The story

It's difficult to overestimate Quincy Jones's contribution to American music. Over the last 60 years he has excelled as a musician, composer, record producer, arranger, conductor and media company executive.

In a career studded with landmarks, Jones produced Michael Jackson's multi-platinum albums "Off The Wall," "Bad" and "Thriller" -- the best selling album of all time -- and produced and conducted "We Are The World," one of the biggest-selling singles in history.

Quincy Delight Jones Jr., known to his friends as "Q," was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago. He moved to Seattle as a child and began playing trumpet aged 12. When he was 14 he befriended a young Ray Charles, who taught him how to arrange music, and Jones was soon playing bebop in nightclubs, backing up the likes of Billie Holiday.

In 1951, Jones won a music scholarship at prestigious Schillinger House, in Boston, but he abandoned his studies to tour with bandleader Lionel Hampton. By the mid-50s, he was arranging and recording for the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington and his old friend Ray Charles. In 1956 he toured with Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band, recording his first album as a leader in the same year.

In 1957, Jones moved to Paris to study music composition and theory, taking a job with Mercury Records' French distributor to pay for his studies. After a European tour proved a financial disaster, the president of Mercury offered him a position at the record label and Jones soon became vice-president at the company. Read full article »

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