John Paul Jones

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Use of the name John Paul Jones on sheet music publications in the '30s represents a miniscule pimple in the grand history of the name, occurring roughly halfway between the Revolutionary War and the…
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Use of the name John Paul Jones on sheet music publications in the '30s represents a miniscule pimple in the grand history of the name, occurring roughly halfway between the Revolutionary War and the invention of hard rock, eras in which people named John Paul Jones did important things. Perhaps the name could have had a similar impact in the competitive sheet music market of the '30s had a real human being stood behind it, but this was not the case. Producer, A&R man, label owner, and shade tree songwriter Joe Davis used the name John Paul Jones to cover his tracks in the case of material he concocted in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan.

Davis was known not only for lots of publishing ventures but lots of aliases as well, ranging from the potentially sanctified Reverend Jackson to the lame-brained E.V. Body. As John Paul Jones, his masterwork seems to have been a pompous ditty entitled "I'm a Very Highly Educated Man," a singsong claim that falls somewhere in between "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band)" and "I'm a Midnight Mover." Davis published the song in the same mysterious raft of folios as the famous "Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker" ballad -- written by J. Russel Robinson under the alias of Joe Hoover -- and the eloquent "Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers Lament," another Davis creation but published under the alias of Richard Kuster.