Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Juanita Jones — In The Driver’s Seat At ASCAP?

Billboard‘s special October 19, 1968 issue devoted to ‘The World of Country Music‘ includes a 2-page article by Bill Williams – “Ladies in the Driver’s Seat” – that highlights a number of Nashville’s powerful female executives who worked without fanfare behind the scenes within the country music industry. Williams devotes one paragraph to Juanita Jones:

For ASCAP, for several years, has been under the astute direction of Juanita Jones, for whom Stu Phillips saw fit to record an (ASCAP) RCA song during this past year [see below]. Right up to the big expansion, it has been Mrs. Jones who has mother-henned, overseen, and guided the destinies of the growing list of ASCAP writers and assorted publishers, artists, and hangers-on of the music community. Juanita has been not only everybody’s buddy, but a charmer herself. With a substantial background of music experience, her credits include those years with Chet Atkins at RCA.

Juanita Jones

Written by Paul Evans & Paul Parnes

Arranged by Brenton Banks

Produced by Chet Atkins

LINK to streaming audio

[B-side in the US, Canada & South Africa]

Jones herself would write a piece trumpeting the success that led to the groundbreaking of ASCAP’s new building in Nashville for Record World‘s October 19, 1968 edition:

New ASCAP Bldg. Signifies Most Prosperous Year

By Juanita Jones

ASCAP Mgr., Nashville

This has been a most prosperous year, the biggest in the history of ASCAP, and that takes in over a half a century … 54 years, to be exact. It has been only six years since our Nashville office was opened, but they have been such successful years that ASCAP is now putting down roots with an entirely new building.

Nashville has enjoyed the most fantastic, breath-taking growth ever known in the music industry and is destined for even a greater and more important future. This has been brought about by countless dedicated people who have contributed unstintedly of their talents and skills.

ASCAP is grateful for the privilege of being part of this most important center and is looking forward to a bright future of serving the music industry.

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That very same issue of Record World — humorously enough — includes a full-page ASCAP ad that lists “Juanita Jones” as one of ASCAP’s country music award winners for 1967-1968:

Record World

October 19, 1968

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Three years prior, Jones could be seen in white gloves putting on the charm offensive at an ASCAP event connected with the 1965 Disc Jockey convention in Nashville.

Juanita Jones at ASCAP Cocktail Party

Record World

Oct. 22, 1965 convention event

Left photo = Norman Racusin, RCA VP; Juanita Jones, ASCAP; Harry Jenkins, ASCAP; Al Ballantine, RCA

Right photo = Paul Vance, ASCAP writer; Arnold Maxin, head of Big 3 Music; Juanita Jones; Lee Pockriss, ASCAP writer.

That same year, when asked, “What does the future hold?” for Billboard‘s ‘World of Country Music‘ issue, Juanita Jones would voice this optimistic outlook:

Never in its history has the future of country music looked as bright as it does today. In recent years, coun- try music has entered the mainstream of American popular music. Many country songs are familiar favorites, but a good many others are being written by young songwriters who apply ancient musical forms to modern day situations. For more than 50 years ASCAP has encouraged and fostered this `heart’ music of the nation and looks forward to an un- limited future for America’s best loved commodity.”

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Foreshadowing — In November 1964, songwriter Paul Evans was photographed at an ASCAP Country Music Awards ceremony with Juanita Jones, as documented below.

Record World

November 28, 1964

History cannot help but wonder

Did this ASCAP country music awards event helped sow the seeds for Evans’ Top 20 Country hit three years later about an ill-fated love that dared not speak its name?

As Billboard‘s Bill Williams jokingly remarked in his ‘Nashville Scene‘ column for the Oct. 7, 1967 edition:

The new Stu Phillips release rings a recognizable bell in this area. It’s titled “Juanita Jones.” Nashville’s Juanita Jones heads the ASCAP office in this city. Naturally, the tune is licensed by ASCAP.

Juanita Jones

2nd track on the LP

Liner notes by Paul Evans

The Chet Atkins/ASCAP connection deepens considerably when one learns about the agreement that was struck for ASCAP’s massive “new” Nashville complex which replaced three existing structures, as reported in Billboard‘s October 12, 1968 edition:

Among other things, the building will house an executive office for [ASCAP’s regional manager, Ed] Shea, an office for Nashville manager Juanita Jones, other offices, and a press relations room which will include telephones, typewriters and a secretary at the disposal of newsmen.

Both the land and the building are owned by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, and will be leased to ASCAP on a long-term basis. It will be built to exact specifications for the performing rights society, and will contain a board of director’s room.

ASCAP Building

(image courtesy of Nashville Public Library)

“We plan to hold the first ASCAP board meeting outside of New York in our new building as soon as it is completed,” Shea said. “There also will be an archives office.”

With Chet Atkins & Bobbie Gentry @ ASCAP ceremony

October 20, 1967

(image courtesy of Bobbie Gentry)

In April 1969, The Country Music Foundation would elect Jones as one of its new officers — but then the big headline just four months later:

BillboardAug. 23, 1969

Mrs. Jones

Mrs. Jones Exits ASCAP In Nashville

NASHVILLE — ASCAP moved quietly into its new building here this week without the services of Juanita Jones, its manager here for eight years.

