J.J. Barnes (b. November 30, 1943) is a veteran R&B/soul singer and songwriter with expressive vocals who became famous during the late 1960s. His best known songs include the catchy "Real Humdinger" (1966) and the imploring "Baby Please Come Back Home" (1967). Although largely forgotten in the U.S., Barnes has amassed a considerable following worldwide over the years and is one of the most popular performing artists in the U.K.'s long-standing Northern Soul music scene.
Born James Jay Barnes in Detroit, Michigan, he made his first recordings in 1960 while still in his late teens on Kable Records and released several singles on Mickay and Ric-Tic during the early 1960s. He then signed with Motown where he worked primarily as a songwriter before moving to the Groovesville label. While at Motown, he co-wrote "Show Me The Way" by Martha & The Vandellas and "Don't Make Hurting Me A Habit" by The Marvelettes. Barnes was also a member of The Holidays, a short-lived trio also consisting of Steve Mancha and lead singer Edwin Starr who had a Top 10 hit on the R&B charts with "I'll Love You Forever" (1966).
J.J. Barnes had his first charting song in 1965 with "Poor - Unfortunately - Me (I Ain't Got Nobody," a minor hit on Cashbox followed later that year by "Please Let Me In" (1965). His fame began to take off in 1966 on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts with "Real Humdinger" (1966), and he had his biggest hit the following year with "Baby Please Come Back Home" (1967). His final hit came in late 1967 on the R&B charts with "Now That I Got You Back." Other songs for which Barnes is well known include "Chains Of Love" (1967, the B-side to "Baby Please Come Back Home"), his 1977 remake of Hall & Oates' "Sara Smile," and such early singles as "Just One More Time" (1963) and "Please Let Me In" (1965).
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