In the '80s you didn't have to listen too long before a Howard Jones song would play on the radio. Having scored a Top Ten single in 1983 with his first single, "New Song," the British musician solidified his debut the following year with the full-length effort, Human’s Lib, which was a worldwide hit upon entering the UK album charts at Number One. A string of hit songs followed — "Everlasting Love," "Things Can Only Get Better," and "No One Is To Blame," among them — with which Jones enjoyed a ubiquitous presence on the charts throughout the decade and beyond.
While classically trained on the piano, Jones has spent the better part of his career experimenting with and composing on synthesizers. However, for his latest album, Ordinary Heroes, he felt a change was in order. "I’d been collecting songs for about five years and I played a lot of acoustic shows during that time," Jones says. "I would test out the songs and develop them, really, on the road, which I think is the best way to develop a bunch of songs before you record them. So I had them all written and pretty much arranged before I sat down to start the record."
You had a set of preconceived ideas on how to record this album, right?
I thought the best thing to do in a recording world where you’ve got everything available — you’ve got amazing keyboards and you’ve got amazing software and you can have any sound you want from any country in the world — is to say, “Look, I’m going to give myself a certain set of rules for this record. I’m going to make sure it has a character of its own.” And I thought, right, the best way to do that: one piano part, one guitar part, a string quartet, one backing vocal, drums, and no overdubs of keyboards or big production things going on. Make it all about arrangement. Make it all about straightforward songs so that the lyrics can come through.