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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 151-175 of 714 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 140819 10-in. 8/7/1925 I miss my Swiss Billy Jones ; Southern Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140830 10-in. 8/10/1925 Yes sir, that's my baby Harmony Dance Orchestra ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140833 10-in. 8/10/1925 I miss my Swiss The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140834 10-in. 8/11/1925 Oh say! Can I see you to-night The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140835 10-in. 8/11/1925 Collegiate Joe Friedman ; Billy Jones ; Monte Carlo Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140842 10-in. 8/12/1925 Titina Billy Jones ; The Promenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140887 10-in. 9/1/1925 Speech! Harry Reser's Syncopators ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo speaker  
Columbia 140905 10-in. 9/5/1925 What do I care, what do I care, my sweetie turned me down Joe Friedman ; Billy Jones ; Monte Carlo Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 140906 10-in. 9/5/1925 Speech! Joe Friedman ; Billy Jones ; Monte Carlo Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo (talk) vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W140927 10-in. 9/10/1925 Pardon me while I laugh Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141030 10-in. 9/22/1925 You told me to go Fred Rich Hotel Astor Orchestra ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141039 10-in. 9/23/1925 Brown eyes—why are you blue? Billy West Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141041 10-in. 9/23/1925 Pretty puppy Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141119 10-in. 10/8/1925 Hugo, I go where you go Raderman's Roysterers ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141120 10-in. 10/8/1925 I'm knee deep in daisies Raderman's Roysterers ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141126 10-in. 10/8/1925 Show me the way to go home Billy West Male vocal solo, with banjo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141184 10-in. 10/23/1925 Freshie Billy Wynne Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141185 10-in. 10/23/1925 Why aren't yez eatin' more oranges? Billy Wynne Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141186 10-in. 10/23/1925 Five foot two, eyes of blue Billy Wynne Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141229 10-in. 10/30/1925 Say! Who is that baby doll? Ipana Troubadours ; Billy Jones ; Sam Lanin Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141265 10-in. 11/14/1925 When you find her, remind her of me Billy West Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141266 10-in. 11/14/1925 My Yiddishe momme Billy West Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141296 10-in. 11/21/1925 Then I'll be happy Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141297 10-in. 11/21/1925 Sleepy time gal Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141397 10-in. 12/16/1925 Roll 'em girls Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 151-175 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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