Tom Jones

  • British singer born Thomas Woodward in 1940 in Treforest Wales.
  • Woodward enjoyed singing at an early age, and gained confidence in his talent. At 12, he had tuberculosis, and during the 2 years of recovery, he could only listen to music and draw. He particularly liked American soul music, and this influenced his later singing style. In 1963, he became the frontman to the group Tommy Scott and the Senators. They performed at local venues in Wales, and recorded some demos, but the record labels were not interested. In 1964, a music talent manager watched him perform and took him to London, renaming him Tom Jones, after the 1963 film. He was soon signed to a recording contract.
  • In late 1964, Jones’ first single was released – Chills and Fever. It did not make the charts. In 1965, his debut album, Along Came Jones, was released in the UK. It included the single It’s Not Unusual – which quickly hit #1 in the UK, becoming his signature song. In the U.S. and Canada, the album was released 2 months after the release in the UK, retitled It’s Not Unusual. The song peaked at #10 in the U.S. Jones recorded the theme song to 2 films – What’s New Pussycat? and Thunderball – that same year. What’s New Pussycat? became the title to his next album in the U.S., and the single reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • For the remainder of the 60s, Jones was prolific with albums – 9 albums were released from 1966 to 1969. After his first album in 1966 was less successful, he evolved into a crooner style, and his popularity returned, especially in Europe. Nine singles were in the top 10 in Europe, while in the U.S., I’ll Never Fall In Love Again peaked at #6 and Without Love (There Is Nothing) reached #5. His first #1 in the UK was Green, Green Grass of Home, which peaked in the U.S. at #11.
  • Jones became a fixture in performing in Las Vegas, beginning in 1967. His shows were lavish, featuring Jones in open shirts and tight trousers. Women at the shows were known to throw their underwear and hotel keys onto the stage. Jones played at least one week in Las Vegas every year until 2011.
  • His early 70s albums remained popular, with hits including She’s A Lady – his highest charting single in the U.S. at #2. During this time, he had a variety TV show, This Is Tom Jones, broadcast in both the UK and the U.S. As the 70s progressed, he continued to release music but his popularity declined. From 1972 to 1988, 14 studio albums were released, with little success. By the mid 70s, much of his music had a country music sound to it – one single, Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow, topped the Country chart, and made it to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 – his last top 40 song on the Hot 100. In the 80s, 12 more songs managed to chart on the Country chart, with Touch Me (I’ll Be Your Fool Once More) reaching #4.
  • He had a resurgence in his career, starting in 1987. That year, he re-entered the UK chart for the first time in 10 years when A Boy From Nowhere hit #2. The next year, he colloborated with British synth-pop group Art of Noise to release a cover of Prince’s Kiss – it hit #31 in the U.S. and #5 in the UK, and the video won an MTV Video Music award. Jones has been riding the nostalgia wave ever since, with frequent TV and film appearances (including playing himself on The Simpsons, and as one of the judges on all but one season of the UK version of The Voice).
  • He continues to release studio albums – his most recent, Long Lost Suitcase, was released in 2015. In total, he has released 40 studio albums, 5 live albums, many compilation albums and 104 singles. He won 1 Grammy Award – in 1966, for Best New Artist. In 2006, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to music.”
  • Jones was the quintessential male sex symbol in his early years. In 2012, he stated that at the height of his fame, he slept with 250 groupies a year. Enjoy Tom Jones in this clip from 1974, performing She’s A Lady. This is typical Tom Jones in concert! For sure – a little Elvis Presley influence on his stage personality. In fact, they were good friends, thanks to their Las Vegas connection.

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