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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 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 201-225 of 714 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W142281 10-in. 6/7/1926 What! No spinach? The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W142282 10-in. 6/7/1926 Lo-do-de-o The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W142391 10-in. 7/13/1926 My cutey's due at two-to-two to-day Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W142392 10-in. 7/13/1926 How many times Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 142563 10-in. 8/24/1926 Trudy Lou Gold Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 142564 10-in. 8/24/1926 I don't mind being all alone Lou Gold Orchestra ; Billy West Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143363 10-in. 1/27/1927 Where do you work-a, John? The Happiness Boys ; Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143364 10-in. 1/27/1927 Bridget O'Flynn (Where've ya been?) The Happiness Boys ; Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143496 10-in. 2/18/1927 I could waltz on forever with you, sweetheart The Cavaliers ; Billy Jones Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143507 10-in. 2/21/1927 I've never seen a straight banana Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143508 10-in. 2/21/1927 Take your finger out of your mouth (I want a kiss from you) Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143641 10-in. 3/12/1927 Crazy words—crazy tune The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W143642 10-in. 3/12/1927 I gotta get myself somebody to love The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144083 10-in. 5/4/1927 Ask me another The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144084 10-in. 5/4/1927 You never get nowhere holding hands The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144432 10-in. 7/6/1927 Gid-ap, Garibaldi The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144433 10-in. 7/6/1927 Oh! Ya! Ya! The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144561 10-in. 8/24/1927 Since Henry Ford apologized to me The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144802 10-in. 9/28/1927 You can't walk back from an aeroplane (So what are you girls gonna do?) The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W144804 10-in. 9/28/1927 Who's that pretty baby? The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W145383 10-in. 12/22/1927 I love to catch brass rings on a merry-go-round The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W145384 10-in. 12/22/1927 Poor Lizzie The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W146266 10-in. 4/19/1928 She'll never find a fellow like me The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia W146267 10-in. 4/19/1928 She's the sweetheart of six other guys The Happiness Boys Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
Columbia 146436 10-in. 6/13/1928 Gotta big date with a little girl Ernest Hare ; Billy Jones Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 201-225 of 714 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jones, Billy," accessed November 26, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

Jones, Billy. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109631.

"Jones, Billy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 26 November 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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