John Paul JonesOn 03/01/1946: John Paul Jones was born in Sidcup, England. His full birth name was John Richard Baldwin. At the age of six, he started learning to play the piano from his father. His father, Joe Baldwin, was a pianist and arranger for big bands in the 1940s and 1950s. His mother was also in the music business. The family toured England as a vaudeville comedy act. John was sent to boarding school and formally studied music.
When he was 14, he was the choirmaster and organist at a local church and he bought his first bass guitar a Dallas Tuxedo. He bought a few bass guitars before settling on a 1962 Fender Jazz Bass, which he used till 1976.
At the age of 15, Baldwin joined his first band, The Deltas. He then joined jazz-rock group Jett Blacks as their bassist. The band included guitarist John McLaughlin.
In 1962, Baldwin was hired by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan of The Shadows for a two-year period. Jet Harris and Tony Meehan had only just had a number 1 hit with the song "Diamonds". When Brian Locking left The Shadows, Baldwin was considered as a replacement, but the job went to John Rostill.
In 1964, Baldwin started studio session work with Decca Records after being recommended by Meehan. He would continue to do session work until 1969 and played on hundreds of sessions. His studio work also included playing keyboards and arranging in addition to playing bass. During his time as a session player, he took the stage name John Paul Jones after his friend Andrew Loog Oldham saw a poster for the film "John Paul Jones" in France. In April 1964, he released his first solo recording "Baja" under the new stage name with Pye Records. During his session work he worked with The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, Donovan, Jeff Beck, Françoise Hardy, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Dusty Springfield and numerous others. He would also perform with Dusty Springfield for her "Talk of the Town" series. After impressing on his arranging and playing on Donovan's "Sunshine Superman", producer Mickie Most used him as an arranger for many of his own projects, with Tom Jones, Nico, Wayne Fontana, the Walker Brothers, and many others. By 1968, Jones felt burnt out with a heavy session workload.
During his session work, Jones would often meet guitarist Jimmy Page, who had also been a session player. In 1966, Jimmy Page joined The Yardbirds. In 1967, Jones contributed to The Yardbird's "Little Games" album. In 1968, whilst working for Donovan's "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" Jones asked Page if he could part of any projects that he was planning. When The Yardbirds disbanded later that year, Page and bassist Chris Deja were going to complete The Yardbirds tour dates. Before a new band could be formed, Deja left to take up photography. Jones asked Page, at the suggestion of his wife, if he could fill the bassist position and he was eagerly accepted. Robert Plant and John Bonham joined the band and they formed the New Yardbirds, before later being called Led Zeppelin. The band would become one of the biggest bands in the world and one of the most highly influential Hard Rock/Blues Rock bands.
In 1969, Jones played bass on The Family Dogg's album "A Way of Life".
In 1970, Jones played on Peter Green's album "The End of the Game".
By 1973, Jones was considering leaving Led Zeppelin to spend more time with his family and take a position of choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral. He was talked round by Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant.
In 1974, Jones produced Madeline Bell's album "Comin' Atcha".
In 1978, Jones guest recorded on Wing's album "Back to the Egg" along with John Bonham.
In 1980, John Bonham died and Led Zepplin dissolved.
In 1984, Jones was involved in the soundtrack to the film "Give My Regards to Broad Street" starring Paul McCartney, Bryan Brown and Ringo Starr. Paul McCartney released the album of the soundtrack as a solo album. Jones has appeared in various sessions and videos with McCartney.
In 1985, Jones provided the soundtrack to the film "Scream for Help". Jimmy Page appeared on two of the tracks. Also in 1985, Jones appeared along with the remaining members of Led Zeppelin for Live Aid, with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson filling in on drums.
In 1988, Led Zeppelin reformed again for one night, along with Jason Bonham (John's son) for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert.
In 1994, Jones recorded on the Diamanda Galás album "The Sporting Life".
In 1995, Jones produced and played several instruments on Heart's album "The Road Home". In the same year, Andrew Lawrence-King's Harp Consort released a set of three Spanish-language songs in 17th-century style of Jones's own composition.
In 1999, Jones released his debut album "Zooma" on Robert Fripp's DGM label.
In 2001, Jones released his second solo album "The Thunderthief".
In 2004, Jones joined the group Mutual Admiration Society on tour.
In 2005, Jones played on two tracks of the Foo Fighter's album "In Your Honor".
In 2007, he played at Bonnaroo in an all-star Super-Jam. He would also appear that year accompanying Robyn Hitchcock and Ruby Wright at a tribute for Syd Barrett in London. In the same year, Led Zeppelin reformed to play at the tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun with Jason Bonham again on drums.
In 2008, Jones produced Sara Watkin's debut solo album. He would appear on stage with the Foo Fighters at the Grammy Awards and at Wembley Stadium, London during the year.
In 2009, Jones formed Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. They released their debut album in the same year. Since 2010, the band has been on hiatus.
In 2011, Jones appeared on stage with Seasick Steve at Reading and Leeds Festivals. He would appear with him again over the course of 2013.
Jones has collaborated with many artists including Diamanda Galás, R.E.M., Jars of Clay, Heart, Ben E. King, Peter Gabriel, Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Cinderella, The Mission, La Fura dels Baus, The Harp Consort, Brian Eno, the Butthole Surfers and Uncle Earl.