At the start of 1984, I learned of a new British recording artist named Howard Jones, and his wonderful debut single, “New Song.” A sensational New Wave / Synthpop musician and singer / songwriter, Howard Jones (who just celebrated his 61st birthday on February 23) didn’t have to wait long to pick up adoring fans in 1984. I should know – I was (and still am) one of those adoring fans.
What got me hooked on the music of Howard Jones was his incredible way around a synthesizer. “New Song” highlighted his synthesizer talents very well. I finally had the opportunity to see Hojo perform 15 years after the song’s release – at a Boston concert with Human League and Culture Club. It was an exciting experience, and Howard’s performance was the best of the night, not to mention it was like he was singing to each of us individually: “I’ve been waiting for so long / To come here now and sing this song…”
Howard’s not just an amazingly gifted musician (it was fun watching him play), but he had such a warm stage presence to him. He’s coming to Portland, Maine (his first trip to Maine?) this Summer with OMD and Barenaked Ladies, and should be a most excellent show.
From the album, HUMAN’S LIB (released in early March 1984), “New Song” was released in September 1983, and was an instant hit in his U.K. homeland, reaching No. 3, and peaked in the Top 20 in Canada and Germany. Here in the U.S., it spent a week at No. 27 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at the end of March 1984, and was a No. 4 hit on the BILLBOARD Dance chart, his biggest Dance hit in America. It was even featured on an episode of the critically-heralded BREAKING BAD.
Between 1983 and 1992, HoJo added 14 songs onto the U.K. singles chart, while here in the U.S., he put 10 singles onto the BILLBOARD Hot 100, including 2 Top 5 hits in 1985, “Things Will Only Get Better” and “No One Is To Blame.”
Howard Jones released his eleventh studio album, ENGAGE, in 2015, and continues to engage fans all over the world with his tours and his website, howardjones.com.
I’ve always thought highly of Howard Jones, and never heard anyone say a bad thing about him. He’s got that cool kind of persona about him that is easily respectable, and being an outstanding musician just adds to it. And I don’t know anyone else who could get away with putting a belt around a sweater, or actually tucking in a sweater into a pair of pants, but he pulled it off with style.
I’m not sure if “New Song” is my favorite song by HoJo (there are many), but since it was his first “new song,” it’ll always have a special place in my heart…