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Gold Meets... Paul Jones: Manfred Mann singer reveals how he almost fronted The Rolling Stones

23 September 2022, 11:10

Paul Jones almost fronted the Rolling Stones
Paul Jones almost fronted the Rolling Stones. Picture: Smooth/Getty

By Tom Eames

Paul Jones was one of the UK's best frontmen of the 1960s when he sang on several of Manfred Mann's biggest hits.

Performing the likes of 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy' and 'Pretty Flamingo', Paul Jones scored several big hits with the Manfreds as the beat boom took over the charts.

However, Paul could have been part of an even bigger band had things gone a different way.

In an exclusive interview with Gold, Paul revealed how he was once asked to join a new band by a certain Brian Jones, before they became the Rolling Stones.

Watch the full interview exclusively on Global Player here

"I actually had just done an audition for one of those ballet bands, as we used to call them. It was a dance band, you know? I passed the audition," Paul told Gold's James Bassam. "They had work waiting, and there was money in it.

"And Brian said, 'I’m forming a band. Do you want to be my singer?' I thought, 'Hmmm'. He said, 'I’m going to be rich and famous.' And I thought, 'Yeah, of course you are…'

"I had this gig already, you know, and I said, 'No, I’m getting money, and you haven’t got any.' So that was one reason for turning him down. But I just thought he was wildly optimistic.

"But I also thought: I’m off and running. Because at the same time as working with that dance band, I was sitting in with Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies and anybody else who would point at me and beckon. So I was kind of thinking, 'Yeah, I’ll do this. But I’ll do popular music and stuff for a living, and then I can do the blues as a hobby. And Brian will wind up doing the blues as a hobby as well, because nobody makes a living from the blues.'

"Alexis Korner was the biggest thing in Britain as far as blues was concerned, and every member of his band was in several other bands as well, and some had day jobs.

Paul Jones (far left) with Manfred Mann, 1965
Paul Jones (far left) with Manfred Mann, 1965. Picture: Getty

"So I said, 'There’s no money in that.' So I said no. People say, 'You must regret that you weren’t in The Rolling Stones.' If I’d joined it, it wouldn’t have been The Rolling Stones."

Paul also opened up about his decision to quit Manfred Mann and pursue a solo career later in the decade.

Paul went on to become a highly successful singer, performer, stage actor, and broadcaster, and he's now back with a brand new album.

The Blues is a 21-track compilation of Paul's recordings that encompasses his earliest days with Manfred Mann, as well as with The Blues Band, Mick Pini, Guidi Toffoletti's Blues Society, and solo recordings to the present day.

The album is released on September 30.

Watch the full interview exclusively on Global Player here.

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