In 2004, Joss Stone hit the charts with her debut album, The Soul Session, a multi-platinum selling phenomenon and Mercury Prize nominee that firmly established her as one of the hottest new talents around. Its follow-up, Mind, Body & Soul, was equally huge, topping the UK charts and certifying platinum. Her third album, Introducing Joss Stone, gave her the second-highest debut on the US Billboard 200 of any British female solo artist. Since then, she’s won multiple awards, sold millions of records, and cemented her status as one of the leading soul singers in contemporary music. Here’s our pick of the ten best Joss Stone songs of all time.
10. No Man’s Land – feat Jeff Beck
As Classic Rock History says, when one of the greatest guitarists joins forces with one of the most soulful singers, sparks will inevitably fly. Written and originally recorded by folk singer-songwriter Eric Bogle, No Man’s Land reflects on the life of a young man cut down in his prime during World War i. Bogle didn’t much approve of Stone and Beck’s version, and even wrote a long piece in The Guardian about why. Even though the cover is a vastly different thing to the original, it’s still a rewarding listen, with Beck’s transcendent fingerpicking complementing Stone’s soulful croon to perfection.
Compared to the rest of the singles taken from Stone’s second album, Mind, Body, & Soul, Spoiled underperformed, charting at number 32 on the UK Singles Chart on its release as the album’s third single in March 2005. But even if it didn’t meet the same level of success in the charts as some of its album mates, it’s still a sensational song, with Stone giving an admirable demonstration in how to deliver a vocal performance strong enough to make an impact, but nuanced enough not to overwhelm everything else.
8. Baby Baby Baby
Described by Indie London as a “welcome return for Joss Stone to the type of retro-heavy territory that first made her standout on the Soul Sessions LP,” Baby Baby Baby finds Stone giving her vocal cords a workout as she professes her love for her baby. A lithesome nugget of old-school soul, the song became a top ten UK R&B hit on its release as a single from the 2007 album, Introducing Joss Stone.
7. Tell Me ‘Bout It
Stone’s third album, Introducing Joss Stone, might not have been as commercially successful as her earlier albums, but it still went down a storm with critics, with Pop Matters calling it the first great R&B album of the year and others praising Stone’s showstopping vocals and the album’s seamless blend of crisp, contemporary R&B and retro soul. One of its standout moments is the soulful Tell Me ‘Bout It, a song that showcases Stone’s husky vocals in all their glory. Released as the album’s lead single in March 2007, it climbed to number 28 on the UK Singles Chart and number 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 – Stone’s first-ever entry on the chart.
6. Cry Baby/ Piece of My Heart – feat Melissa Etheridge
Cry Baby was first recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters in 1963, but is best known as one of the songs that turned Janis Joplin into a megastar. Other artists to have recorded it over the years include Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. In 2007, Stone teamed up with Melissa Etheridge to record an updated take on the classic, which they turned into a medley with another Joplin hit, Piece of My Heart. Suffice to say, both Etheridge and Stone do the song justice. The rendition was lent extra significance by being the first song released by Etheridge after her battle with breast cancer.
5. Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now
She might have a taste for old-school soul, but Stone has always had as much of an ear for current music trends as for old ones. In 2007, she teamed up with US rapper Common for the crisp, contemporary R&B number, Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now. It didn’t perform too well in the UK, where it became her first single not to crack the top 75, but it did better internationally, reaching number four in Turkey and number 23 in the Netherlands. In the US, it became her second single to reach the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at number 64.
4. Right to Be Wrong
Up next is the smoldering, soulful Right to Be Wrong, a song designed for late nights and smoky cocktail lounges. Taken as the second single from Stone’s second studio album, Mind, Body and Soul, in November 2004, it became a hit in the UK, charting for six weeks on the singles chart and peaking at number 29. The following year, it got a folky reimagining when Stone performed it on the TV series “American Dreams.”
3. Super Duper Love
In 1975, Willie “Sugar Billy” Garner wrote and recorded Super Duper Love for his album of the same name. Despite featuring snippets of Aretha’s Franklin’s1968 version of Groovin’ by the Young Rascals, the song went largely unnoticed. 30 years later, Stone came along and gave it a modern makeover for her debut album, The Soul Sessions. Funky, energetic, and blessed with an exuberant performance from Stone, the song charted at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart and cracked the top ten of the R&B charts.
2. Fell in Love With a Boy
Tackling a White Stripes song is either a brave or a foolish move, depending on how you look at it… especially if the song you chose to cover is as iconic as Fell in Love With a Boy. Stone didn’t just tackle it, she mastered it, turning it from a stripped-back, lean rock song into a groovy, funky, hip shaker. It’s got as much in common with the original as chalk has to cheese, but that’s half the joy. Released as the lead single from her debut album, The Soul Sessions, it reached number 18 in the UK and charted in the top 40 in New Zealand and Italy.
1. You Had Me
In at number one on our list of the ten best Joss Stone songs of all time is You Had Me. A soulful, rousing affair that combines nods to old school soul with crisp production, it exemplifies exactly why Stone became such a big star in the 2000s. Released as a single from the album Mind, Body & Soul in September 2004, it became Stone’s highest-charting single to date, peaking at number nine in the UK charts. It also managed to snag a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.