During his illustrious career, Jones has worked with most of the greatest singers in pop history, including Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and Franklin, which makes him uniquely qualified to pay tribute to inimitable vocalists. “From the time that Dinah Washington first told me that Aretha was the ‘next one’ when she was 12 years old until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar upon which every female singer has and will be measured,” Jones wrote. “And she did it with the professionalism, class, grace and humility that only a true Queen could.”
“I treasured every moment that we spent together, from working in the recording studio to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or simply hanging in the kitchen, and I will miss her dearly,” Jones added. “R.I.P. Ree-Ree. You will reign as the Queen forever.”
Franklin enlisted Jones to help with her 1973 album Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky). Jones co-produced the LP; he also helped engineer several tracks and co-wrote “Just Right Tonight,” which featured a piano solo from the prodigious Beatles collaborator Billy Preston.
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) spawned a Top 40 hit, the majestic “Angel.” The LP also includes “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha,” Franklin’s stunning and still under-appreciated version of song co-written by Bobby Womack.
Jones later coordinated the music for President Clinton’s inauguration festivities in 1993. He called on Franklin to add her peerless vocals to a lineup that included both Charles and Jackson.