Introduction to the Jones Girls
Sisters Brenda, Valorie and Shirley Jones started their career as the R&B/soul group the Jones Girls in 1968. After recording unsuccessful singles under different labels (and having done back-up singing with Lou Rawls), Teddy Pendegrass and notably Diana Ross, the trio finally achieved their biggest hit with “You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else” in 1979. Another single the following year, “I Just Love The Man,” was also a hit. When their fourth album failed to chart, lead vocalist Shirley Jones went on a solo career and released a successful single with “Do You Get Enough Love.” Her sister Valorie Jones, only 45, passed away in 2001.
The Jones Girls as backup singers
The Jones Girls were (obviously) and all-female group consisted of sisters Brenda, Valerie (or Valorie) and Shirley. They were daughters of gospel singer named Mary Frances Jones. The trio originated from Detroit, Michigan.
The girls started out in the music business and spent those long years serving as backup singers for bigger artists such as Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Linda Clifford, and Betty Everett.
Trying to make a name for themselves; backing up for Diana Ross
Actually they did try to make a name for themselves in the music industry. First they ventured with a small Detroit-based label Fortune during the 1960s; but unlike the label’s name, the trio wasn’t able to meet some fortune. Then the sisters moved to Hot Wax-Invictus imprint, but still hits weren’t forthcoming. While they hadn’t yet found any success on their own, the Jones Girls were otherwise in demand as backup singers.
The sisters were soon signed to Curtom Recods in 1973, releasing a couple of records “If You Don’t Love Me Anymore” and “Will You Be There.” Both singles bombed. However, “Will You Be There” played an important role in the Jones Girls’ career. Its arranger Gil Askey was then collaborating with Diana Ross. He recommended the sisters to Ross as backup vocalists for her tour. Soon enough, the girls became Ross’ touring members that provided them exposure that led to more opportunities.
Hit singles, finally, for the sisters
One opportunity came when Philadelphia Records signed them towards the end of 1970s. Luckily, commercial drought was over for the sisters when they began to score a string of hits. Their self-titled debut LP (released on Philadelphia Records too) came out in 1979 and featured a single called “You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else.” It was the most successful single of the Jones Girls, peaking at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 (making it their only pop chart hit), #5 on the R&B singles chart and #9 on the dance/disco chart. The Jones Girls LP hit #50 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and #8 on R&B album chart.
On Philadelphia Records the Jones Girls managed to release two more LP’s At Peace with Woman (#96 pop, #7 R&B in 1980) and Get as Much Love as You Can (#155 pop, #25 R&B in 1981). They had many chart placings on the R&B singles chart like “We’re A Melody,” “I’m At Your Mercy,” “Dance Turned Into A Romance,” “I Just Love The Man” (a #9 R&B hit in 1981) “Nights Over Egypt,” and “(I Found) That Man Of Mine.”
The Jones Girls left Philadelphia Records and moved to a couple of more labels. Following the failure of their RCA Records-released albumOn Target in 1983, Shirley Jones left to pursue a solo career with some success. Shirley’s most notable hit was “Do You Get Enough Love?” which topped the R&B singles chart. Valorie Jones passed away in late 2001, aged 45.