Recording studios and concert stages were Tony Newton’s classrooms. John Lee Hooker, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Gary Moore and Allan Holdsworth were his classmates. Drawing from this wealth of experience and professional relationships, Newton has emerged as a multifaceted composer/producer and musician (vocals, electric bass, and keyboards) and applied his pioneering concepts in harmony theory and composition to successfully integrate a variety of musical genres. Strap yourself in for some heart stopping, spirit moving, mind-bending musical expression.
Profusely creative, high energy, innovative, sensitive yet dynamic would be a few terms that could describe the artistry of Tony Newton, who stands as one of the most progressive, creative and influential music artists of this contemporary music era! Chances are you’ve heard Newton, a performer on over 25 million selling Gold recordings.
Tony Newton career
Born and raised in Detroit MI., Tony Newton began his career first on piano at age seven, beginning professionally at the tender age of thirteen, playing bass guitar with blues legends John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Little Walter and other classic artists on the urban blues circuit. This was not without receiving initial recognition as an accomplished saxophone and woodwinds player in various orchestras and ensembles.
Tony Newton gained swift acclaim as one of the Midwest’s most prominent bassists through his association with Motown records. Newton was discovered by Motown executive Hank Cosby while playing in Detroit Blues clubs at the age of 16. He was chosen to replace James Jamerson as touring bassist with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles so that Jamerson could concentrate on studio recording exclusively. Within two years Newton became Music Director for Smokey. He also toured with all of the Motown artists such as: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Temptations, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Spinners, and others.
While at Motown from time to time, playing with the “Funk Brothers” he left his trademark of solid, hard driving, and deftly clever grooves on such timeless hits as "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love”, "Stop In The Name Of Love", "Nowhere to Run" on the east coast, and on the west coast, "ABC', “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, and many others. Also a little unknown fact is that Tony Newton and James Jamerson played together as 2 basses simultaneously on the above Motown Hits. Newton was also the bassist for the famed 1965 European Motown Review tour, mentioned in the film, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” (not Bob Babbit).
Tony Newton acclaim
In the following years, Tony Newton gained swift acclaim as a prominent bassist in the music industry through his fat bass sound, infectious lines, and solid grooves on many hit recordings for Motown, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Warner Bros, CBS, Atlantic and others, continuing in the tradition and inheriting the musical bass torch of his mentor and friend, Motown staff bass legend, the late, great funk brother, James Jamerson.
Newton (known as the baby funk brother, being the youngest at 16) went on to establish himself as one of the most versatile musician-composers-producers in his field. He recorded and toured with rock, pop and r & b’s most celebrated figures -- Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson (whom he served as bassist and music director,) Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Little Richard and many others. Tony Newton was staff bassist for the talented songwriting-producing team Holland-Dozier-Holland and their Invictus-Hotwax label playing on several hits for artists, Freda Payne, 100 Proof, 8th Day, and others.
Tony played on other Detroit recording studio-labels classic hits i.e.: Stax “The Dramatics, What You See is What You Get”, “Johnny Taylor’s, Part Time Lover”, and more. He also gained recognition as one of the founding fathers of fusion, as bassist-composer-vocalist in the acclaimed jazz-rock fusion group: “The Tony WiIIiams Lifetime” penning the fusion classics, “Snake Oil”, and “Red Alert”, sweeping the globe with their intense, high-energy, complex style, cited historically in the “Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.” Tony Newton was also an integral member of British hard rock group “G-Force” with veteran guitarist Gary Moore.
The multi-talented Newton fondly remembers these times as “special” when reflecting back as this is when he met and worked with Sharon Arden-Osborne, his then manager, and Ozzie Osborne showing up at some of G-Force’s English concert tour gigs (The Osborne’s beginnings). Tony Newton’s prolific talents include writing and producing classic rock songs and instrumentals. These include, “You Kissed Me Sweetly”, and “I Trust Your Loving”, “Dancing.”
Newton, degreed in classical composition and piano from LACC and Mt. St. Mary’s College, of Los Angeles, his formidable keyboard artistry featured in the Novaphonic series music catalog, are used in many film and video soundtracks, i.e.: “The Martin Luther King Awards,” and “Fields of Wrath”, The Cesar Chavez plight of farm workers story. Tony Newton is also a former touring music director, keyboardist, and producer-writer (“Hold On”) for Grammy Award winning vocalist, Thelma Huston. Performing professionally for over 3 legendary decades, from rock, funk, soul, fusion and new age jazz, from soundtracks to a Summit Symphony in seven movements, from inspiring solo piano and keyboard performances to masterly, heart thumping, power packed, high energy bass grooves, like we said earlier, chances are you’ve heard contemporary adult music artist-icon Antonio Tony Newton
Continuing in the commercial rock tradition of his former group, Interscope recording artists “Newton’s Law,” however now using the addition of expanded orchestrations and arrangements, as well as a new level of high-energy intensity, hip-hop rhythms and complex instrumental compositions along with masterful hit crafted songs of romance, love, and personal challenges in life complete this powerful music formula.
Being a true creative recluse, in his spare time, Tony Newton, a prolific composer-songwriter of a massive body of musical works including the landmark “NOVAPHONIC SOUND” theory series, an innovative scientific music harmony discovery by Newton, is also an avid computer enthusiast and author-writer of over fifteen books on music, computer tech, philosophy and self-help. Additionally, he lectures, conducts workshops as well as teaches privately and at local schools and community colleges occasionally.
Additionally, Tony Newton’s bass work is featured on Academy Award winning movie soundtracks to include “Breathless” and “An Officer and a Gentleman”. Performing professionally for over 3 legendary decades, from rock, funk, soul, fusion and new age jazz, from soundtracks to a Summit Symphony in seven movements, from inspiring solo piano and keyboard performances to masterly, heart thumping power-packed, high energy bass grooves, like we said earlier, chances are you’ve heard legendary bassist Antonio (Tony) Newton. Tony Newton came full circle returning to his Detroit roots hit making music and legendary musician friends the “Funk Brothers,” getting the call from Jack Ashford touring the world with them for the past year and a half.
A master of both music and word, Newton’s lyric content reaches deep philosophical levels of prose and meaning while musically achieving new frontiers of creative compositional expression in sound, form, style and technique. Rock hard and ferociously funky songs like "Love and Money" and "One People One Planet”, a World Peace offering, along with high-energy impact instrumental compositions such as Tony Newton’s searing rock production-arrangement of classic master composer, Gustav Holst’s “Mars” from his legendary epic Symphony, “The Planets”.
Tony’s latest music release is the “Thunderfunkfusion” CD which has been explained as Motown meets Hendrix meets Miles Davis. This new music has created a buzz in the music industry. Tony Newton also just completed the movie “Groovemonster” which is a history of the bass guitar along with Tony’s contribution to the music industry.
Tony Newton has experience in certain areas that make it almost impossible to play anything else; and that anything else is what I didn't want to hear anyway. He worked eight years with Motown, so he had to play a certain way. Like Allan Holdsworth, he not only plays long beautiful lines, but at the same time he plays very rhythmically. Some bass players are busy playing the bass as if it's another guitar. That's fine with me, except that it wasn't what I wanted for the band..…Tony Williams