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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 126-150 of 714 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 81815 10-in. 6/9/1924 Jump Fritz (I feed you liver) Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 81875 10-in. 7/18/1924 Oh-my-yes! Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 81876 10-in. 7/18/1924 Skin-a-ma-rink-arink-a-rae Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 81905 10-in. 8/8/1924 Go 'long, mule Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 81906 10-in. 8/8/1924 She loves me Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140036 10-in. 9/12/1924 Oh you can't fool an old hoss fly Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140119 10-in. 10/24/1924 Everything has got my goat Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140121 10-in. 10/29/1924 Oh! How I love my darling Columbia Novelty Orchestra ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140122 10-in. 10/29/1924 Who wants a bad little boy? Columbia Novelty Orchestra ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140172 10-in. 12/10/1924 Nancy Columbians Dance Orchestra De Luxe ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140228 10-in. 1/7/1925 Oh Mabel! Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with ukulele and piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140229 10-in. 1/7/1925 Sweet onion time Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with ukulele and piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140392 10-in. 2/25/1925 I don't want to get married Clover Gardens Orchestra ; Billy Jones ; William C. Polla Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140430 10-in. 3/13/1925 O, Katharina! Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140431 10-in. 3/13/1925 Nuthin's gonna stop me now Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140476 10-in. 3/30/1925 Cross words between Sweetie and me Billy Jones ; Little Ramblers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140477 10-in. 3/30/1925 Don't bring Lulu Billy Jones ; Little Ramblers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140498 10-in. 4/6/1925 As a porcupine pines for its pork Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140557 10-in. 4/27/1925 It's time to keep away from you Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140613 10-in. 5/18/1925 The flapper wife Harry Reser's Syncopators Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140673 10-in. 7/9/1925 Sonya (Yup, alay yup!) California Ramblers ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140722 10-in. 6/25/1925 The farmer took another load away! Hay! Hay! Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140723 10-in. 6/25/1925 Collegiate Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140724 10-in. 6/25/1925 I miss my Swiss Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140808 10-in. 8/4/1925 I can't see the beautiful sea Billy Jones ; Manhattan Dance Makers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 126-150 of 714 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jones, Billy," accessed January 27, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

Jones, Billy. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

"Jones, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 27 January 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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