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Profile: Tom Jones

By

Tom Jones

Tom Jones

source: myspace.com

Born:

Thomas John Woodward, June 7, 1940, Treforrest, Pontypridd, South Wales

Genres:

Pop, Adult contemporary, Country, Pop vocal, Dance music

Instruments:

Vocals

Contributions to music:

  • One of the first Welshmen to make a serious impact on the international scene
  • An international sex symbol for over four decades
  • His dramatic yet swinging stage persona helped put Vegas on the map as a pop draw
  • One of the broadest ranges in style of any vocalist in history
  • His alternately crooning and booming voice allows him to be seductive and sensitive at the same time
  • Has maintained successful careers in pop, country, R&B and modern dance music

Early years:

Oddly enough for a legendarily sexy pop star, Tom Jones was already married and starting a family by the time he began gigging around his native Wales with various bands, most notably the Senators (at which point Jones was billing himself as Tommy Scott). Managed by local songwriters Raymond Godfrey and John Glastonbury and encouraged by influential British DJ Jimmy Savile, Jones and his band made a demo that eventually wound up in the hands of legendary producer Joe Meek. However, the leather-clad, hip-swiveling Jones was too wild for pop audiences... or so it seemed at the time. His first few singles flopped.

Success:

However, Senators harmonica player Gordon Mills had written a song that fit Jones' controversial image (and powerful voice) perfectly, a little ditty called "It's Not Unusual." The BBC refused to play the resulting record, considering it too sexual, but "pirate radio" station Radio Caroline, operating outside federal guidelines, loved it, and soon it was a hit. Following that success was difficult at first, but by ditching the leather for a tuxedo and learning to croon as well as belt, Jones soon became an international superstar. His move to country with "Green Green Grass Of Home further expanded his audience.

Later years:

By the early Seventies, Jones had his own TV variety show, and was a major draw in Vegas. However, tastes were changing away from Jones' swinger pop, and so the singer concentrated on country from the late Seventies through the Eighties, with respectable success. Even more unlikely, he enjoyed a second career renaissance in the late Eighties by concentrating on modern dance music, covering Prince, working with Art of Noise, and keeping an ear out for new sounds. Although trends soon moved away from him again, Jones' star has never really dimmed, and he continues to be a major concert draw today.

Other facts:

  • Son of a coal miner who also worked as a day laborer and a door-to-door vacuum salesman in his early years
  • Sang in his school choir, where he was upbraided for drowning the other children out
  • Given his stage name by Gordon Mills as a nod to the notoriously randy literary character, then undergoing a revival in England
  • The longtime tradition of women throwing their panties at Jones onstage began in 1968 at New York's Copacabana nightclub; the singer is said to find the practice distasteful
  • Said to have taken the virginity of Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson while she was a showgirl in Vegas
  • Longtime friends with Elvis Presley

Awards/Honors:

  • GRAMMY Awards (1965}
  • Order of the British Empire (1999)
  • Knight Bachelor (2006)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame (6608 Hollywood Blvd.)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Country:
  • "Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow" (1977)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "It's Not Unusual" (1965)
  • "What's New Pussycat?" (1965)
  • "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" (1969)
  • "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" (1970)
  • "She's A Lady" (1971)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Help Yourself (1969)
  • This Is Tom Jones (1969)
  • Tom Jones Live In Las Vegas (1969)
  • Tom (1970)
R&B:
  • Tom Jones Live In Las Vegas (1970)
Country:
  • Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow (1977)
  • Don't Let Our Dreams Die Young (1984)
Other popular recordings: "With These Hands," "Not Responsible," "Promise Her Anything," "Thunderball," "Detroit City," "Green, Green Grass Of Home," "Delilah," "Help Yourself," "I'm Coming Home," "Love Me Tonight," "A Minute Of Your Time," "Can't Stop Loving You," "Daughter Of Darkness," "I (Who Have Nothing)," "Puppet Man," "Resurrection Shuffle," "Till," "Letter To Lucille," "Darlin'," "What In The World's Come Over You," "Lady Lay Down," "A Woman's Touch," "I've Been Rained On Too," "It'll Be Me," "All The Love Is On The Radio," "This Time," "It's Four In The Morning," "If I Only Knew," "Situation," "Sexbomb"
Covered by: Mr. Bungle, The Wedding Present, Five Iron Frenzy, Belly, Frank Bennett, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Flying Lizards, Wild Colonials, The Nerds, Willie Bobo, Inkubus Sukkubus, Status Quo, Leningrad Cowboys, Elvis Presley, Pizzicato Five, D.O.A., The New Duncan Imperials, Richard Marx, Tito Puente
Appears in the movies: "The Special London Bridge Special" (1972), "Encore!" (1980)), "The Jerky Boys" (1995), "Mars Attacks!" (1996), "Agnes Browne" (1999), "The Emperor's New Groove" (2000)
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