Quincy Jones is one of pop music's most prolific and dependable elder statesmen. He has written, arranged and produced classics for Michael Jackson, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and others.
He was born Quincy Delight Jones Jr., on March 14, 1933, in Chicago. He moved at an early age with his family to Seattle, where he played the trumpet. Studying at the Berklee College of Music, Jones developed an interest in arranging.
When he joined Lionel Hampton's band, with which he toured Europe, Jones helped out as a writer as well. In 1951, Jones moved to New York, where he was soon arranging for such jazz, blues and soul stars as Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and LaVern Baker. In the mid-'50s, Jones was Dizzy Gillespie's musical director.
In the following years, Jones conducted orchestras for Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington and Johnny Mathis. For Basie, Jones composed and arranged LPs, including Li'l Ol' Groovemaker ... Basie (1963).
In the late '60s, Jones began to score for films and TV. Notable works included the TV miniseries "Roots," "The Pawnbroker" (1965) and the 1967 Best Picture Oscar winner, "In the Heat of the Night." Some of Jones' solo LPs included Mellow Madness (1975) and The Dude (1981).
Jones spent 12 years with Mercury Records, where he became the first high-level black executive of a major label, before starting his own label, Qwest.
His high-profile producing efforts included Benson's Give Me the Night (1980) and Jackson's Thriller (RealAudio excerpt of title track), the 1982 album that is the best selling of all time.
In 1985, Jones produced the #1 philanthropy anthem "We Are the World," by a collection of all-star musicians known as USA for Africa.
Jones was the subject of a 1990 documentary: "Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones." In 1995, he received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Back on the Block, featuring "Wee B. Dooinit" and a plethora of guest stars, including Charles, Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, won Jones the 1989 Grammy for Album of the Year.
Q's Jook Joint (1995) featured re-recordings of tracks from Jones' catalogue.
In 1994, Jones led a group of businesspeople that included football Hall of Famer Willie Davis in the formation of Qwest Broadcasting, one of the largest minority-owned broadcasting companies in the U.S. Four years later, he founded Quincy Jones Media Group Inc., a film-development company.
Last year's From Q With Love retrospective included a few new tracks, such as "I'm Yours " a duet with Siedah Garrett and El DeBarge. Reel Quincy Jones featured music from his film and TV work.
Jones has received more Grammy nominations than any performer in history: 76.
Other birthdays on Tuesday: Jim Pons (Turtles), 57; Walter Parazaider (Chicago), 55; Rick Dees, 50; and Taylor Hanson, 17.