Mrs. Jones, in a sudden action, wired her resignation to Stanley Adams “effective immediately.” She said the action was for “personal reasons.”

Mrs. Jones formed the ASCAP office after a long association with Chet Atkins at RCA Victor. She maintained her offices in the Victor building long after separate offices were established in another section.

Shortly over a year ago ASCAP hired Eddie Shea, who then was executive director of the Chamber of Commerce here, to move the licensing organization in new directions. Placed in charge of ASCAP operations throughout the South East, he has sought to establish additional dimensions.

During the year, Adams held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new ASCAP building, and announced that board meetings would be held here in the future, the first ever out of New York City.

The building has just been completed, and the moving processes started.

“I thought this was as good a time as ever to resign,” Mrs. Jones said. “I’ve been contemplating it for some time. I didn’t give much notice because I felt I would merely be a ghost in the new building.”

Official dedication of the new structure is set for October, just prior to the start of the 44th Anniversary Celebration of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Association annual meeting.

Opening of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Billboard

October 28, 1967

One can only speculate as to the motivation behind Jones’ decision to leave ASCAP. But by year’s end, Jones had already charted a new path professionally — as Director of Nashville Operations for Cash Box Magazine:

Cash Box

Dec. 6, 1969

Juanita Jones Is CB Nashville Rep

NEW YORK — Juanita Jones has been appointed director of Nashville operations for Cash Box Magazine, it has been announced by George Albert, president and publisher.

With a long background of Nashville-associated music activities, she will direct the flow of Nashville editorial matter to the magazine’s headquarters in New York. She will operate, effective December 1, out of 806 16th Avenue South in Nashville.

Juanita Jones is an officer of the Country Music Foundation, a member and past officer of the Country Music Association, a member and past officer of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, a member and past director of the Gospel Music Association and a member of the Academy of Country & Western Music Association and present National Committee Chairman of American Women in Radio and Television.

Her other music-associated endeavors include previous employment at RCA Records and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP).

Jones served as Cash Box‘s Nashville representative through the mid-1970s. One can find Jones’s comprehensive and detailed “Country Roundup” column as recent as Cash Box‘s October 30, 1976 edition, as well as this photo of the Nashville veteran with Buddy Killen and Jack Stapp taken at Tree International’s ‘Christmas Tree Awards’ celebration for songwriters that hit the top of the chart within the past year.

Cash Box

December 25, 1976

Juanita Jones can be found pictured – along with Charley Pride – in the March 10, 1977 edition. However, the publisher’s masthead for the April 9, 1977 issue, sadly, would be the first to list someone other than Jones as Cash Box‘s Nashville’s regional representative.

It is unclear whether Juanita Jones remained in the music industry at that point.

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Comic Relief:

Jack Clement Pokes Fun

Juanita Jones – One of Three Targets

BillboardMay 27, 1967

Clement Adds 3 Pub. Firms

NASHVILLE — Independent producer Jack Clement has opened three more publishing firms. Clement, who has one successful music publishing company in his own name, will operate the three in partnerships, each affiliated with a different Nashville music licensing society.

Clement with subtle humor, has named his new firms Frances Music Inc. (BMI), Juanita Music Inc. (ASCAP), and Big Joe Music Inc. (SESAC). In Nashville, BMI’s vice-president is Frances Preston; ASCAP’s general manager is Juanita Jones, and SESAC’s director is [Big] Joe [Talbot].

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Did You Know?

Brenton Banks, who arranged “Juanita Jones” for Stu Phillips, was a Cleveland-born violinist, pianist, arranger, concertmaster and educator, who was the second African-American to join the Nashville Symphony Orchestra (following William Oscar Smith) and was the only African-American musician to do studio session work in the ‘Nashville Sound’ era of the 1960s and early 1970s, according to Discogs.

“Juanita Jones”

Stu Phillips (1967)

Bonus lyrics

Juanita Carmela Garcia down in Juarez Mexico
Her dark flashing eyes hide a secret she’ll never let anyone know
All of the boys down in Juarez won’t leave Juanita alone
Cause they don’t know that Juanita Garcia is really Juanita Jones

One day from north of the border an outlaw rode into town
He won the heart of Juanita and they hid where they’d never be found
She knew that she shouldn’t love him he never could make her a home
But still they married in secret and he changed her name to Juanita Jones

Then down from El Paso a sheriff’s posse caught him when he was alone
They filled him with lead and they left him for dead
But he managed to make it back home he said
He said Juanita please listen for I know that I’m losing my life
If you want to hold up your head in this town don’t let them know you’re my wife

Juanita Carmela Garcia down in Juarez Mexico…
Oh they don’t know that Juanita Garcia is really Juanita Jones.

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LINK to Mexican +/- Mariachi Pop

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Thanks to Bryan Richardson for the image enhancement

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