"...Vivian Jones has proved such a consistent hit maker over the past twenty years they call him "The Ghost", since whatever the season and no matter how the music changes, he always seems to have at least one song scaling the charts or dominating UK rub-a-dub sessions. A prolific songwriter and producer, he’s earned the accolade of "foundation artist" by virtue of hard work, perseverance and no little inspiration. Not only does Vivian always have something to say, but his distinctive vocals possess a warmth and familiarity that makes his audience believe he’s singing directly to them, rather than the world at large." (John Masouri)
Photo & text provided courtesy of Imperial House Productions.
At the age of ten, Vivian Jones left Trewlaney, Jamaica, in 1967 to settle in England. In 1977 he joined the band the Spartans and began to write his own material. A couple of bands later, Vivian went solo and achieved a number 1 in the reggae charts in 1980 with "Good Morning". A dearth of available session musicians inspired him to form a new band called 'Vivian Jones and The Pieces', whose singles he also produced. In 1981, "Black Echoes" magazine voted him the most talented singer/songwriter in the UK, but the then consistent problem of lack of remuneration for reggae recording artists made him contemplate his future. So, in 1984, he went back to Jamaica, but still ended up recording songs with Roots Radics. He returned to
England and collaborated with Jah Shaka, and began to concentrate on his own music once more.
1988 saw another number 1 in the reggae charts, "Sugar Love", which stayed there for four weeks. "Extra Classic Super Fantastic Love" reached number 3 in August 1989 and stayed in the charts till January 1990, when "The Hurt" was released. The album "Jamaica Love" was released in early 1990 and features Vivian's hit singles from 1988 to 1990. In August, he re-recorded "Good Morning/Feelings", and 1991 saw another five week number 1 with "Strong Love", and the British Reggae Industry awarded him the title of Best Male Artist.
Another trip to Jamaica in 1993 had Vivian recording with of Jamaica's top producers, Bobby Digital and Junior Reid, and he returned to England to record "Ethiopian Eyes/African Love", which proved to be two major hits. Vivian Jones then started work on the "Love Is For Lovers" LP, the title track from which was released in 1994 and got to number 1 in the Midlands and the North of England. Sylvia Tella and Vivian got together in 1995 to record a duet, "Sometimes Love", which was released on Vivian's own record label, Imperial House. The "Love Is For Lovers" LP was then released in June.
1995 was a busy year for him, as also released on various record labels were "Lady Love" (Stingray), "Never Not Love You" (Charm), "Passion Love" (Charm), "Dedicated to H.I.M" (Fashion), "Rebel Woman" (Fashion), and "If You Want Me" (Fashion). While "Ladylove" and "Never Not Love You" were huge hits across the Midlands and the North of England, the London chart could not justify its lack of reaction. This brings to the forefront the fact that 'a prophet is not recognised in his own town'.
1996's achievements started in February for the undaunted Vivian Jones and the Imperial House crew when their first four track EP was born featuring the songs "Nu Chat To Me", "Sometimes Love", "Jah Bless Love" and "Feelings", an adaptation of Burt Bacharach's song.
"Nu Chat To Me" - "catches Vivian in a rudebwoy style that suits him perfectly" reported the Reggae Trade, (Issue 22).
'De riddim cold' - from Big John, Choice FM, Birmingham.
"Jah Bless Love" - 'a beautiful cultural love song' from the Lady J.C., PCRL, Birmingham.
John Levi from Tony Regal Records in Doncaster described Vivian as being 'the John Holt of Europe. You go to the record shop and just ask for the tunes, you don't need to hear them play'
That wasn't all. In April, the successful "Bring Back The Love" was released. In May/June, he performed in New York alongside Peter Hunnigale and the Arrows Sound System. Vivian was reported to have given his best performance to date. "Hypocrites and Fools" was released, followed by a duet with Debbie Gordon, a duet of Mariah Carey and Boyzone's "One Sweet Day".
In 1997 Vivian released "Moment of Magic", another reggae chart hit. This was to be followed by his inclusion in the Jet Star "Reggae Max" series in 1998. They selected 20 tracks to show Vivian's talent as not only a writer and producer, but a singer too. As the new millennium dawned he began working at Jet Star's recently opened Cave studio in NW London, where he soon became an integral part of their bid to revive the art of pristine reggae vocal productions. With a populist and possibly more mature audience in mind, Vivian and his colleagues initiated a run of hit vocal tunes that proved so successful, even Jamaica had to sit up and take notice.
Because he has achieved so many recognised acknowledgements, Vivian is wanting to break into the
National Charts "because though I'm known as a reggae artist, my appreciation of music is international, so I'm ready".