Image Source: Wikipedia

Billy Jones

William Reese "Billy" Jones (March 15, 1889 – November 23, 1940) was a tenor who recorded during the 1920s and 1930s, finding fame as a radio star on The Happiness Boys radio program.

Jones worked in such occupations as mining, banking, and blacksmithing before his 1918 recording debut. He recorded with the Cleartone Four, the Crescent Trio, the Harmonizers Quartet and the Premier Quartet, and he performed under a variety of names (Harry Blake, Billy Clarke, Lester George, Duncan Jones, Reese Jones, John Kelley, Dennis O'Malley, William Rees, Victor Roberts, Billy West, William West, and Carlton Williams).

After he met Ernie Hare in 1919, they teamed in 1920 when Brunswick executive Gus Haenschen had them sing an accompaniment on a Brunswick Records recording. They went on to do numerous recordings together for Brunswick, Edison, and other companies.

They began on radio October 18, 1921 on WJZ (Newark, New Jersey). Sponsored by the chain of Happiness Candy stores, they were heard on The Happiness Boys program beginning August 22, 1923 on New York's WEAF, moving to NBC from a run from 1926 to 1929. As "The Happiness Boys", they sang popular tunes, mostly light fare and comic songs, and they joked with one another between numbers.

By 1928, they were the highest paid singers in radio, earning $1,250 a week. The partnership ended with Hare's death on March 9, 1939. Jones continued to perform, teaming with Hare's 16-year-old daughter, Marilyn Hare, in 1939-40. He died November 23, 1940 in Manhattan and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.

Among Jones' hits was "The grass is always greener in the other fellow's yard" (available on YouTube) which became the theme song of the "Big Brother Bob Emery " a children's program, first on radio, then on TV in both New York and Boston in the 1940s and 1950s.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 15, 1889 (New York City), Died November 23, 1940 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1916 - 1951

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor vocal, speaker, author, saxophone, songwriter, vocalist

Notes: Also recorded under the name Victor Roberts.

See Also: Roberts, Victor

Recordings (Results 276-300 of 714 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh S-70404 10-in. Jan. 1922 Atta baby Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70419 10-in. Jan. 1922 Dear old melodies no. 1 Shannon Four Male vocal quartet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70420 10-in. Jan. 1922 Dear old melodies no. 2 Shannon Four Male vocal quartet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70536 10-in. Mar. 1922 She's mine, all mine! Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70559 10-in. Mar. 1922 Waikiki, I hear you calling me Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70638 10-in. Apr. 1922 Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70672 10-in. May 1922 When you and I were young Maggie blues Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70673 10-in. May 1922 K-K-K-Kiss me again (Every time he tried to say goodnight) Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70700 10-in. June 1922 Holy, holy, holy Virginia Burt ; Shannon Four Male vocal quartet and female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70731 10-in. June 1922 Kicky-koo, kicky-koo (You for me, me for you) Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70732 10-in. June 1922 Why should I cry over you? Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70796 10-in. Aug. 1922 Cow bells Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70797 Not documented Aug. 1922 [Unknown title(s)] Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70804 10-in. Aug. 1922 Oh! Is she dumb Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70805 10-in. Aug. 1922 For the sake of auld lang syne Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70848 10-in. Sept. 1922 All for the love of Mike Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70849 10-in. Sept. 1922 Tenting on the old campground Shannon Four Male vocal quartet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70882 10-in. Oct. 1922 Juanita Shannon Four Male vocal quartet vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70924 10-in. Oct. 1922 Hello! Hello! Hello! Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-70982 10-in. Nov. 1922 Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' bye) Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-71014 10-in. Nov. 1922 You tell her—I stutter Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-71015 10-in. Nov. 1922 My buddy Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-71072 10-in. Dec. 1922 There's a rainbow in the sky Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-71091 Not documented Dec. 1922 [Unknown title(s)] Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
OKeh S-71092 10-in. Dec. 1922 Down by the old apple tree Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 276-300 of 714 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jones, Billy," accessed January 26, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

Jones, Billy. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

"Jones, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 26 January 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.