Gloria Jones

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Gloria Jones
Gloria Jones performing with T. Rex in March 1976 in Glasgow, Scotland
Background information
Birth nameGloria Richetta Jones
Born (1945-10-19) October 19, 1945 (age 74)
Cincinnati, Ohio, US
Origin Los Angeles, California
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1960–present
Associated acts

Gloria Richetta Jones (born October 19, 1945) is an American singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California, who first found success in the UK, being recognized there as "The Queen of Northern Soul". [1] She recorded the 1965 hit song "Tainted Love", and has worked in multiple genres as a Motown songwriter and recording artist, a prolific backup singer, and as a performer in musicals such as Hair . In the 1970s, she was a keyboardist and vocalist in Marc Bolan's glam rock band T. Rex. She and Bolan were also in a committed romantic relationship and have a son together.



Early life and career

Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of seven, where she first started singing. Jones' first taste of fame came at the age of 14, when, while still at school, she formed with Frankie Kahrl and Billy Preston the successful gospel group the COGIC Singers, with whom she recorded the album It's a Blessing. Although she remained with the group for some four years, she soon found herself drawn into the Los Angeles pop scene.

In 1964, Jones, in her late teens, was discovered by the songwriter Ed Cobb. Signing with Cobb's Greengrass Productions, she recorded her first hit record, "Heartbeat Pts 1 & 2," which Cobb wrote and produced. She toured the United States, performing on several American television programs, footage of which still exists. One performance occurred at a Rock and Soul show in Disneyland in the summer of 1965. "Heartbeat" became a rhythm and blues tune which was recorded later by Dusty Springfield, Spencer Davis and many other artists. [2]

By then, Jones had recorded other songs for Uptown Records, a subsidiary of Capitol/EMI. Included among these was another Cobb-written song, "Tainted Love". So strong was Jones's following in Northern England that she was proclaimed the "Northern Queen of Soul." [1] Jones also recorded an album for the Uptown label entitled Come Go with Me which was released in 1966. Jones studied piano, and acquired an advanced classical degree primarily in the works of Bach. [1] In 1968, she joined the cast of Catch My Soul, a rock and soul version of the play Othello , which included cast members Jerry Lee Lewis, The Blossoms, and Dr. John. During the summer of 1968, she performed in a play called Revolution, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. That winter, she joined the Los Angeles cast of Hair , the musical. Eventually, she was to meet Pam Sawyer, who asked her to write for Motown Records. Jones and Sawyer were amongst the second string of writers at Motown, but still wrote for such artists as Gladys Knight & the Pips, Commodores, The Four Tops and The Jackson 5. As Jones was also initially a singer for the label, protocol demanded a pseudonym, so for some of her earlier co-writes she used the name LaVerne Ware.

Songs that Jones worked on during this period include The Supremes' "Have I Lost You" (writer), Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross's "My Mistake" (writer), Junior Walker's "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere" (writer/producer) and the Four Tops' "Just Seven Numbers" (writer). In 1970 she provided backing vocals on Ry Cooder's eponymous first album. The most remembered song that Jones penned was Gladys Knight and the Pips' "If I Were Your Woman", which was nominated for a Grammy in 1971. Jones left Motown at the end of 1973, following the release of her album Share My Love .

After Motown

Jones first met Marc Bolan of T. Rex in 1969 while performing in Hair (Los Angeles cast). While touring in Europe, Bolan and Jones met for the second time at the Speakeasy in London. In 1972, she was recommended by Warner Brothers' Bob Regere to sing backing vocals behind T. Rex at Winterland in San Francisco.

Soon after joining T. Rex, Jones and Bolan became romantically involved. Together, they had a son, Rolan Bolan (b. Sep 26, 1975). She sang backing vocals and played clavinet with T. Rex from 1973 to 1977. Her rendition of "Dock of the Bay" appears as a bonus track on T.Rex's album Bolan's Zip Gun . Jones released an album in 1976, called Vixen , featuring several songs written by Bolan, and he also was the producer.

