5 Things You May Not Have Known About John Paul Jones

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
5 Things You May Not Have Known About John Paul Jones

Oh, sure, you know John Paul Jones was the bassist for Led Zeppelin, because, c’mon, who comes to Rhino.com and doesn’t know that? But here are five things that you may not have known…and if you did, well, good for you, because we didn’t know most of them until we started putting together this piece!

1. He produced, composed, recorded, and played all of the instruments on an album for Madeline Bell.

The album in question was Bell’s 1973 LP COMIN’ ATCHA, and the material definitely showed a side of Jones’s musical skills that listeners rarely heard him exercise on Led Zeppelin albums. While the album wasn’t a massive commercial success for Bell, who’d previously found fame as a member of the group Blue Mink, it was well-received by critics and is definitely worth seeking out.

2. He’s one of the cast members of Paul McCartney’s lone film as a leading man.

It’s fair to say that far more people know Give My Regards to Broad Street for its soundtrack’s hit single, “No More Lonely Nights,” than anything else, and that’s probably best, as it’s in no way what you’d call a great film. That said, it does feature a lot of very talented musicians, including Jones, Ringo Starr, Tracey Ullman, Dave Edmunds, and Chris Spedding, but most of them don’t have to do much more than play their instruments, which – let’s face it – is as it should be.

3. He composed the score for director Michael Winner’s 1984 film Scream for Help.

Funny thing, though: the soundtrack was supposed to have been done by Jones’ old mate Jimmy Page. When Page found himself unable to fulfill his obligations because of a packed schedule, he suggested to Winner that Jones do it, since he knew that Jones had just finished upgrading his home studio. Jones agreed, but he ultimately managed to secure Page’s services on a couple of the soundtrack’s songs, including “Spaghetti Junction,” which was released as a promotional 12” single. (We can’t help but wonder if it scored any dance club play.) It’s also notable that the soundtrack featured guest vocals from the aforementioned Ms. Bell as well as Jon Anderson of Yes.

4. He produced several songs for Ben E. King in the 1980s.

After the film Stand by Me provided King with an unexpected opportunity for career revival, he took full advantage of the opportunity and got back into the studio, sticking with established material and re-recording an album’s worth of songs by The Drifters, including some on which he hadn’t originally sung lead. While it didn’t send King back to the top of the charts, it did prove an opportunity for Jones to produce one of his R&B idols, so we’re calling it a win.

5. He teamed up with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) to form the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures.

This isn’t exactly breaking news to fans of Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters fans, but it’s very likely something that many old-school Led Zeppelin fans are literally just learning about as they’re reading this piece. The band’s self-titled debut received rave reviews from critics and scored substantial alt-rock airplay from the singles “New Fang” and “Mind Eraser, No Chaser,” proving definitively that Jones was alive and well and rocking just as hard as ever. Thankfully, he remains this way even now.

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