Howard Jones

Songs and Albums from the 80s

Firstly, I must mention Howard Jones' fashion sense. It was rather novel, after all, and he had a big and fashionable 80s hair style, but also wore what looked like one of his dad's jumpers! His art student fashion style was a bit confused, but, thankfully, his songs weren't.

The aptly named New Song was the debut single, reaching #3 in the UK and Irish singles chart. On the minimalist single sleeve (see below) you can see Howard slanting forward towards to his keyboard, hands casually placed in his pockets and wearing his aforementioned Dad's jumper and some trainers. He kind of looks like he got up late and got dressed in the dark, forgetting to brush his hair. 

Howard Jones' debut album, Human's Lib, featured the musican's best songs which combined catchy synthpop melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, although the lyrics passed me by as a teenager growing-up in the eighties. But now, after listening to them more closely I've come to realise that he was a bit of a songwriting genius.

Human's Lib entered the UK album charts at #1 and sold 100,000 copies within the first week. The album spent 57 weeks in the charts. 

If you've ever seen Howard Jones live then you'll know that he's a damn fine pianist. Newer versions of some of his songs are more piano-based, and had he released these back in the 80s he would probably have gained more notoriety as a musician like Elton John. But he should be proud that he used synthesizers and embraced the New Wave sound on his first album - so much more interesting!

What Is Love? was the second single to be lifted from the album. Released on 26th November 1983, the synthpop tune charted one place higher than the debut single New Song and peaked at No.2 in the UK singles chart in 1983. What Is Love? also charted in the U.S., peaking at #33 during the summer of 1984. The song was also used in the 1984 movie Supergirl.

Although I have added this particular song to the "Best Songs of the 80s" page, to be honest, I could have picked any of the singles from the Human's Lib album as they were all really decent tracks.

The third single from the debut album reached No.12 in the UK singles chart, which was slightly disappointing after the previous single What is Love had reached No.2 in 1983. 

However, a No.12 in the 80s was still very successful and would probably have shifted more copies than the majority of the singles from recent years.

The B-side featured two instrumental  tracks Tao Te Ching and China Dance.

New Song vinyl 7
Human's Lib album sleeve - Howard Jones
What is love? single sleeve

  howardjones.com

    Howard Jones at NME


Welsh Synthpop solo artist Howard Jones achieved ten Top 40 hit singles during the 1980's. My personal favourite, though, is Pearl In The Shell, where Howard sings "and the feel goes on!". This was the fourth and final single to be lifted from the Human's Lib album and peaked at #7 in the UK. The saxophone solo is played by Davey Payne who was in Ian Dury's band The Blockheads.

Although Human's Lib topped the British album charts, in the US Howard's second album Dream Into Action was more successful and reached #10 in the Billboard Album Charts. In the UK the album peaked at #2, spending 57 weeks in the album charts.

October 1986 saw the release of a third album, One To One, which peaked at #10, although only the lead single, All I Want, managed to reach the UK Top 40, peaking at #35.

The final album of the 80s, Cross That Line, was not commercially successful, stalling at #64 (#59 in the U.S.) and producing no hit singles.

Starting with New Song, Howard Jones achieved a run of ten successive Top 40 hits during the 1980s, the final one being All I Want in 1986, which was the musician's last Top 40 hit in the UK.

Pearl In The Shell picture disc 12

 Like To Get to Know You Well - The Tube - 1984

I bought this single on 12" from Woolworths, although I managed to break it within a week and had use sticky tape on the B-side to hold it together - I haven't heard the B-side since then!

Released in August 1984 (Sept in the U.S.), this was Howard's fifth single release, reaching #4 in the UK and #49 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song featured on The 12" album and was also added as an extra track to the second studio album Dream Into Action. The B-side was entitled Bounce Right Back. The 12 inch vinyl featured the International Remix of the A-side and the Cause + Effect Mix of the B-side.

Howard Jones -
Look Mama (1985)

Look Mama was Howard Jones' seventh hit single of the 80s, reaching #10 in the UK in 1985. It was the second single to be released from his second studio album Dream Into Action, and the follow-up to Things Can Only Get Better which had reached #6 in the UK singles chart.

Two more songs were released from the album; Life In One Day (#14) and No One Is To Blame (#16). Released in March 1985, the album just missed the top spot, peaking at #2 in the album charts

Front sleeve from the Japanese import of for You Know I Love You Don't You?

 

Howard Jones Best Of CD Album