In 1977, Jones worked with the group Gonzales, producing several of their singles, and also penning the disco hit, "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" for the group. She toured the UK with Gonzales, first on the Bob Marley tour, and then with Osibisa.

She was the driver of the car, a Mini 1275 GT, that crashed and killed Bolan at 4:00 am on September 16, 1977 on the way home to Bolan's Richmond property. They had been out to a restaurant in Mayfair and had been drinking wine. [3] Jones was found by her brother Richard, her foot trapped beneath the clutch by the engine, while Bolan was found still in the passenger seat which had been dislodged and landed in the rear of the vehicle. [4] Jones broke her jaw in the accident. [4] [3] When she was well enough to leave the hospital, she soon was told that Bolan's fans had looted what was left of their possessions. [3] She was later due to appear in court in London on charges of being unfit to drive and driving a car in a dangerous condition. She never returned to face the charges and the Coroner's Court recorded a verdict of accidental death. [3]

After Bolan

Gloria Jones at James Cameron Party after Oscar for 20 Feet from Stardom in Hollywood 2014 Gloria Jones 7213s.jpg
Gloria Jones at James Cameron Party after Oscar for 20 Feet from Stardom in Hollywood 2014
Gloria Jones with her son Rolan in Hollywood 2014 Gloria Jones with son Rolan Bolan 7972.jpg
Gloria Jones with her son Rolan in Hollywood 2014

Having lost her possessions, Jones and her son moved back to Los Angeles where they stayed with Jones' family.

In 1978, she released the album Windstorm , which was a dedication to the memory of Bolan. On the back cover, it is written "Special Dedication in memory of my son's father, Marc Bolan, whom we miss very much." Her single "Bring on the Love" was a success on the American R&B chart.

Jones stayed in the music industry for several years after, releasing an album produced by Ed Cobb, titled Reunited in 1981. She also collaborated again with Billy Preston and other Cogic Singers for a 1984 reunion album The Cogic's. She has since worked as a musical supervisor for films.


Solo studio albums

With T. Rex

With The COGIC'S

US solo singles

YearA-side/B-sideCatalog no.
1964"My Bad Boy’s Coming Home" / "Tainted Love"Champion 14003
1965"Heartbeat (Part 1)" / Heartbeat (Part 2)"Uptown 712
1966"Finders Keepers" / "Run One Flight of Stairs"Uptown 724
1966"Come Go with Me" / "How Do You Tell an Angel"Uptown 732
1968"I Know" / "What About You"Minit 32046
1969"Look What You Started" / "When He Touches Me"Minit 32051
1973"Why Can't You Be Mine" / "Baby Don't Cha Know (I'm Bleeding for You)"Motown 1256
1978"Bring on the Love" (Single Version) / "Cry Baby"Capitol 4563
1978"Bring on the Love" (Album Version) / "Bring on the Love"Capitol 12" 4563
1978"Woman Is a Woman" / "Blue Light Microphone"Capitol 4662
1979"When I Was a Little Girl" / "When I Was a Little Girl"(Inst)Capitol 4762
1982"My Bad Boy's Coming Home" / "We Gotta All Get Together" AVI 187
1982"My Bad Boy's Coming Home" / "Tainted Love"AVI 338

UK solo singles (selected)

