earliest recording was Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes”, when
he was all of twelve years old.
Since then, he has fashioned a career for himself as a valuable
session singer. It did not hurt
that both of his parents were singers, as well, and that his dad did
musical arrangements for the Smothers Brothers. Jon would follow in his
father’s footsteps, to a point, as a member of The Jimmy Joyce Singers. This family-based vocal group was a
regular staple on The Carol Burnett
Show and The Red Skelton Show.
It was Bruce
Johnston of Beach Boys fame who put Jon in touch with Elton John and helped
to launch his lucrative career as a background vocalist. Recording and touring with Elton John
was a big deal in the ‘70s, and dropping his name didn’t hurt
when it came to getting more work.
More work indeed followed in 1978 on Ted Gardestad’s Blue Virgin Isles, King of
Hearts’ Close But No Guitar,
and Cheryl Ladd’s eponymous solo effort.
exploded for Jon in 1979 with appearances on no less than six albums: Cerrone V: Angelina, Billy
Cobham’s B.C., Yvonne Elliman’s Yvonne, Maxine Nightingale’s Lead Me On, Nigel Olsson’s Nigel, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In 1980, he went on tour with Pink
Floyd to promote the album in London, Los Angeles, and New York: In the meantime, more albums were
being released with his name in the credits: Ex-Raspberries front-man Eric
Carmen’s Tonight You’re
Mine and Barry Manilow’s Barry.
In 1981, as The Wall tour was winding down, Jon
appeared on more self-titled fare:
David London, John O’Banion,
and Juice Newton’s vitamin-rich Juice. He re-united with John O’Banion on Danger
in 1982, the same year that saw Pink
Floyd: The Wall hit the
screens. He also appeared on a
pair of Laura Branigan albums, 1982’s Branigan and
1984’s Self Control. Same for Tom Jones, on whose Love on the Radio and Tender Loving Care he performed in
1984 and 1985, respectively. In
1984, he rejoined Juice Newton for her LP, Can’t Wait All Night. It was All Systems Go with Donna Summer in 1987.
In 1988, he
acted as Choir Conductor on the motion picture, Lady in White. He
collaborated with Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt on 1989’s Cry like a Rainstrom,
Howl Like the Wind. In
1990, he joined Roger Waters for The
Wall: Live in Berlin. Waters used his services again on
his 1992 solo album, Amused to Death,
as did Neil Diamond on The Christmas
Album, released the same year, and Up
on the Roof: Songs from the
Brill Building, in 1993.
In 1995, he
put on his contractor hat and lined up voices for the John Raitt album, Broadway
Legend. He did more
soundtrack work in the mid-to-late ‘90s on children-friendly fare
such as The Brave Little Toaster Goes
to Mars, Dudley Do- Right, George of the Jungle, and The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue.
In 2000, he
returned to The Great White Way on the Johnny Mathis album, Mathis on Broadway. He then joined The John Tesh Project for 2001’s Pure Gospel. On 9th
August 2003, he did a turn on the cello for the PostHouse
Dance Group’s “Summer and Shadows” at the Electric Lodge
in Venice, California.
same time, he received a Bachelor’s degree in cello from California
State University in Northridge.
He would continue to perform background vocals, however, on the
soundtracks of King Kong and Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch, and the
video game God of War, all
released in 2005. More film and
TV work followed in 2006, with an “appearance” on The Family Guy as “Barbershop
Quartet Singer #2” and the soundtrack of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
For the last
several years, he has been a member of Beethoven’s Wig, a group that
takes classical music and sets it to words, in an effort to familiarize
children with it. He has appeared
on Beethoven’s Wig 2: More Sing-Along Symphonies and Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance-Along Symphonies.
In addition to
his myriad credits, Jon is also an active member of the Screen Actors Guild
and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, on whose local
and national boards he has served since 1976.