This song is about marital infidelity. The couple meets at the same time and place every day, but must be careful not to arouse the suspicions of their partners. It's somewhat rare in the sense that it's told from the point of view of the people doing the cheating.
A hint about this song's subject matter is cleverly "hidden" in its intro: the saxophone is playing the first line from a 1953 Doris Day hit entitled "Secret Love," which won the Oscar for Best Original Song (Day sang it in the movie Calamity Jane).
Suggestion credit: Robin - Birmingham, AL
This was written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Carey Gilbert. Gamble and Huff formed a famous songwriting team that helped define the Philadelphia Soul sound of the '70s. Gilbert, also known as "Hippy," is a lyricist who often teamed with Gamble and Huff, and worked on hits for The O'Jays, Lou Rawls and many others.
Kenny Gamble explained to National Public Radio in 2008 that he and Huff got the idea for the song from trips to a little bar downstairs in the Schubert Building, which was where their record company was located. Said Gamble: "This guy used to come into the bar every day - little guy that looked like a judge. We're songwriters, so we're always thinking about a song. The next day he came in again, and every day after he'd come in, this girl would come in 10-15 minutes after he'd get there, and they'd sit in the same booth, then go to the jukebox and play the same songs. We said, 'That's me and Mrs. Jones.' Then, when they'd get ready to leave, he would go his way and she would go hers. It could have been his daughter, his niece, anybody, but we created a story that there was some kind of romantic connection between these people, so we went upstairs to our office and wrote the song."
The song came to life after Billy Paul took it with him on vacation and came back to deliver the powerful, emotive vocals that many people could relate to.
This was released on Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International records. 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul was his first release on the label.
The female backing singers on this one were Carla Benson, Evette Benton and Barbara Ingram. Known as "The Sweethearts Of Sigma" or just "The Sweeties," they sang on many of the recordings that took place at Sigma Sound Studios, where this song was recorded.
When this hit #1 on December 16, 1972, it knocked Helen Reddy's female-empowerment anthem "I Am Woman" out of the top spot.
The Dramatics took this song to #47 in 1975; in 2007, Michael Bublé included it on his album Call Me Irresponsible.
After Billy Paul died on April 24, 2016, the Gamble and Huff team released a statement saying, "Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash 'Me and Mrs. Jones.' In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. Billy was one of the first artists to help launch the PIR/TSOP brand, and he will forever have a special place in music history."
The Dramatics version was used in the 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Diary, starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant.
The B-side of the single was a cover of Elton John's "Your Song."
Anne from Front Royal, VaFascinating but confusing. I am going through albums a friend of mine passed on to me years ago. Billy Paul's 360 Degrees in one of them - tattered and torn cover but the vinyl is in excellent shape. On the cover is handwritten "Mr. & Mrs. William C & Jeane Jones, Jan. 27, 1973". I would love to figure out if there is any connection to the album or just a memento by original owner. Anyone have any thoughts?
Richard from Columbia City, InThis song came out the exact year and month that my wife, last name Jones, started an 8 mo. affair with a co-worker. I remember the song but did not know back then how close it hit home.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1973, Billy Paul performed "Me and Mrs. Jones" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'... Three months earlier October 29th, 1972 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on December 10th it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 16 on the Top 100... And on December 3rd, 1972 it reached #1 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart... Won the 1973 Grammy Award for 'Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Male'... Was track four on his fourth studio album, '360 Degrees of Billy Paul', and on December 31st, 1972 the album peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart... On the Top 100 it was preceded at #1 by "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy and succeeded by "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon... Just a little over a month ago on December 1st Mr. Paul, born Paul Williams, celebrated his 79th birthday.
Missywebber from Yellow Springs, Oh, OhI remember living in this town as a young girl and there was a lady by the name of Maxine Jones who we believed had dated Billy Paul while overseas (Japan?). I believe that Mrs. Maxine Jones said that this song was based on her affair with Billy Paul. She had dated many other married men, but this song was written because she was indeed having an affair and she was the Mrs. Jones....funny how you here one thing and then another.
