Update 08/07/2017 and 09/21/2017: Feeling proud and honored to state that Jill Jones herself read this story and replied to it twice.
As stated in the articles Prince is victorious (once again) with Sign O’ The Times and Madhouse: Prince and jazz, 1987 was the pinnacle Prince year. Next to the release of the fantastic Madhouse albums and Sign O’ The Times the beautiful debut album by Jill Jones was also released.
Jill Jones came in touch with music from a very early age. Still young she moved from Ohio to California where she delved deeper into music. When Jill’s mother became Teena Marie’s manager (Teena was Jill’s niece), Teena moved into the Jones-household. Jill and Teena started writing songs together. Jill started to get more and more interested in music and learned the piano and to write songs on her own. In 1980 Teena Marie was the support act for Prince, who had just released Dirty Mind. Jill met Prince as she had just turned 18.
Prince encouraged Jill to sing and kept in touch. In 1982 she was asked to provide background vocals to Prince’s new album 1999 and to appear in videoclips to 1999, Little Red Corvette and Automatic . She also became part of the 1999 Tour, providing background-vocals during Vanity 6’s set and with Prince’s band.
After the tour she moved to Minneapolis and took part in several recording sessions. Her voice can be heard in multiple projects. In 1984 she played a small part in 1984’s hit-film Purple Rain. She portrayed a waitress at First Avenue.
In 1987 her debut album was released on Prince’s Paisley Park label. In the second half of 1988 Jill Jones went to England to record her planned second Paisley Park album. It was never finished. Several songs were recorded, including a video to the song Boom, Boom (Can’t U Feel The Beat Of My Heart), which was meant to be the first single. The album never made it past the planning-stage. In 1990 Jill Jones played a small part in the Prince film Graffiti Bridge (which was a flop).
The fantastic Prince song She’s Always In My Hair (B-side to the Raspberry Beret single) was written about her.
Jill Jones, the album
After years of planning, the solo debut of Jill Jones finally saw the light of day on May 26th 1987, called Jill Jones. It was released on the Paisley Park Records label. The album consisted of songs, which were formerly intended for other projects, songs written specifically for Jill Jones and a cover of the Prince song With You (off the album Prince from 1979), which was recorded without any input from Prince.
The songs on the album were recorded between May 1982 and October 1986. Most of them were originally recorded by Prince himself, with Jill Jones replacing Prince’s vocals later on. Mia Bocca and Baby, You’re A Trip stem from 1982. G-Spot was recorded in 1983, and was considered for use in the Purple Rain movie. All Day, All Night was recorded live, with The Revolution, on Prince´s birthday on June 7th 1984.
In May of 1985 Prince composed the song My Man on acoustic guitar. Prince wrote the song from a woman´s perspective (as he did with a lot of songs, especially for other artists) and joked with engineer Susan Rogers about the fact he sung the song too. It was a good zong and given to Jill Jones. The debut album became real now. In the same month they recorded several other songs for the album, among which Come Elektra Tuesday, Married Man, Killin’ At The Soda Shop, Living Doll and For Love. Of the extra songs only For Love made the album.
In search for material for the album they came across Baby, You’re A Trip, which seemed to be perfect for Jill. Susan Rogers remembers Prince being blown away by Jill’s vocals on the song: ‘The woman can sing!’
Midway through 1985 they recorded My Sex, meant to be the title-song to the album. In January 1986 Euphoria Highway was recorded. In February 1986 a first configuration of the album was compiled. The song Violet Blue was not a part of that, because that was recorded in October of 1986.
In November 1986 Prince worked on overdubs and mixing. The definite configuration of the album was compiled on November 12th, 1986.
Apart from the cover With You, Prince was only referenced as a co-writer for 4 songs on the album. The remaining 3 songs were accredited to Jill Jones. However, Prince wrote all of the songs. They are registered under the Prince-moniker Joey Coco.
The album was (very) well received, particularly by critics. However, in the US it wasn’t a hit. The 3 singles, Mia Bocca, G-Spot and For Love did little to nothing. Meanwhile, in Europe the album did pretty good. Jill spent a lot of time in Europe doing interviews and television-shows.
As was the case more often than not (unfortunately), Paisley Park Records albums were poorly marketed and promoted. Just like the fabulous The Family album, Jill Jones’ album soon vanished from the public eye. An album doesn’t sell itself, even if it’s as good as the Jill Jones album.
Mia Bocca was a modest hit in Europe, partly due to the beautiful videoclip, made by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
- Intro (Baby, You’re A Trip) *
- Mia Bocca **
- G-Spot **
- Violet Blue *
- With You ***
- All Day, All Night **
- For Love **
- My Man *
- Baby, You’re A Trip *
|*||Composed by Prince (accredited to Jill Jones)|
|**||Composed by Prince (accredited to Jill Jones en Prince)|
|***||Composed by Prince|
Number of stars:
Yes, the album is really that good. Prince reserved much of his best work for Jill Jones. Jill sings beautifully and convincingly. Barring the With You cover, the album consists of highlight after highlight. With Violet Blue (zie ook Prince satellites, top 10) the album contains one of the very best Prince songs, which I play regularly. A beautiful, rich and varied album, that obviously received a lot of attention.
Life after Prince
After Graffiti Bridge Jill disappeared from the/my radar, Until I ran into her Facebook page a couple of years ago. She still makes music and releases that independently. In 1989 she provided vocals on the great song You Do Me by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Later, she was part of Chic, the live-band.
Recently she released the song I Miss U, which is about Prince’s death. Of everything I have seen by (former) Prince associates/partners, that song is the one that comes across as sincere. I believe her.
Do you know this great Jill Jones album? Or do you have another view? Let me know!
Jill Jones – Jill Jones advert: pinterest.com
Jill Jones in Purple Rain: prince.org
Jill Jones – Jill Jones: popsublime.blogspotcom
Jill Jones – singles: princevault.com
Jill Jones – Mia Bocca clip: dailymotion.com
Jill Jones – Promo: eil.com