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Ron Jones

Ron Jones at work, scoring music for Star Trek

Ron Jones (born 7 July 1954; age 69) is an American composer who wrote the musical scores for many episodes in the first four seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also provided music for the video games Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Star Trek: Starfleet Command.

In addition to his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jones is also remembered for his music on the acclaimed Disney animated series, DuckTales. He has most recently acquired recognition for his work on Seth MacFarlane's hit animated shows, American Dad! and Family Guy.

Early life and career[]

Jones was born in Kansas City, Kansas.[1] After receiving a degree in music composition and music theory, he moved to Los Angeles, California, to enroll in the Dick Grove School of Music.[2] He studied under Academy Award- and Emmy Award-nominated composer Lalo Schifrin, which came about when Schifrin asked Jones to copy a concerto for guitar and orchestra.[3]

While attending Dick Grove, Jones composed an NBC Movie of the Week and began scoring television series produced by Hanna-Barbera. In addition to writing the music for hundreds of episodes of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Jones also arranged and composed the theme songs to such Hanna-Barbera shows as Smurfs and The Snorks.[4]

After five years at Hanna-Barbera, Jones left to work with the composing team of Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. While scoring for Post and Carpenter, Jones worked on such popular television series as The A-Team, Magnum, P.I., and Hardcastle and McCormick. The latter series starred two future Star Trek alumni in the title roles: Brian Keith as Judge Milton C. Hardcastle, and Daniel Hugh Kelly as Mark "Skid" McCormick.[4]

In addition to his work on television, Jones has also composed the music for a number of independent films, including Naked Vengeance (a 1985 crime drama in which VOY: "Think Tank" director Terrence O'Hara had an acting role), Kidnapped (a 1986 thriller starring TNG guest actor Lance LeGault), and Future Hunters (a 1986 science fiction adventure which has since become a cult classic).[1]

In 1987, Jones was recruited by Chris Montan, the head of Disney Music, to compose the music for Disney's first syndicated cartoon series, DuckTales. Montan was impressed with Jones' work during a session on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon and admired the composer's philosophy to respect the intelligence of the audience rather than creating a "patronizing" or "cute" score that would play down to them. Jones accepted Montag's request to score DuckTales, which became one of the most successful animated programs of all time.[4] Jones worked on DuckTales through 1988,[5] during which time he composed, conducted, arranged, and orchestrated various memorable cues and themes which were reused throughout the show's two-season run.Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name

Star Trek[]

Later in 1987, Jones was brought in to score the new Star Trek television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jones looked at each episode of TNG as though they were a feature film rather than a serial and scored them accordingly, giving each episode "its own unique orchestral palette and themes."[6][4] In 1988, Jones shared an Emmy Award for his musical contributions to the sound mixing of the second season episode, "Q Who".[4]

Jones' score for "The Best of Both Worlds" and "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" has been widely praised as the best music for TNG. His music from these two episodes were subsequently released as an album, which won the NAIRD Award for Best Soundtrack Album of the Year in 1991.[4] In total, Jones composed forty-two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (see his TNG credits below). He was interviewed by Bill Florence for the article "Ron Jones – Sounds in Space", published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 14, pp. 16-22.

Despite the success of his work, Jones was fired from the crew of TNG under controversial circumstances near the end of the fourth season. His firing was supposedly because his music was thought to be "too noticeable" by Rick Berman. Jones has since been a major critic of Berman-era Trek. [7]; he cited the music of the subsequent Trek spin-offs as "less melodic and more pad-like." [8] Furthermore, he thought the theme for Enterprise would have been better used for the opening ceremonies of the WNBA. [9]

Jones ultimately returned to the Star Trek franchise, however, when he scored the music for the interactive video games, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Star Trek: Starfleet Command. His work on the former game earned Jones a nomination from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences for Achievement in Sound and Music.[4]

The complete scores for all of Jones' 42 episodes of The Next Generation (excluding "The Best of Both Worlds" which had already been commercially released by GNP Crescendo, except for a few previously unreleased bonus tracks) as well as the Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Command video game scores, were released in a limited-edition 14-disc box set entitled Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project, by Film Score Monthly in 2011.

Later work[]

Since his work on TNG came to an end, Jones has returned to composing music for animated projects. He composed the main title theme music for the popular Nickelodeon series The Fairly OddParents, which currently features the voice of Trek alum Jason Marsden. Jones has won three BMI Film and TV Awards for The Fairly OddParents theme, one in each consecutive year from 2002 through 2004.[4][10]

In 1999, Jones was approached by Seth MacFarlane – a die-hard Star Trek fan – to score the pilot for a new animated series he was developing called Family Guy, having previously worked with Jones on a cartoon short called Larry & Steve. Family Guy has since become widely popular and is currently in its thirteenth season, with Jones continuing to provide music, alternating with Walter Murphy, who actually developed the series' main title theme. For the 100th episode of Family Guy, Jones reused the ending of the "Captain Borg" track from the final seconds of TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds" (Part I), parodying the cliffhanger aspect of the episode, even using Next Generation-style text for the "To be Continued...," and the executive producer credits. The episode, entitled "Stewie Kills Lois," was written by four-time Enterprise writer David A. Goodman, who used this spoof to pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of The Next Generation.

Jones has received two Emmy Award nominations for his work on Family Guy. The first, in 2000, was for composing the song "We Only Live To Kiss Your Ass" (aka "This House Is Freakin' Sweet") from the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater." He was again nominated for his work on the episode "Lois Kills Stewie," the follow-up to the aforementioned "Stewie Kills Lois."

With the success of Family Guy, Jones was hired to score MacFarlane's next series, American Dad! This series features the voices of Scott Grimes and Wendy Schaal, while former Next Generation star Patrick Stewart has a recurring voice-over role. Jones continues to compose episodes for both American Dad! and Family Guy.

TNG credits[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ron Jones; Internet Movie Database, [1]; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  2. Ron Jones Biography; Ron Jones Productions, [2]; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  3. "Ron Jones Interview;" Reel Cool, [3]; Published: 7 August 2008; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bio
  5. Ron Jones Credits; Ron Jones Productions, [4]; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named int
  7. Cinefantastique magazine, Oct. 1993
  8. Interview: Ron Jones, Question 12; Star Trek Soundtracks, [5]; Published: December 2002; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  9. Interview: Ron Jones, Question 13; Star Trek Soundtracks, [6]; Published: December 2002; Accessed: 11 October 2009
  10. Ron Jones – Awards; Internet Movie Database, [7]; Accessed: 11 October 2009

External links[]