While he achieved a lot of chart success early in his career (1983 to 1989) and still tours and releases new music, Howard Jones’ musical legacy has been somewhat overlooked since his heyday. While he certainly hasn’t been forgotten, he has become increasingly difficult to categorize… which is both a good and bad thing. He’s been labelled a Synthpop artist, a teen idol, a New Waver and an Electropop pioneer while also being lumped into the Adult Alternative category. Some have even pointed out his Jazz-influenced chord progressions and R&B leanings. In all honesty, Howard Jones is all of this and more. And thankfully, Cherry Red has just released the three CD BEST 1983-2017, which really showcases Howard’s many talents. A set this comprehensive reminds the listener that Howard Jones is much more than an “’80s relic”. He was never a one-trick pony and this release backs that statement up.
DISC ONE focuses on his major label years (’83 to ’92). Here, you’ll find hits like “New Song,” “Things Can Only Get Better,” “What Is Love,” “No One Is To Blame,” “Everlasting Love,” and “Like To Get To Know You Well” alongside lesser known greats like “Specialty” and “Will You Still Be There?” From bubbly Pop to tender ballads, Howard was unpredictable and hard to pigeon-hole even during his hitmaking years. DISC TWO picks up at the tail end of the major label years and then focuses on the
recordings released on his own independent DTox Records label. For anyone that lost touch with Howard’s music during those years will realize just what they missed once they hear tracks like “Just Look At You Now,” “Soon You’ll Go,” “Revolution Of The Heart,” “Someone You Need,” and the Electro-Glam stomp of “Eagle Will Fly Again”. Again, Howard’s desire to challenge himself musically throughout
his career kept his art relevant even when many of his contemporaries gave up on creating new music. DISC THREE collects nine rarities including acoustic live versions and a remix of “You’re The Buddha.”
BEST 1983-2017 reminds us of more than just Howard Jones’ hits – it shows that he has never lost his way, musically. He’s always moving forward but never forgetting where he came from. Perhaps it’s time that you caught up with Howard Jones? This is the best place to start.
Keep on truckin’,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee