Linda Jones was a well-known R&B and soul singer with a gospel-influenced style due to her family background. Despite the fact that her musical career was cut short due to health issues, her popularity drew a large number of fans. Jones was born on December 14, 1944, in Newark, New Jersey.
Jones joined her siblings’ family singing group, The Jones Singers, when she was six years old. The group sang and performed gospel music, which greatly influenced her later style. Jones began performing rhythm and blues in her adolescence. Jones worked at a pie factory in addition to performing in local clubs. Jerry Harris introduced her to record producer George Kerr after one of her performances.
Jones signed a contract and, at the age of 19, released her first solo record as Linda Lane in 1963.
In May 1967, Jones released the single “Hypnotized,” written by Richard Poindexter and Robert Poindexter, on Loma Records, a Warner Bros. Records Rhythm and Blues subsidiary. The song quickly rose to the top of the charts and became her biggest hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard R&B chart and number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Jones released “What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad)” in September 1967, reaching no. 61 on the Billboard 100 and no. 8 on the Billboard R&B chart, giving her back-to-back top ten R&B singles. Jones signed with Neptune Records after Warner Bros. cancelled Loma Records in 1968. Neptune Records was founded by Philadelphia writers and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
While Jones’ influence and style were well-known, her musical career was cut short due to health issues. According to her daughter, Terry Jones, after returning home from a 1972 performance, Jones was resting in her room when her mother entered the room to wake her up for the next performance and discovered Jones in a diabetic coma. Jones was rushed to the hospital, where he died on March 14, 1972, at the age of 28.
Following Jones’ death, three albums of previously unreleased material were released on Joe and Sylvia Robinson’s All-Platinum Label. Terry Jones and artist and producer Helen Bruner released a posthumous album featuring Linda Jones’ vocals in 2008. The following year, one of her songs, “Baby I Know,” was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Jones’ “Your Precious Love” Live album was released in 2009 on the Phil’erzy Productions label, honoring Linda Jones on what would have been her 65th birthday in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey.