Janie Jones was the real-life inspiration for the song of the same name on the Clash's first album, though few of the group's American fans ever learned the full story behind this British weirdo. A mid-'60s cabaret performer with more of a snarl than a voice, she was more renowned in London for her parties than her music, and gained some of her biggest headlines in 1964 by attending a film premiere in a topless gown. She had a small U.K. hit single (#46) in 1965 with the Halloweenish novelty "Witches Brew," and issued several other 45s in the 1960s that, with their burlesque camp, were a lot closer in spirit to Mae West than the swinging '60s. When she tried to play it straighter with songs by the likes of Jimmy Webb and British hit songwriters Carter/Lewis, her vocal shortcomings were all too apparent. She remained on the fringes of the public eye with a marriage to songwriter John Christian Dee (author of the Pretty Things' great early British Invasion raunch classic "Don't Bring Me Down"), but didn't really hit the papers until a seven-year prison sentence in 1973 on a charge of controlling prostitutes. After her release from jail in 1977, she got Joe Strummer to write a song for her, "House of the Ju-Ju Queen," which she recorded with the Clash in the studio; it was released on a 1983 single credited to Janie Jones and the Lash. She published her memoirs, The Devil and Miss Jones, in 1993.
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