Howard Jones Joins The 80s Cruise
If you think playing the show lounge of the Celebrity Summit is the most unusual gig in the career of Howard Jones, then maybe you’d like to get to know him better.
“I played in Gorky Park once, in Russia, the weekend of the Gorbachev-Reagan summit,” Howard told me during a 2010 interview. “That was really amazing because the audience actually knew my songs, and the band that had been on before me had been hunted by the KGB. That was pretty amazing.”
There will be no KGB on The 80s Cruise, unless someone is dressing up as characters from the movie “Spies Like Us.” (Come to think of it, that’s a good idea.)
The English musician and songwriter was a hit machine during the 1980s, scoring 10 top 40 singles, including tunes like “New Song,” “What Is Love?,” “Like To Get To Know You Well” and “No One Is To Blame.”
At perhaps the height of his career, he was invited to perform at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid. It’s a memory he’s always happy to recount.
“I was very, very happy to be a part of that,” Howard told me. “I know I only played one song — “Hide and Seek” — but that song is me. I wasn’t one of the ones pushing to get hold of the microphone. I was just happy to be there and share the stage with those amazing artists.”
Go into the bedroom of the most devoted ’80s fans and you’ll likely see that classic poster of Live Aid’s closing moments, with Howard right at the front of the stage, grinning with complete satisfaction toward the monstrous crowd assembled that summer day.
“It was a euphoric day,” he says now. “I don’t think you could ever surpass that day in the sense of occasion.”
Live Aid catapulted Howard’s career forward both in the UK and in the United States. An earlier song that hadn’t attracted much attention, “No One Is To Blame,” was re-recorded in 1986 with the help of Phil Collins, who also added his own backing vocals and drum work. The result was the first of Howard’s two No. 1 hits on the adult contemporary charts and a video for MTV that highlighted the charismatic singer and his signature spiky hairdo.
“I think my hair might have helped, but it wasn’t a contrivance,” Howard told a British interviewer in 2015. “I always attracted more boys than girls — they loved the technology and the lyrics.”
These days, Howard’s signature spikes have evolved into a more closely cropped gray do, but his voice and enthusiasm during live performances remain just as strong. Now 61, Howard is a regular fixture on the road. He’s appearing this summer, along with Barenaked Ladies and OMD, on the Last Summer on Earth tour.
The songs he’ll feature on that tour and during The 80s Cruise will continue to demonstrate his contagiously positive outlook on life.
“When I started out, I’d been working in a factory a year before I got signed,” he told me back in 2010. “I’d been working on the shop floor. Obviously, my dream was to be pursuing my music. I said to the guys there, ‘One day, I’m going to leave here, because I got to pursue what I really love.’ And they kind of shrugged their shoulders. But one day I did walk out. And I think a lot of the momentum of my career was about wanting to encourage people to realize their own dreams as well. I wanted to put that in the music — the idea that you could influence your destiny by deciding you wanted something different.”
At the end of my interview with Howard, I confessed I had once published a ranking of the happiest songs of the 80s and had dubbed his tune “New Song” as the No. 1 pick.
“I’m thrilled!” he exclaimed to my surprise. “I’m actually thrilled about that!”
But of all his life-affirming gifts to us, had I picked the right one?
“Yes, I think so,” he said. “It was me, first time in the studio. I was so excited about getting to do what I wanted to do. ‘Don’t crack up. Bend your brain. See both sides. Throw off your mental chains.’ It is my manifesto.”
Steve Spears is the creator and co-host of the Stuck in the ’80s blog and podcast. Steve also is the co-host of the Big Eighties Trivia Challenges on board The 80s Cruise. Parts of this interview originally appeared in the Tampa Bay Times. Listen to his podcasts at www.sit80s.com.
Catch up with Howard Jones during The 80s Cruise. Make your reservation online or call 585.653.8746
If you loved the 80s (like, who didn’t?), The 80s Cruise is a perfect vacation for you, as it offers everything you’d imagine and more. There’s great live music, opportunities to meet musicians and celebrities, dress-up events, wild activities and, of course, stops at some of the best ports in the Caribbean. Plus, on Celebrity Cruises, you’ll enjoy a 4-star sailing experience. In fact, Cruise Critic, one of the most respected guides available, gave Celebrity excellent ratings for dining, décor, cabins, service and value. And their latest survey was completed before the Summit was renovated last year. Just imagine how swanky the ship is now.
Don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy a luxurious vacation at sea while partying like you did when you were still hitting up the ’rents for cash. You know it will be totally worth it!
The production team just completed the site inspection of Celebrity Summit, and could not be more excited!
Cruise Director Dane Butcher, Production Manager Joey Fairchild and Production Manager Brian Rachko sailed on Celebrity Summit for an entire week, and they all agreed on the following:
— Our new ship is beautifully appointed and is furnished.
— The venues on the ship for entertainment are awesome, and the three main venues are larger than last year’s current ship. More room to par-tay!
— Plus there are four to five other venues that we will use for our awesome activities and excellent events.
— There are at least seven specialty restaurants on the ship, each of which is beautifully presented and distinctive in its cuisine.
— The pool area is large and open and will provide a fun venue for concerts, catchin’ rays and on-deck games like giant Twister.
— You can shop ‘til you drop on Summit’s clothing and gift stores.
— When it’s time to detox and unwind, the ship has a Canyon Ranch Spa and a spectacular fitness room.
— The Rooftop Terrace offers a unique and exciting venue that can provide either a private setting or a party location.
— The staff on the ship and the representatives from Celebrity are excited to welcome our 80s guests on Celebrity Summit.
Don’t miss our epic party on a luxurious cruise ship! Make your reservation for The 80s Cruise online or call 585.653.8746 to speak with a cruise agent.