Mr. Jones (Counting Crows song)

Mr. Jones (Counting Crows song)
"Mr. Jones"
Single by Counting Crows
from the album August and Everything After
Released 1993
Format CD single
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:32
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Adam Duritz, David Bryson
Producer T-Bone Burnett
Counting Crows singles chronology
"Mr. Jones"
"Round Here"
Music sample
Counting Crows - "Mr. Jones"

"Mr. Jones" is a song by American alternative rock band Counting Crows. It is the lead single and third track from their debut album, August and Everything After (1993). It was the band's first radio hit and remains their most popular single.



"Mr. Jones" entered the American Top 40 on February 19, 1994, and entered the Top 10 five weeks later. On April 23, "Mr. Jones" passed R. Kelly's "Bump n' Grind", taking the number-one position (which it surrendered, the following week, to Prince's "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World").[1]

The band's surprise success happened to coincide with Kurt Cobain's death. These events took a significant toll on Adam Duritz, the lead vocalist and principal songwriter. Said Duritz in an interview: "We heard that, that [Kurt] had shot himself. And it really scared the hell out of me because I thought, these things in my life are getting so out of control...".[2] These events and feelings were the basis for "Catapult", the first track of Recovering the Satellites.

The primary topic of the song itself is perhaps how two struggling musicians (Duritz and bassist Marty Jones of The Himalayans) "want to be big stars," believing that "when everybody loves me, I will never be lonely." Duritz would later recant these values, and in later concert appearances, "Mr. Jones" was played in a subdued acoustic style, if at all.[3] Most directly referencing this, on the live CD Across a Wire Duritz changes the lyrics "We all wanna be big, big stars, but we got different reasons for that" to "We all wanna be big, big stars, but then we get second thoughts about that," and "when everybody loves you, sometimes that's just about as funky as you can be" to "when everybody loves you, sometimes that's just about as fucked up as you can be."[4]

The song is often interpreted differently. Some believe it is a thinly veiled reference to the protagonist of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man",[5] a theory supported by the lyric "I wanna be Bob Dylan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky." Others have suggested that Mr. Jones refers to flamenco guitarist David Serva (Marty Jones's father), although the lyric "she dances while his father plays guitar" seems to suggest Mr Jones' father is another separate character within the song. Another possibility is that Mr. Jones is an imaginary friend.

When the Counting Crows performed the song during the Recovering the Satellites tour, it would often include the first verse from The Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star?" This version was often acoustic and was even performed on VH1's Storytellers.

According to Duritz, the song title had a hand in the naming by Jonathan Pontell of "Generation Jones," the group of people born between 1954 and 1965. "I feel honored that my song Mr. Jones was part of the inspiration for the name 'Generation Jones.'" [6]

Cover versions

The band Hidden in Plain View did a cover of "Mr. Jones" which was released in 2004 on the album Dead and Dreaming: An Indie Tribute to the Counting Crows.

In 2008, the song was parodied by The Fringemunks to recap Fringe episode 1.07, "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones."[7]

Track listings

  1. "Mr. Jones" (LP version) – 4:32
  2. "Raining in Baltimore" (LP version) – 4:42
  3. "Mr. Jones" (acoustic version) – 4:44
  4. "Rain King" (acoustic version) – 5:10


Chart (1993–1994) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[8] 13
Austrian Singles Chart[8] 27
Dutch Mega Top 100[8] 42
French SNEP Singles Chart[8] 7
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[8] 49
UK Singles Chart[9] 28
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[10] 25
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks[10] 2
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[10] 2

External links


  1. ^ Rock on the Net
  2. ^ The New Counting Crows FAQ
  3. ^ Ibid., FAQ
  4. ^ Lyrics of Mr. Jones's live version on
  5. ^ PBS
  6. ^
  7. ^ Fringemunks Web site
  8. ^ a b c d e "Mr. Jones", in various singles charts (Retrieved March 26, 2009)
  9. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved March 26, 2009)
  10. ^ a b c Billboard (Retrieved March 26, 2009)

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