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Mick Jones

He's a producer, he's a keyboardist, he's a singer, but he's mostly known as a guitarist, the main writer and the leader of "Foreigner". Here are some interesting facts about Mick Jones who is celebrating his birthday today.

(Photo: Vintage Guitar)

1. He was born on 27 December 1944 to a middle class family, in Portsmouth in the south of England. His full name is Michael Leslie Jones.

2. From a very young age he knew he wanted to be a musician and taught himself to play the guitar.

3. He began his musical career in 1960, when he was only 16, in the band "Nero and the Gladiators". The band played instrumental rock and roll music and in 1961 released two successful singles.

4. When the band disbanded Jones was 18 years old. He then gone on tour in France, as a member of the backing band of Dick Rivers.

5. Jones '"affair" with Rivers ended after he had an affair with Rivers' fiancée and went to live with her in Paris.

6. Jones spent the next eight years in France, as a songwriter, session player and orchestral arranger. Among other things, he worked and wrote songs for Johnny Hallyday, who was known as the French "Elvis". In one of the songs he wrote for Hallyday "A tout casser" Jimmy Page was featured on guitar.


7. With Hallyday, Jones got to travel the world and live the good life. He toured with "The Beatles" in Paris, and connected with musicians such as Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott.

8. At one point Jones felt he had exhausted himself and was looking for a new challenge. He returned to England in 1971 and joined Gary Wright from "Spooky Tooth" to formed the band "Wonderwheel".

9. In 1972 Gary Wright re-formed "Spooky Tooth" and added Mick Jones as a guitarist.

10. That same year Jones also managed to play on Peter Frampton's "Wind of Change" album.

11. By 1974, Jones had released three studio albums with "Spooky Tooth". That same year they realized they were more successful in the US than at home in the UK, so they made a collective decision to move to New York.

12. That did not stop Jones from playing on George Harrison's "Dark Horse" album that year.

13. But the band's move to the US that did them no good. Soon after their move Gary Wright who was also Mick Jones' roommate decided to break up the band and to start a solo career.

14. Following the dissolution of "Spooky Tooth" Jones was left in New York, unemployed, he said that at this point he seriously considered returning to England and starting medical school or starting dental school.

15. He later joined "Leslie West Band", but they also disbanded, so Jones decides that this time he is going to form his own band. A band that he will lead and which he can direct it's musical directions.

16. He immediately starts recruiting the musicians who will accompany him, with half of the lineup being "American" musicians, including keyboardist Al Greenwood, bassist Ed Gagliardi and singer Lou Gramm and the other half is "British" and includes former "King Crimson" multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, drummer Dennis Elliott and Mick Jones himself.

(Photo: Hulton Archive)

17. Jones chose the band's name - "Foreigner", because half of the band was British and the other half was American.

18. "Foreigner"'s first album came out in 1977 and was an immediate huge success. It included hits like "Cold as Ice", "Feels Like the First Time", "Long, Long Way from Home", "Starrider" and more, which soon made it one of the best-selling debut albums in the US.

19. By 2009 the band released nine studio albums and became one of the best-selling bands in the world, with sales of over 80 million copies.

20. Jones co-produced all of the band's albums and co-wrote most of their songs with singer Lou Gramm.

21. He also wrote the band's most successful single "I Want to Know What Love Is", on his own.

22. Beyond playing the guitar, Jones also plays keyboards, bass, percussion and sings background vocals.

23. On the band's first albums Jones was also the lead singer on one or two songs from each album. For example "Starrider" and "Woman Oh Woman" from the debut album.

24. Along with his membership in "Foreigner" Mick also became a sought-after producer who produced albums by artists such as "Van Halen", "Bad Company", "The Cult" and Billy Joel.

25. Jones co-wrote the song "Bad Love" from the album "Journeyman", with Eric Clapton.

26. To date, Jones has released one and only solo album - "Mick Jones" from 1989.

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