In October 2005 Howard Jones released his first new studio electronic album in six years. Titled 'Revolution of the Heart' it's a tour de force of state of the art technology and contemporary sounds combined with a strong lyrical message calling for inner human change....in fact a revolution of the heart. Jones is regarded as one of the true godfathers of electronic music, particularly in the dance world, and this album sees a return to his electronic roots.
It was in 1983 that Howard Jones released his first single New Song in the UK. The expectation was that it might sell a few thousand copies and introduce his fresh new music to an unsuspecting world. The reality was quite different. The single steadily climbed the UK chart to peak at No. 3.
Then came the second single What Is Love? which reached No. 2 in the UK and the third single the enigmatic Hide and Seek which showed the spiritual side of Howard Jones writing. This was followed by the first album Humans Lib which came straight in at No. 1 in the UK in April 1984, eventually going platinum and which took the synthesiser and Howard to a new plateau. This success spread across the globe with Humans Lib going gold in USA, Japan, Germany, Italy and Australia.
The second album Dream Into Action was even more successful spawning a series of hits including Like To Get To Know You Well, Look Mama, Things Can Only Get Better and the classic No One Is To Blame which reached No.1 in the U.S. singles chart and has since had over 3 million radio plays in USA. Dream Into Action went platinum in USA and lived in the US top 20 album chart for the best part of a year making Howard Jones one of the very few British artists to have comprehensively broken America in the past 20 years. In 1986 Howard was voted Keyboard Player of the Year in Rolling Stone magazine and in 1987 and 1989 he toured extensively particularly in USA where he headlined Madison Square Garden in New York and the Forum in LA.
There were three more albums on Warner/Elektra One To One (1987), Cross That Line (1989) and In The Running (1992) all three of which were accompanied by successful world tours. The 1992 single Lift Me Up, taken from In The Running album went top ten in USA. In 1993 the Best Of Howard Jones was released which, together with the Howards other albums have seen his worldwide album sales to date exceed eight million.
He also released an album Working In The Backroom on his own dTox label with the idea that the album would only be available at live concerts and on the Howard Jones website www.howardjones.com. This continues to be the case. In the true Howard Jones pioneering tradition, this album has never been sold in shops and never will be.
Since 1994 this consummate musician and writer has maintained an admirable independence with his prodigious output. Being a classically trained piano player, Howard decided to take a completely unexpected path and in 1996 without a synth in sight he embarked on The Acoustic Tour which featured Howard on grand piano accompanied only by Carol Steele on percussion. This proved to be a huge success and was recorded live at the Variety Arts Theatre in Los Angeles and was later released as Live Acoustic America. This album has to rate as one of the best live albums ever recorded.
This was followed in 1999 by a new highly acclaimed studio album People which many true Howard Jones fans regard as his best ever album.
Always one to present the unexpected Howard then formed a full band which featured Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo/Ellis Beggs and Howard) on bass and Chapman stick, Robin Boult (Fish) on guitars and the legendary Kevin Wilkinson (China Crisis/The Waterboys/Squeeze) on drums. This superb band toured the world throughout 1998 and the first half of 1999, which included a major tour of the USA with Culture Club and the Human League. It was with enormous sadness that the news was received on 18 July 1999 that drummer Kevin Wilkinson had taken his life. Kevin was one of the most respected and sought after drummers and was a wonderful caring human being. He has been very greatly missed.
In 2000 Howard appeared on the infamous Night of the Proms tour of Europe with a 72 piece orchestra and a 50 piece choir. This was followed in the summer of 2001 with a huge Ringo Star tour of USA and Canada. The band featured Greg Lake on bass, Sheila E and Ringo on drums, Ian Hunter and Roger Hodgson on guitars and Howard on keyboards. Apart from playing his three biggest US hits No One Is To Blame, Things Can Only Get Better, and Everlasting Love each night, Howard also got to fulfil a lifetime ambition by playing Emerson Lake and Palmers Karnevil 9 with Greg Lake and Sheila E. Keith Emersons classic keyboard arrangement is regarded as one of the most difficult keyboard pieces ever written.
In September 2001 Howard set off once more into uncharted waters. He formed a new touring band with Robin Boult on guitars, Shaz Sparks (from dba) on backing vocals and Robbie Bronnimann (from dba) on programming and mixing. Howard had the idea of doing a tour wherein each gig was recorded and digital photographs would be taken at each concert. Then on the same night CDs would be burnt, and artwork produced from the photographs taken that night, and the finished CDs would then be sold all on the same night! Incredibly it worked and 19 different CDs were produced and sold during the tour, which sent Howard Jones collectors into a tailspin. At the end of the tour a best of was compiled under the title The Peaceful Tour Live which has been licensed to various labels around the world. In 2002 Howard co-wrote and co-produced Blue with the Sugababes which turned out to be track two on their UK platinum album Angels with Dirty Faces. He had previously signed the amazing Martin Grech to his Dtox label and had spent three years as executive producer which resulted in Martins first album Open Heart Zoo which received huge critical acclaim in the UK. Similarly trance duo dba were signed to Dtox which resulted in their first album Spectrum and the accompanying mix album Twister.
In the last months of 2002 Howard again surprised everyone by recording an album of intimate piano solos entitled Piano Solos for Friends and Loved Ones which is at present only available from Howards website www.howardjones.com. This album has had wonderful reviews from Howard Jones fans all over the world and apart from demonstrating what a wonderful piano player he is, it also expresses a soundscape of deep and tender emotion.
In September 2003 Howard celebrated his 20th Anniversary of the release of his first single New Song with a special concert at The Shepherds Bush Empire in London. This concert was in four parts. The first was acoustic with accompaniments by Robin Boult on acoustic guitar, Nick Beggs on Chapman Stick and Andy Ross on sass. This was followed by a special retro set in which Howard recreated his original 1983 synth rig which involved live programming between songs. Howard was joined on stage by mime artist Jed Hoile on two songs Equality and Bounce Right Back much to the delight of the crowd. The third part featured the 2003 Howard Jones electronic band comprising Howard on synths, Robbie Bronnimann on mixing, effects and keyboard, Shaz Sparks on backing vocals and Robin Boult on electric guitars. The final part of the evening featured the Howard Jones big band in which the electronic band was augmented by Roy Jones on vocals, Phil Jones on keyboards, Greg Leppard on drums and Nick Beggs on bass. This set also included guest appearances by Nena and Midge Ure. This was Nenas first UK appearance in 20 years. The whole concert was released as a DVD in March 2005 and will be released in other territories in 2006.
To tie in with this 20th Anniversary celebration Warner Music UK released a special double CD entitled The Very Best Of. This includes a limited edition special CD of Howard Jones single B sides which collectors and fans have been demanding for years.
During 2004 Howard recorded the new studio album Revolution of the Heart . Produced by Howard and Robbie Bronnimann the album includes the tracks Revolution of the Heart and Just Look at You Now. Remixes of both these tracks have already been released on vinyl in the UK. Revolution of the Heart reached No.17 in the UKs Club Chart and 7 in the UKs DMC chart in November 2003. Just Look at You Now reached 19 in the UKs Club Chart and No 14 in the DMC Chart. (May 2004). In 2005 Howard was back in the UK Club Chart with Slip Away by Mohito which featured a specially re-recorded part from Like To Get To Know You Well. Milk and Sugar recorded What is Love 2005 which charted in Germany and a sensational version of 'Things Can Only Get Better' to be retitled 'And Do You Feel Scared' is due to be released remixed by Eric Prydz later in 2006.
In February 2005 Howard did a special one-off acoustic show in Chicagos famous Pump Room with Jackson Browne.
Howard appeared on ITVs Hit Me Baby One More Time in the UK on April 2 2005 which was the biggest UK TV appearance for 15 years. Howard performed What is Love with his electronic band and Didos White Flag, which he performed on piano accompanied by guitarist Robin Boult. He also appeared on the US version of Hit Me Baby One More Time which aired primetime on 16 June 2005 on NBC across the US and Canada. In the NBC on-line viewers poll Howard was voted No 1 on the show. The howardjones.com website had over 45,000 hits in the 24 hours following the US show which almost brought down the server!
In August 2005 Howard appeared on the UK Channel 4 news and the BBC radio 4 programme Today (with Keith Emerson) talking about the death of Robert Moog and the important influence he had on electronic music. On 9 September he played the world premiere of the new Revolution of The Heart Album at one of the venues where it all started the old Friars Aylesbury venue, Aylesbury's Civic Centre in England
Howard Jones continues to play concerts, both acoustic and electric, all over the world. He has proved that he is one of the most talented writers and performers out there. His independent attitude and his ability and willingness to take risks ensure that he continues to operate on the cutting edge of todays music.
Jones started 2006 with a New Year's concert in Egypt. In January he entered in to a two-year official sponsorship arrangement with MTV's VH1 Classic for the USA and Canada, which kicked off with a ten date acoustic tour of USA. This culminated in an epic show at the Boulder Station Casino in Las Vegas on February 3rd, which has to rate as the best Howard Jones acoustic concerts ever. It was a complete sell-out despite Elton and Celine also having sold out shows just down the road.
2006 also sees the inclusion of a new Simlish vocals version of 'Things Can Only Get Better' for the new Electronic Arts' SIMS 2 game and the inclusion of a version of the Eric Prydz re-mix re-titled 'And Do You Feel Scared' on the Electronic Arts 2006 FIFA World Cup game. Jones will also be playing dates in Germany around the FIFA World Cup.