Category Archives: The John Paul Jones Story

John Paul’s roots music

To a list of all earlier post about Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. (reverse chronological order)

 In 2006 John Paul was producing and performing on Uncle Earl’s album “Waterloo, Tennessee”

A band playing old time traditional folk and bluegrass sending thoughts back to the early days of wild west, formed in 2000 by KC Groves and Jo Serrapere

At the point where John Paul was producing “Waterloo, Tennessee” the band was composed of these four women:

Founding member KC Groves: Vocals, Mandolin, Guitar, Mandola  Kristin Andreassen: Vocals, Guitar, Fiddle, Ukulele Banjo              Rayna Gellert: Vocals, Fiddle                                                                                        Abigail Washburn: Vocals, Banjo

On the album John Paul Jones was credited with Piano, Bass, Mandola, Wobble Board and Vocals. The album was released in 2007.

On this hilarious video John Paul plays the piano.

His next project as an album producer and performer would be Sara Watkins self-titled debut recorded in 2007-2008 and released in 2009.

Singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins is also firmly rooted in bluegrass and folk music, as longtime member of Grammy winning “Nickel Creek”, on the album John Paul is credited with vocals , bass, organ, electric piano, mandolin and piano

“Where Will You Be”

John Paul: bass, Sara Watkins: vocals, Sean Watkins: acoustic guitar, Jon Brion: electric guitar

The John Paul Jones Story Part 7

After his last solo album, Jones performed with various artists, folk artist Julie Felix, Prog legend Steve Hackett and others, produced New Zealand hard rocker’s The Datsuns 2nd album, before appearing on  Foo Fighters “In Your Honor” from 2005.

According to an article in Rolling Stone, band leader Grohl on Jones appearance : “If I say it’s the greatest thing that happened to me in my life, my wife will get mad, so it’s the second greatest.”

John Paul Jones – mandolin on “Another Round” from “In Your Honor”

Foo Fighters is an American band, formed in Seattle in 1994, by x-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.

“In Your Honor “is a double album, with one hard electric part and one acoustic. Jones performs on two track, both on the acoustic part.

John Paul Jones –piano on “Miracle” from “In Your Honor”, (with Petra Haden – Violin)


Besides Jones the album has a number of other well-known guests Petra Haden known from lots of projects including  playing with The Decemberists, Green Day and many others, Norah Jones, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and more.

Josh Homme – rhythm guitar on “Razor” from “In Your Honor”




The John Paul Jones Story Part 6

In 2001 Jones released his 2nd solo album “The Thunderthief”, again  on Fripp’s DGM label. Again he produced the album, and played a lot of different instruments : vocals, 12-string bass guitars, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, electric mandolin, piano, organ, synthesizer, Kyma, koto, autoharp, ukelele, harmonica. With Terl Bryant (Iona) on drums. Nick Beggs, Stick on two track, Adam Bomb/Robert Fripp – guitar solo on one track each.

John Paul Jones, with Robert Fripp (solo guitar).

The album is mostly is line with what was created on Zooma, maybe a bit lighter, partly because we have got vocals on this one, partly because the material might be just a tiny bit more easy to grasp. Again all in all a very varied album.

Jones was touring “The Thunderthief”, A trio with Nick Beggs and  Terl Bryant, opening for King Crimson.


With his impressive solo albums Jones has proven ready to experiment and explore new territories, definitely showing him as the most avant-grade and experimental Zeppelin member, and a very diverse and skilled musician. “The Thunderthief” was Jones last solo album so far, but it is not the end of his story.








The John Paul Jones Story Part 5

In 1994 Jones produced and co wrote most af the material for The Sporting Life, an album by : “ Diamanda Galás with John Paul Jones”. Galas is a female American vocalist, composer, and pianist/organist. Galás has a 4 octave vocal range, and a very avant-grade vocal style, not easy for the first time listener.

After producing a debut album by Elephant Ride in 1995, Jones started writing material for a solo album, he got signed with Robert Fripp’s DGM label, recordings began in 1998 and the album “ZOOMA” was released in 1999. The album is a very diverse mix of styles, and as his first solo effort, represents well all the different music interests of Jones, with a hint of Zep here and there.

Jones produced the album, and played : bass guitar, double bass, keyboards, guitars, electric mandola, Kyma (some sort of music programming device beyond my understandings)

The recording band was :  Pete Thomas – drums (Elvis Costello), Paul Leary – lead guitars (Butthole Surfers) Trey Gunn – rhythm guitar, Warr guitar (King Crimson) and Denny Fongheiser – djembe, drums, the album was all instrumental.

The John Paul Jones Story Part 4

In 1988 John Paul Jones created a track for Brian Eno’s “MUSIC FOR FILMS III” an album that contains ambient tracks from different artists (Daniel Lanois, Michael Brook, Harold Budd ect.), In 1992 Jones plays Piano on a track from Eno’s “Nerve Net.”

Jones with Eno, Fripp, and others on Nerve Net.

In late 1990, Jones produced, engineered, and performed most instruments, on his daughter Jacinda Jones album, recorded at Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Studio, but the album was never released. In 1992 Jones performed on a track from Peter Gabriel’s album US.

Jones : surdu, bass, keyboards. From “US”

Also in 1992 Jones made all the orchestral arrangements for R.E.M.’s  “Automatic for the People”, and produced alternative rock band Butthole Surfers “Independent Worm Saloon”.

Jones : Bass on Butthole Surfers “The Ballad of Naked Man”

The John Paul Jones Story, Part 3

During his time in Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones produced, wrote most of the material, and played keyboards, bass guitar, and guitars on Madeline Bell’s 1973 album “Comin’ Atcha”. A very different music, from what Jones was doing with Zeppelin. Madeline is an American born Soul/R&B/Jazz singer, active since the early 60’s.

“Comin’ Atcha” (Jones, Bell)

In 1984 Jones recorded a soundtrack album for movie director Michael Winner’s “Scream for Help”, again working with Madeline Bell on some tracks. Yes vocalist Jon Anderson also performs on the album.

“Christie” (Jones) with Jon Anderson

Jones was given the task by suggestion of Jimmy Page, who had produced written and performed on Michael Winner’s previous film soundtrack. Page also co-wrote one track on “Scream for Help” and played guitar on two.

“Crackback”  (Jones,Page)

The John Paul Jones Story, Part 2

If you want to read the first part

John Paul Jones is best known playing Bass and Keybords in Led Zeppelin, but he is a true  multi-instrumentalist, playing a wide range of instruments: harp, double bass, varius types of mandolin, guitar, recorder, koto, lap steel guitar, continuum, autoharp, ukulele, sitar, keyboard guitar, banjo, saxophone, flute, viola, cello, violin, harmonica, pedal steel guitar.

John Paul plays mandolin on Zeppelins “That’s the Way” from 1970.

On Led Zeppelins “Kashmir” John Paul arranged session players for the string and horn sections, but he also used the mellotron, which was part of making “Kashmir” one of the few Zeppelin tracks, in what you might call the progressive rock genre.

John Paul : bass guitar, mellotron, and the arrangement of strings and horn, on Zeppelins “Kashmir” recorded 1974

On what was to become Led Zeppelin’s last album “In Through the Out Door” Jones took a more active part in songwriting, he had been co-writing tracks before, but it was the first album, where some songs was written only by Jones and Plant, Page and Bonham was less active, most likely due to drug and alcohol addictions.

South Bound Saurez (Jones/Plant) John Paul Jones : bass guitar, “honky-tonk” piano

The John Paul Jones Story, Part 1

John Paul Jones is a legend, yet a legend that has somewhat gone under the radar compared to his fellow Led Zeppelin bandmates Page & Plant. Something that is a bit strange, because John Paul has been involved with a multitude of very interesting projects since way back in the mid 60’s. So many projects that it would be impossible to mention them all, but in this series of posts about John Paul, I will try to cover at least some of them.

John Paul arranged and played bass on Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” from the album of the same name, Recorded 67/68

From 1964 up to the formation of Led Zeppelin, John Paul made arrangement for a series of important album by famous artist, The Rolling Stones, Cliff Richart, Marc Bolan, Cat Stevent, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Mariane Faithfull, Bo Diddely just to name a few, the full list is much longer.

John Paul played Bass and Hammon Organ on tracks from Jeff Beck’s  album Truth from 1968

On this track Hammon Organ.

John Paul also participated in recording sessions with The Yardbirds, with his later to become bandmate Jimmi Page, again creating arrangement and playing bass on tracks from their 1967 album “Little Games, and their last single “Goodnight Sweet Josephine”

John Paul playing bass with the The Yardbirds