Jorge from Bronx, NyEvery that came from TSOP was great In fact i have a cd,this song is in,and many others,This song came out sometime in '73?I was a kid,but had knowledge of what was about,infidelity.
Alberto from Roma, ItalyThis song cannot be about "Billy Paul's heroin habit", because he didn't take part in its composition (and his friends, who wrote the song, wouldn't do such a thing to him). Furthermore, "Mr. Jones" is an expression used for the ordinary man, the everyday no-one, check for istance an extreme version of this concept in the "Ballad of a thin man" by Bob Dylan, and you can find countless other examples of this use. The main character of the song, therefore, is meeting "Mrs. Jones", who represents an "unidentified" woman, or could also represent "the wife of Mr. Jones". She could be unidentified for the sake of discretion, and/or also for the character to be able to represent a sort of "universal" woman with whom all the woman listeners can identify themselves. Sorry for the not-perfect English, ciao
Bill from Philadelphia, PaI was told Me and Mrs Jones is actually about Billy Paul's heroin habit. The slang term for craving something is "Jones" ie.. I have a Jones for this or that.(Me and Mrs Jones we have a thing going on ie.. an addiction). He met everyday in the same cafe (for his drug dealer) 6:30 and no one knew we would be there (discrete transaction)We both know that it wrong but it's much to strong (herion's hold on him). I heard that he really does not like to perform that song because it makes him relive the most horrible time of his life. Something to make you go ummm.
Johnnie from Angleton, TxGreat song.Great music.Could be anyone,anyplace for any reason.Well sung.
Maria from Cincinnati, Ohi hear this song very much in the bar i wok in...great tune..maria
Stormy from Kokomo, InThis song always reminds me of the "first older woman" in my life Kathy Jeffries. Although neither of us was married at the time, she was 29 and I was 22 and I thought that she was SO sophisticated. I screwed up the relationship and I've always wondered what kind of life we would have had together. God bless Kathy Jeffries!
Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Calove those echoed up strings right after the lyric "we've got a thiiiiiiing ...goin' on..." :)
Norrie from Paisley, ScotlandThis is an amazing song, anyone heard Peter Cox from Go West singing this? Great version, he's a great singer, think it was part of the reality tv program called "Back in the USA" or some crap like that, anyway it was a great cover.
Musicmama from New York, NyThis is definitely one of the most interesting songs I've heard. The lyrics describe a forbidden pleasure and hint at the naughtiness (by society's standards, anyway) of it. But there is an undertone of sadness in lines like "We've got to be extra careful/Not/To get our hopes up too high." (I used slashes to indicate pauses.) This bluesy feeling is accentuated by the pause after "not" and the violin (or some other string instrument) in the background. Also, the tone of the sax playing changes throughout the song--It starts off with the "naughty" feel but slows down into a more melancholy mood. All in all, this song is enjoyable yet more intricate than most people realize.
AnonymousI spent christmas holidays(1972) in fall river, massachusetts. my best friend and i traveled from walterboro,s.c.to get there. His black 1965 vw beetle broke on the way in hershey, penn., across from the chocolate factory. This is the memory i have of my first love affair with "me and mrs. Jones!" Boy...did we haue a thing going on(about 1000 miles from home!) Randy nettles from walterboro,s.c.
AnonymousI spent christmas holidays(1972) in fall river, massachusetts. my best friend and i traveled from walterboro,s.c.to get there. His black 1965 vw beetle broke on the way in hershey, penn., across from the chocolate factory. This was the memory i have of my first love affair with "me and mrs. Jones! Boy...did we haue a thing going on(about 1000 miles from home! Randy nettles from walterboro,s.c.
Ken from Trabuco Canyon, Cacheck the version of this song by hall & oates, it's pretty large