AUDIO: 5,4,3,2,1...Sheffield City Hall date for Manfreds icon Paul Jones who reveals he turned down The Rolling Stones founder

Paul Jones had some of the biggest hits of the Sixties as the original voice of Manfred Mann but today revealed he turned down The Rolling Stones founder.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd November 2016, 5:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:51 am
Sixties icon Paul Jones
Sixties icon Paul Jones

The Do Wah Diddy hitmaker was asked by Stones legend Brian Jones to be the lead singer of a band he was forming with Keith Richards. He said no and they ended up with Mick Jagger.

AUDIO: Paul Jones is on the Maximum Rhythm N’ Blues Tour, which arrives at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, November 27. Listen to his full chat, about his amazing career and the current tour, in conversation with Graham Walker - CLICK HERESixties icon Paul, now aged 74, got his own satisfaction after making his name with The Manfreds - as they are know today almost 55-years later - with hits also including Pretty Flamingo,Sha La La and Ready Steady Go pop TV show theme 5-4-3-2-1.

Mighty Quinn was their other massive hit but sung by Mike d'Abo who replaced him as frontman in 1966.

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Now Paul and Mike are currently on stage together with former bandmates to celebrate the sounds of The Manfreds on a 29 date Maximum Rhythm N’ Blues Tour.

They will be singing their respective hits, while backing one another with vocals on the the songs associated with the other, and are promising other great tunes from their amazing careers.

Mike penned Build Me Up Buttercup, a smash for The Foundations, as well as Handbags and Gladrags, for Rod Stewart, then the Stereophonics - which became the TV theme for Ricky Gervais' hit, The Office.

Paul went on to have a major solo career as a singer, actor, radio and TV star, appearing in everything fro The Sweeney and films to stage musicals, including Guys and Dolls and Kiss Me Kate ad Cats.

Paul Jones is one of the world's greatest blues harmonic players

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.

He is also regarded as one of the world's greatest blues harmonic players, is the current president of the National Harmonica League and awarded Harmonica Player of the Year in the British blues awards of 2010, 2011 and 2012.

And he doesn't have any regrets about turning down Brian Jones who went on to form The Rolling Stones before he drowned in a swimming pool tragedy in 1969, aged just 27.

"Brian and I were good chums. He called me one day and said he was going to take this thing more seriously than we had been doing and he was going to start a band," explained Paul.

If I had taken the job I still wouldn't have been Mick Jagger, says Paul Jones on turning down The Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones.

"He asked if I wanted to be his lead singer and I turned him down. If I had taken the job I still wouldn't have been Mick Jagger. Whatever Mick and Keith Richards did that would have been the Rolling Stones, if you see what I mean.

"Brian was too ambitious not to have a hit. I think Brian had already talked to Keith Richards about forming a band together but Keith didn't say anything to me, it was only Brian who said something. He was very definite. He was referring to a group that he was starting. It wasn't called The Rolling Stones at the time, it was probably just called the Brian Jones band or something like that.

"The thing is I don't know what sort of career I would have had if I had said yes to Brian but all I know is the next time somebody called me up and said we are starting a group do you want to be the lead singer I said yes."

Paul says he has no plans to retire while he still enjoys performing live and recording in the studio. He has worked with big names from Eric Clapton to Mick Abrahams, original Jethro Tull guitarist; played with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Jones is one of the world's greatest blues harmonic players

But he remains relevant and contemporary, singing the praises of young blues artistes he says he has been privileged to work with more recently, including the likes of Laurence Jones and Malaya Blue.

Guests on the current tour include Tina Turner's former backing singer soul star PP Arnold, famed for The First Cut Is The Deepest/Reach Out (I'll Be There) and organist bandleader Zoot Money, whose big hit was Big Time Operator.

He says the hit songs they peform still get the same fan reaction as they did six decades ago but with a little less screaming during the songs themnselves.

Paul said: "The highlight of the Sixties for me was just being on a stage playing music. You can't beat it for me playing music with good musicians.

"I was also going to say listening to the other guys, but some of the time that wasn't possible - there was so much screaming going on you couldn't really hear what anybody else was playing.

"These days it's absolutely terrific. You get complete silence while you are playing, which is wonderful - except of course when the audience joins in which they will do on Mighty Quinn and Do Wah Diddy. Now people actually sit and listen and then applaud wildly at the end of each song.

If I had taken the job I still wouldn't have been Mick Jagger, says Paul Jones on turning down The Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones.

"It is wonderful for us that we can go back and do something that wasn't even a hit, it was an album track back in the Sixtes, and the response to it now is not just applause but yelling, people actually shouting out and whooping and hollering and stuff. Well that's music to my ears but not quite as good as the music the band around me play"

He added: "Fans on this tour will get all our 20 or so hits from the Sixties and because we've got within the band people who had hits outside the band, there will be a sprinkling of all our own stiff as well.

"We also delve into the original early blues jazz and soul influenced repertoire of the Manfreds, so it's going to be an amazing evening. In fact there are so many hits that some only make a brief appearance to fit it all into a two and a half hour show."

He admit he loves to be still in demand.

Paul said: "I love it when people ring me up and say they are doing an album and they want me to play for them. I find it very exciting because when you play other people's music from time to time it forces you to be more a bit more adventurous

"It is the songs that matter and if a song is sufficiently juicy, in other words really attractive, that is the first hurdle covered - then of course you need a good arrangement of it. Sometimes there are songs that are really really good and they just don't quite have the right arrangement to get into the charts. We had a couple of those once in a while and put Manfred Mann's stamp of something or other on them and made hits out of things that hadn't been hits before.

Looking back on his carer he added: "I don't pinch myself but I am very grateful. I recognise that not everybody has been as blessed as I have been.

"These days when I arrive at a venue I thank you Lord I have another chance to get out there and make people happy. I have no plans to retire. When I stop enjoyed I will stop doing it."

* Tickets are from £26.50 for the Maximum Rhythm and Blues concert with The Manfreds at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, November 27. Show starts 7.30pm. For tickets visit Rhythm and Blues Tour Dates:

23rd November Gateshead The Sage

24th November Manchester Palace Theatre

26th November Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

27th November Sheffield City Hall29th November Northampton Royal & Derngate

1st December Crawley The Hawth

2nd December Poole The Lighthouse