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Paul Jones (born Paul Pond, 24 February 1942, Portsmouth, England) is an English singer, actor, harmonica player, and radio personality and television presenter.

Career

In 1962 Jones became resident singer with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated (alongside Long John Baldry, both towering out above a shorter third vocalist, the aspiring Mick Jagger). Jones then went on to be the vocalist and harmonica player of the successful 1960s group Manfred Mann. He had several Top Ten hits with Manfred Mann before going solo in July 1966. He remained with His Master's Voice.

He was less successful without the band than they were with his replacement, but did have a few hits, notably with "High Time" (1966) and "I've Been a Bad, Bad Boy" and "Thinkin' Ain't For Me" (both 1967) before attempting to branch into acting. While his solo recording career was barely successful in the UK, it never got off the ground in the US.

His performance opposite model Jean Shrimpton in the 1967 film Privilege, directed by Peter Watkins, did not bring the hoped-for stardom, although the film later became a cult classic. Privilege, which unsurprisingly cast Jones as a pop singer, saw him sing a few songs, including "Set Me Free", which was covered by Patti Smith in the mid 1970s.

From 1966 he also worked as an actor, first in films and television, and then on stage, including West End shows such as Conduct Unbecoming (also on Broadway), plus the musicals Cats and Pump Boys and Dinettes. He has worked with directors such as Sir Richard Eyre, Peter Gill and Toby Robertson.

In 1972 Jones recorded Crucifix in a Horseshoe with White Cloud, a New York based session group featuring Teddy Wender on keyboards and Kenny Kosek on fiddle.

In 1976, he performed the role of Peron on the original concept album of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita alongside Julie Covington as Eva, Colm Wilkinson as Che and Barbara Dickson as The Mistress. His gold albums include one for Evita.

It was not until the 1990s that Jones became a familiar face on television in the children's series, Uncle Jack. In the meantime, he enjoyed a parallel career as presenter of radio programs focusing mainly on rhythm and blues, notably a long-running weekly show on BBC Radio 2.

He is also a member of The Blues Band and The Manfreds, a group reuniting many original members of Manfred Mann, and has also played harmonica as a session musician on recordings by artists including Gerry Rafferty, Dave Edmunds, Katie Melua, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Marti Webb.

In 2001 Showcase appeared on Hallmark Records. His most recent solo album is 2009's Starting All Over Again on Continental Record Services (aka CRS) in Europe and Collectors' Choice in the US. It was produced by Carla Olson, and featured Eric Clapton, Jake Andrews, Ernie Watts, Percy Sledge, Alvino Bennett, Tony Marsico, Mike Thompson, Tom Jr Morgan, Oren Waters and Luther Waters.

On 4 May 2009 Jones and his harmonica featured in a song during a concert by Joe Bonamassa in the Royal Albert Hall, London. That same month saw the single release of "I'm Your Kingpin" by Nick Vernier Band with Paul Jones on harmonica. In 2010, Jones also featured on two versions of "You’re Wrong" from Nick Vernier Band's Sessions album.

Jones is currently the president of the National Harmonica League. and has been awarded harmonica player of the year in the British Blues awards 2010

Personal life

Jones attended Portsmouth Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford, although he did not graduate.

Jones was first married to novelist and reviewer Sheila MacLeod, and is currently married to the former actress, and latterly Christian speaker, Fiona Hendley-Jones He converted to Christianity in the mid 1980s as the result of being invited by Cliff Richard to a Luis Palau evangelistic event. Jones had appeared opposite Richard in the 1960s, on a television debate show where he had, at the time, opposed Richard's viewpoint.