties. The album "Here I Go Again" from 1992, for which he wrote much of the material, features an incredible title track and one of our favourite smooth classics, "I've Been Searching (Nobody Like You)" (Glenn's gospel roots shining through on this track, a veritable singing masterclass); "It's Time" from '98 was another consistent release, as can be expected from Jones. But it also has the additional bonus of five live, on-air, unplugged Glenn Jones performances from Kiss-FM (New York) show - presented by none other than soul royalty Ashford & Simpson!
His latest releases have been on smaller, independent labels, so why did Glenn part company with the larger labels? As soul music took a move up-tempo during the 90s, Glenn side-stepped the commercial trappings of a changing market and remained pure to his music and his fans. Invariably, as others went on to huge financial success, such as the likes of Luther Vandross and Bobby Brown, Glenn was able to continue to produce the sort of music that his fans adore.
He continues to do so to this day, the latest addition to a superlative résumé in the shape of "Forever", sub-titled "A Collection Of Timeless R&B Classics". This release features a selection of well-known soul favourites (such as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "Where Is The Love") and a re-working of Glenn's very own "Here I Go Again".
Glenn continues to tour, and we very much look forward to his next visit to the UK. He may not have sold as many as others, but this matters little to those he has touched with his music. If you have somehow overlooked this great artists, we strongly recommend you take a delve into the music of a singer whose talent and accomplishments are huge.
Glenn has so many fans in the UK, and many of us - Radiocafe included - consider his music to be as good as it gets.
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Glenn was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1961.
Glenn's career began as a gospel singer - while still at school in the late sixties, he became a member of the Bivens Specials before he had even reached the age of 10! At the age of 14 he formed the Modulations with Walter Givens and Ronnie Jones, which went on to great success in Jacksonville and throughout Florida. After being spotted by Reverend James Cleveland, he secured a recording contract with the Savoy Record label where he cut two albums, both recorded at Ray Charles' RPM studios.
He toured American with the Modulations, which led him to Washington where he would meet the gorgeous Genobia Jeter. He recorded a string of duets with Genobia, whom he later married.
In 1980 he was spotted by Norman Connors, who recognised Jones' incredible talent. This presented a dilemma, as Jones was still with the Modulations at the time. It meant disbanding the group he loved to go it alone.
Jones appeared on "Take It To the Limit", with the lead vocal on "Melancholy Fire". He appeared on a second Connors LP, the incredible "Mr C", with the inspiring "Sing A Love Song", and also toured with Norman Connors.
The move paid off. In 1983, he signed with RCA and the start of an amazing solo career began with five track EP entitled "Everybody Loves A Winner". From this came the soul anthem, "I Am Somebody", which was a massive hit in the R&B charts and remains an all-time classic. He also released a duet with Genobia, "Keep on Doin'". "Love Intensity" was another dance-floor stormer.
He followed this success with the incredible Finesse album in 1984, from which tracks such as "Show Me" and "Meet Me Half Way There" established Jones as one of the voices of the generation. The single "Show Me," reached #3 on the R&B charts, which was followed up by the haunting ballad, "Bring Back Your Love", which reached #18 on the R&B charts.
Glen also performed on stage, starring for eight months with Jennifer Holiday in the musical "Sing, Mahalia, Sing", a tribute to gospel great Mahalia Jackson. He also produced a duet with Dionne Warwick, "Finders of Lost Lives", a theme for the American TV series of the same name. A further album for for RCA, Take It From Me, was released in 1986 and the title track for the album was featured in the movie Youngblood.
He moved to Jive in 1987, and enjoyed further success. From the self-entitled album, the track "We've Only Just Begun" reached #2 on the R&B charts. He had another hit two years later with "Stay".
He moved labels again In 1992, this time to Atlantic Records where he released the album, "Here I Go Again", the title track for which was his only single to reach #1 on the R&B charts. He had a top 10 follow-up, "I've Been Searching (Nobody Like You)." His album "Here I Am was" released in 1994 and had a minor hit with "Round and Round" which reached #24 on the R&B charts.
Glenn Jones had a quiet spell for releases during the mid-90s, but in 1998 he released the album It's Time on independent label SAR records. In recent years, he has released "Feels Good" (also on independent label, Peak Records) in 2002, and "Forever: Timeless R&B Classics" in 2006 (another independent, Shanachie), which includes covers of classic soul tracks, including one of his own.
Glenn Jones continues to perform live to sell-out audiences worldwide.
James Cleveland presents the Modulations - with the Modulations (Savoy 1975)
Feel The Fire - with the Modulations (Savoy 1976)
Take It To The Limit - with Norman Connors (Arista 1980)
Mr C- with Norman Connors (Arista 1981)
Everybody Loves A Winner (RCA 1983)
Take It from Me (RCA 1986)
All for You (Jive/Novus 1990)
Here I Go Again (Atlantic 1992)
Here I Am (Atlantic 1994)
Feels Good (Peak Records 2002)
Forever: Timeless R&B Classics (Shanachie Records 2006)