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R&B singer Joe Jones dies at 79

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LOS ANGELES -- Joe Jones, a musician-turned producer who sang the 1961 R&B hit “You Talk Too Much" and went on to become an independent music publisher and advocate for black artists' rights, has died. He was 79.

Jones died Sunday in a Los Angeles hospital of complications from quadruple bypass surgery, said his 40-year-old son Dwayne Jones.

The New Orleans native, who in recent years battled colon and prostate cancer, went into the surgery in good sprits.

“The last month of his life, I spent the majority of my time with him," Dwayne Jones said. “He just said to keep the music going."

Jones took to music when he was very young. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Jones trained at the Julliard Conservatory and then went on work as a band leader at a university in New Orleans, said wife Marion Jones, 67.

Eventually Jones broke into the red-hot New Orleans music scene as a big band leader for the likes of B.B King, playing the piano and arranging music.

“So he started singing. He always had a band," his wife said. “He started going on the road, so one day he just decided to sing this song ... 'You Talk Too Much.'"

The song was a hit, but Jones felt he failed to see any real money from the sale of the record and became transfixed with learning about the business side of the recording industry.

“He was broke, so that's when he started learning about the music business, learning about contracts," Marion Jones said. “He started teaching others the same thing."

At the time, Jones also became more focused on developing other artists.

He's credited with discovering the Dixie Cups trio, who sang the 1964 hit “Chapel of Love," among other artists.

In 1973, he moved to the Los Angeles area and started an independent music publishing business. He also began devoting himself to help black artists recoup the rights to their works since many hadn't known much about recording contracts and unwisely signed away their royalties in the 1950s and 1960s.

“All he did was fight for the rights of his black fellow musicians for them not to be ripped off," Marion Jones said.

In addition to his wife of 49 years and son Dwayne, Jones is survived by three other sons, three daughters, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A fourth daughter died 15 years ago.

-- Associated Press

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