People & Places
A Brief History
Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 on Chicago’s South Side. He played trumpet with Ray Charles and bandleader, Lionel Hampton, which led to work as an arranger.
Jones settled in New York where, throughout the 50's, he wrote charts for Tommy Dorsey, Gene
Krupa, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley and Ray Charles.
After several years on the road, where he financed his own band, only to end up in huge debt, Jones moved back to New York after Irving Green hired him as Mercury Records Music Director. In 1963 he was named V.P., the first African American to hold such a position in a white-owned company.
I first met Quincy Jones in 1963 when Dave White and I were approached by Mercury Records. They liked our music and wanted to sign us. In a meeting with Quincy Jones, Irving Green, Shelby Singleton and Irwin Steinberg, we played for them a new song we had been working on called “You Don’t Own Me.” They flipped over it. We left that day feeling pretty good!
About a month or so later, we met Lesley Gore and played “You Don’t Own Me” to her. She loved it and brought it to Quincy, who was looking for new material for her and agreed to put it in the album. On the day of the recording, Dave and I walked in during rehearsals and found the sound was different than we had envisioned it. Quincy sent us onto the floor to work with arranger, Claus Ogermann. After it was finished, Quincy asked everyone in the studio to write on a piece of paper which song on the album they thought would be a hit. Everyone wrote “You Don’t Own Me.” That was one of the great moments of my life.
*Although Quincy Jones was not born in Philly and never lived there, he was an important part of my career with Lesley Gore, and it is with this in mind that I include him on my Philly website.
What Happened Next?
Quincy Jones began writing motion picture scores, and with the success of his first score, The Pawnbroker, he moved to Los Angeles, where he was in constant demand as a composer. He would write over 33 successful film scores as well as TV theme music for Ironside, Sanford and Son and The Bill Cosby Show.
Quincy Jones' career spans over 70 years in the entertainment industry with a record 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, and a Grammy Legend Award in 1992. He has composed over 50 motion picture and television scores, and earned international acclaim as producer of the historic “We Are The World” single. He also produced the best selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”