During the early 1980’s the UK charts were full of British bands with a Synth Pop sound. A solo artist by the name of Howard Jones finally made his mark on the scene with a series of top ten singles which also became international hits.
Howard Jones was born 1955 in Southampton, Hampshire, England to Welsh parents. His early life was spent in Wales and England. He began learning the piano aged 7 and in his teens moved briefly to Canada. He returned to England and studied music in Manchester. He started to write songs and play gigs. In 1983 he hired the Marquee Club in London and invited record labels to come and see him perform, which helped to land a deal with major label WEA records (Elektra in the U.S.).
“What Is Love” was the second single from his debut album “Human Lib” and became his highest charting single in the UK peaking at #2 in its eight week within a run of 15 weeks on the top 100. It was produced by Rupert Hine who worked with several high profile artists such as Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks and British group The Thompson Twins. Howard’s first single “New Song” peaked at #3 for a 20 week run on the chart. “What is love” was successful internationally peaking at #33 in US, #31 in Australia and also the top ten in Germany and Sweden.
Howard wrote the music for this song and the lyrics were co-written with William Bryant who co-wrote other material with Howard during this period of his career.
During the 1980’s he toured and was part of the Live Aid event at Wembley, London in 1985. He released further albums and singles to varying degrees in the UK but still managed to do arena tours particularly in the US.
As his contact at WEA came to an end, Howard started to write for other artists and began producing. Later he started his own record label Dtox, releasing more material and toured using his concerts as an outlet for the sales of his albums. He toured in 2012 with tracks from his first two albums.
The B Side is a track called “It Just Doesn’t Matter” and although synth based it has a ska feeling to it, akin to something the British Group Madness would have written and performed.