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 15th, 1889 (New York City), Died November 23rd, 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 176-200 of 714 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 141398 10-in. 12/16/1925 I wish't I was in Peoria Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141425 10-in. 12/22/1925 I wish't I was in Peoria Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141426 10-in. 12/22/1925 Hot coffee Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141441 10-in. 12/29/1925 Sweet child Ipana Troubadours ; Billy Jones ; Sam Lanin Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141485 10-in. 1/13/1926 What, no women? Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141486 10-in. 1/13/1926 The village blacksmith owns the village now Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141501 10-in. 1/15/1926 You're always a baby to Mother Billy Jones Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141540 10-in. 1/22/1926 I want somebody to cheer me up Billy Jones ; Ross Gorman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141594 10-in. 2/2/1926 Tell me why you and I should be strangers Ernie Golden ; Hotel McAlpin Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141595 10-in. 2/2/1926 I love the night Ernie Golden ; Hotel McAlpin Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141613 10-in. 2/10/1926 But I do—you know I do Broadway Bell-Hops ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141614 10-in. 2/10/1926 Let's talk about my sweetie Broadway Bell-Hops ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141615 10-in. 2/10/1926 Wimmin—aaah! Broadway Bell-Hops ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141633 10-in. 2/16/1926 Say it again The Harmonians ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141634 10-in. 2/16/1926 Always The Harmonians ; Fred Jackson Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141731 10-in. 3/1/1926 Wimmin aaah! The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141732 10-in. 3/1/1926 Poor papa The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141864 10-in. 3/26/1926 Thanks for the buggy ride Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141865 10-in. 3/26/1926 It don't do nothin' but rain Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 141866 10-in. 3/26/1926 I found a round-a-bout way to heaven Billy West Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141972 10-in. 4/15/1926 Spring is here Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W141973 10-in. 4/15/1926 Show that fellow the door Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W142116 10-in. 4/30/1926 That's where I meet my girl Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 142154 10-in. 5/5/1926 Hi-ho the merrio Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 142155 10-in. 5/5/1926 To-night's my night with baby Bob Thomas ; Billy West Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 176-200 of 714 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jones, Billy," accessed December 5, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

Jones, Billy. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

"Jones, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 5 December 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.