Backing vocal work

Songwriting and production

"Bad Seed"Chris Clark1969Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Black Mail" David Ruffin 1969Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerHenry Cosby
"Teenage Symphony" Jackson 5 197-Gloria Jones, Hal Davis, Marilyn McLeodHal Davis
"I Ain't Goin' Nowhere"Junior Walker & The All Stars197-Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"If I Can't Love You Then I Can't Love Me" Eddie Kendricks 197-Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones
"Nothing Is Real" Eddie Kendricks 197-Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones
"Piece of Clay" Marvin Gaye 197-Gloria JonesGloria Jones
"My Love Is Yours"The Sisters Love197-Gloria Jones, Josef Powell
"You've Got My Mind"The Sisters Love197-Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"When My Love Hand Comes Down"David & Jimmy Ruffin1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Your Love Was Worth Waiting For"David & Jimmy Ruffin1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Black Mail" Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers 1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year" Jackson 5 1970Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerHal Davis
"2-4-6-8" Jackson 5 1970Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerThe Corporation
"If I Were Your Woman" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurrayClay McMurray
"Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)" Four Tops 1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Earthquake" Martha Reeves & The Vandellas 1970Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John BristolJohn Bristol
"Let's Go Back to Day One" Eddie Kendricks 1971Gloria Jones, Patrice Holloway
"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready"Rahsaan Roland Kirk1971Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John BristolJoel Dorn
"Have I Lost You" The Supremes 1971Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones
"I Ain't That Easy to Lose" The Supremes 1971Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerClay McMurray
"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy" Edwin Starr & The Fantastic Four1972Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"I Don't Need No Reason"Junior Walker & The All Stars1973Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"I Don't Need No Reason" The Miracles 1973Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Take Me Girl, I'm Ready"Junior Walker & The All Stars1973Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, John Bristol
"I'm Learning to Trust My Man"The Sisters Love1973Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Where Do You Go (Baby)" Eddie Kendricks 1973Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"There's a Lesson to Be Learned" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1973Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerClay McMurray
"A Million to One" Jermaine Jackson 1973Phil MedleyGloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Give Me Your Love"The Sisters Love1973 Curtis Mayfield Gloria Jones
"(I Could Never Make) A Better Man Than You"The Sisters Love1973Gloria Jones, Janie Bradford Gloria Jones
"Master of My Mind" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1974Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurrayClay McMurray
"It's Too Late To Change The Time" Jackson 5 1974Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerHal Davis
"Do It Again"New Birth1974Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerHarvey Fuqua
"The Assembly Line" The Commodores 1974Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"The Zoo (The Human Zoo)" The Commodores 1974Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"My Mistake (Was to Love You)" Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye 1974Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerHal Davis
"Let's Go Back to Day One"Mahogany Soundtrack1975Gloria Jones, Patrice HollowayGil Askey
"No One Could Love You More" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerJohnny Bristol
"All We Need Is a Miracle" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"Don't Tell Me I'm Crazy" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerBobby Taylor
"I Hate Myself for Loving You" Gladys Knight & The Pips 1975Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer Bobby Taylor
"It's Bad for Me to See You"Yvonne Fair1975Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerGloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"I Ain't That Easy to Lose"Bettye Swann1975Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerMickey Buckins
"Love Is Lovelier"Walter Jackson1976Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerCarl Davis
"I've Got It Bad Feelin' Good"Walter Jackson1976Gloria Jones, Pam SawyerCarl Davis
"If I Ever Lose This Heaven"G.C. Cameron1976Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" Gonzalez 1976Gloria JonesGloria Jones, Richard Jones
"Rockin' on My Porch"Jackson Sisters1976Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer
"Sweet Beginnings" Marlena Shaw 1977Gloria Jones, John Bettis
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" Gonzalez 1977Gloria JonesGloria Jones
"Just Let It Lay" Gonzalez 1977Gloria JonesGloria Jones
"Share My Love" Rare Earth 1977Gloria Jones, Janie Bradford
"Tin Can People" Rare Earth 1977Gloria Jones, Beverly Gardner
"You" Billy Preston 1979Gloria Jones, Richard JonesBilly Preston
"One Day I'll Marry You" Jackson 5 1979Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer


2013 20 Feet from Stardom Herself

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Brown, Lynne (1976). "Gloria Jones Biography", EMI Records Press Office, 1.
  2. Kit O'Toole (May 26, 2015). "DeepSoul: Gloria Jones - "Tainted Love"". Blinded by Sound. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "1977: T-Rex singer killed in car smash". BBC. September 16, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  4. 1 2 Marc Bolan - Rise and Fall of a Twentieth Century Superstar Mark Paytress, Omnibus Press 2005