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"Nathan Jones"
Single by The Supremes
from the album Touch
Released April 15, 1971
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A): December 17, 1970
Genre R&B, pop rock, Northern soul
Length 3:04
Label Motown
M 1182
Writer(s) Leonard Caston
Kathy Wakefield
Producer Frank Wilson
The Supremes singles chronology
"River Deep - Mountain High" (with Four Tops)
"Nathan Jones"
"You Gotta Have Love in Your Heart" (with Four Tops)

"Nathan Jones" is a hit single recorded by The Supremes, released in spring 1971 (see 1971 in music) on the Motown label. Produced by Frank Wilson and written by Leonard Caston and Kathy Wakefield, "Nathan Jones" was one of eight Top 40 hits the Supremes recorded after its original frontwoman, Diana Ross, left the act for a solo career.



The song centers around a woman's longing for her former lover, a man named Nathan Jones, who left her nearly a year ago "to ease [his] mind." Suffering through the long separation ("Winter's past, spring, and fall") without any contact or communication between herself and Jones, the narrator is no longer in love with Jones, remarking that "Nathan Jones/you've been gone too long".

Supremes Version

"Nathan Jones" is an unusual entry among the Supremes' singles repertoire for several reasons, the least of which is the fact that all three members of the group (Jean Terrell, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong) sing the song's lead vocal in unison. Clydie King was asked to sing along with the group to give the song a more fuller vocal sound. While working on the song, producer Frank Wilson had in mind a rock music style of phrasing for the song, resulting in the unison vocals. In addition, Wilson had his engineer, Cal Harris, use what can (now) be considered classic studio sensibilities to take the Funk Brothers' backing tracks for "Nathan Jones" and give them a phase shifting sound at various points during the song. This was accomplished by either using a second recorder (as the Beatles would have done) or (less likely) an outboard processor such as the blue faced MXR flanger.

Released as a single on April 15, 1971 with "Happy is a Bumpy Road" as the B-side, "Nathan Jones" peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, number-eight on the Billboard R&B chart, and number-five on the UK Singles Chart. "Nathan Jones" was the most successful single released from the Supremes' fourteenth regular studio album, Touch.



Chart (1971) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 16
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 8
UK Singles Chart 5
Canadian Singles Chart (RPM) 15

Bananarama version

"Nathan Jones"
Single by Bananarama
from the album Wow!, Greatest Hits Collection and Rain Man: Original Soundtrack
Released November 1988
Format 7" single, 12" single, CD single
Recorded August 1988
Genre Pop
Length 5:12 (Extended Remix)
3:19 (Single Version)
3:03 (Psycho 7-inch Edit)
Label London
Writer(s) Leonard Caston
Kathy Wakefield
Producer Stock Aitken Waterman
Bananarama singles chronology
"Love, Truth and Honesty"
"Nathan Jones"

"Nathan Jones" was covered by British girl group Bananarama. They first recorded it on their 1987 album Wow! with their original line-up. Some of the vocals were sampled on their "I Heard a Rumour" B-side song "Clean Cut Boy".

After Siobhan Fahey was replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan, Bananarama re-recorded the song (with completely new vocal and instrumental arrangements) for the Rain Man soundtrack. This new version was also included on their Greatest Hits Collection. It was then remixed and released as a single, peaking at number fifteen on the UK singles chart with Keren Woodward yet again playing bass guitar on that track.

Music video

The music video featured the girls performing the song with vogue-style choreography with several male dancers dressed in British-style suits, hats, and umbrellas. Their performance is interspersed with shots of them strutting down a fashion runway in flowing dresses and oversized sun-hats.

Individual shots of the girls are accompanied by floating images of fruits and art objects, such as vases and statues.

The video was nominated for best music video at the BRIT Awards, but lost to Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal.


U.S. 12-inch single 886 481-1
  1. "Nathan Jones" (Psycho Mix) - (6:27)
  2. "Nathan Jones" (Instrumental Dub Mix) - (3:19)
  3. "Nathan Jones" (Bass Tone Mix) - (5:33)
UK CD single NANCD 18
  1. "Nathan Jones" (Extended Version) - (5:12)
  2. "Venus" (Extended Version) - (7:23)
  3. "Once in a Lifetime" (Album Version) - (4:06)
UK 12-inch vinyl NANX 18
  1. "Nathan Jones" (Extended Version)
  2. "Nathan Jones" (Instrumental Dub Mix)
  3. "Once in a Lifetime" (Album Version)
Japanese 3"-inch CD single P13L-37010
  1. "Nathan Jones" (Psycho Mix) - (6:27)
  2. "I Want You Back" (Extended European Version) - (7:56)
  3. "Once in a Lifetime" (Album Version) - (4:06)
Other versions



Chart (1988) Peak
UK Singles Chart 15
Australian Music Report singles 61
New Zealand singles 22
Dutch Singles chart 73


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