The late Linda Jones was an American soul songstress. She began her recording career in 1963, but her biggest break in her career came four years later with the hit single “Hypnotized.” She also scored another R&B hit “What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad).” Jones was already suffering with diabetes during the height of her blossoming career. After she lapsed into a coma, she died in 1972 in the middle of her busy performing schedule. She was only 27 years old.
Early life and career
American soul singer Linda Jones was born on December 14, 1944. The Newark, New Jersey native began her singing while a member of her family’s gospel group the Jones Singers when she was just six years old. When she was just nineteen she cut her first record “Lonely Teardrops” and released it on Cub Records under the pseudonym Linda Lane. She also had unsuccessful stints in recording and releasing singles at Atco Records and Blue Cat lables in 1964 and 1965, respectively.
Jones’ stint at Loma label, and her biggest hit “Hypnotized”
One day she was performing at a local club when songwriter Jerry Harris discovered her. Harris then introduced Jones to producer Geore Kerr, whom she went on to work with. Jones later signed to Russ Regan’s Loma label in 1967.
Jones’ initial moments at Loma resulted into a single titled “Hypnotized,” written by Gloria Spolan and Richard Pointdexter. “Hypnotized” became Jones’ first-ever charting single, and her biggest hit at that. “Hypnotized” just barely missed the Top 20 pop chart, while it went to #4 on the R&B singles chart in 1967. The single also became Loma’s most successful and best-selling record.
“Hypnotized” was later followed by another top 10 R&B hit “What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad)” written by Kerr and Drake Hollon. It went to #8 there, while it was a minor Hot 100 hit at #61 in 1967. An album ensued whic was entitled Hypnotized which of course contained the hit title track. The album charted on the R&B albums rankings at #28 in 1967.
Loma, however, folded in 1968. Linda then released a single on Loma’s parent label Warnter Bros. called “My Heart Needs a Break” (#50, R&B). After that she signed to Neptune Records, which was owned adn run by a couple of Philadelphia producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who would also made a name of themselves as the legendary Leon-Huff songwriting-producing team). She released a couple of singles (both produced by Kerr) had some R&B chart success.
Jones’ days at Turbo label
Jones then jumped to New Jersey-based All Platinum’s subsidiary label Turbo Records, in 1971. Many critics feel that Jones’ stint at Turbo produced her best songs that included “Not on the Outside” (#32 R&B) and “Your Precious Love” (#74 pop, #15 R&B). It was also at Turbo where Jones displayed at her most histrionic, the best example being her rendition of “Let It Be Me” which was transformed as a vehicle for her towering fury, showing her gospel roots.
Jones’ death and legacy
Her career was about to take off at this point. But Jones, who was diabetic all her life, was already ill when she was cutting those great records and doing her national tours. She slipped into a coma while resting between matinee and evening gigs at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. She died from her sleep while on that very rest (which tragically would went on forever) on March 14, 1972. She was just 27 years old.
Soon after her death, All Platinum compiled and released three albums of both previously issued and unreleased material. In 2008 her daughter Terry Jones co-produced an album Soul Talkin‘ featuring her mother’s vocals. One of Soul Talkin”s songs “Baby I Know” received a (posthumous) Grammy Award nomination at the end of that year.