TOM JONES Biography - Musicians


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Name: Thomas Jones Woodward                                                             
Born: 7 June 1940 Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom                                     
Sir Thomas Jones Woodward (born 7 June 1940), known by his stage name Tom               
Jones, is a Welsh pop music singer particularly noted for his powerful voice. He         
was born in Treforest, Pontypridd, near Cardiff in South Wales, United Kingdom.         
Tom Jones rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act that                 
included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style             
popular among his peers at the time. He was known for his overt sexuality,               
before this was as common as it has become in subsequent years.                         
In 1963 he became the frontman for Tommy Scott and The Senators, a local beat           
group. Clad in black leather, he soon gained a reputation in the South Wales             
area of the United Kingdom, although the Senators were still unknown in London.         
In 1964 they laid down seven tracks with maverick Telstar producer Joe Meek, and         
took them to various labels in an attempt to get a record deal, with no success.         
The plan was to release a single, Lonely Joe / I Was A Fool, but the ever-flighty       
Meek refused to release the tapes. Only after It's Not Unusual became a massive         
hit, Meek was able to sell the tapes to Tower (USA) and Columbia (UK). The group         
returned to South Wales and continued to play gigs at dance halls and working           
men's clubs. One night, at the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, Jones was spotted by               
Gordon Mills, a London-based manager originally from South Wales. Mills became           
Jones' manager, and took the young singer to London. He also renamed him Tom             
Jones, an ingenious moniker that not only linked the singer to the image of the         
title character - a good-looking, low-born stud - portrayed in Tony Richardson's         
film of Fielding's "Tom Jones", which was a huge contemporary hit, but also             
subtly emphasized his nationality. Gordon Mills gave many rock stars their stage         
names, among them Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey). The                 
Senators became the Playboys, and later still the Squires. It was the beginning         
of the second phase in Jones' career.                                                   
Record companies were finding his style and delivery to be too abrasive and raw.         
Jones' vocals were considered to be too raucous, and he moved like Elvis. But           
eventually, Decca rekindled their early interest, and Jones recorded his first           
single, Chills And Fever in late 1964.                                                   
The single didn't chart, but the follow-up, It's Not Unusual, (co-written by Les         
Reed), was an instant hit, released in early 1965. Initially, the BBC refused to         
play it, but an offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline, picked it up. Its               
orchestrated arrangement, coupled with Jones' energetic delivery, proved                 
infectious, and by March 1 the song reached number one in the UK and the top ten         
in America. In the same year, Jones sang the theme song to the James Bond film           
Thunderball. Jones was awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1965. In         
1966 Jones' popularity began to slip somewhat, causing Mills to redesign the             
singer's image into a more respectable, mature, tuxedoed crooner.                       
Inspired by long-time influence Jerry Lee Lewis' country version, Jones released         
his most successful single ever, Green Green Grass of Home (written by Claude "Curly"   
Putman Jr. in 1965), and began to sing material that appealed to a broad                 
audience, as well as a string of hit singles and albums including What's New             
Pussycat?, Help Yourself and Delilah. The strategy worked, as he returned to the         
top of the charts in the UK and began hitting the Top 40 again in the U.S.               
In 1967 he performed for the first time in Las Vegas, at the Flamingo. In 1968,         
starting at New York's Copacabana night club, women would swoon and scream, and         
some would throw their knickers on stage. Soon after, he began to play Las Vegas         
and began recording less, choosing to concentrate on his lucrative club                 
performances. At Caesar's Palace his shows were traditionally a knicker-hurling         
frenzy of raw sexual tension and good-time entertainment. There, they started           
throwing hotel room keys. Jones and Elvis Presley became good friends, spending         
time together in Las Vegas. They had a friendship that endured until Presley's           
death in 1977.                                                                           
Jones had an internationally successful television variety show from 1969-1971           
titled This Is Tom Jones. This hit TV show was aired by the American                     
Broadcasting Company (ABC-TV) in America and ITV in the UK. The 1970s saw Jones'         
popularity leveling off, but the hits kept coming: Daughter Of Darkness, She's A         
Lady, Till and The New Mexican Puppeteer were all hits in the UK. On July 29,           
1986, Gordon Mills, Jones' long-time manager, died of cancer. Jones' son Mark           
became the singer's manager. In April 1987, the singer re-entered the singles           
chart with the hit A Boy From Nowhere, which got him back into the public eye. A         
few months later he performed a version of Prince's Kiss, and recorded it with           
The Art of Noise, and it was an instant hit. In 1993 he signed to Interscope             
Records, releasing the album The Lead And How To Swing It, and his profile was           
raised with a younger audience by a powerful performance at the Glastonbury             
Festival. In 1998 he performed a medley of songs from the film The Full Monty           
with Robbie Williams at the BRIT Awards. That same year, Space and Cerys                 
Matthews released The Ballad Of Tom Jones.                                               
In 1999 he recorded the blockbuster album Reload, a collection of duets with             
some of the year's brightest stars, which brought him back into the limelight.           
On new year's eve to ring in 2000, President Bill Clinton invited him to perform         
at the Millennium celebrations in Washington. Throughout that year, Jones               
garnered several honors for his work, including a BRIT Award for Best Male. In           
2001 he toured throughout the Middle East and Europe. In subsequent years, he           
recorded albums in collaboration with artists such as Wyclef Jean and Jools             
In celebration of his 65th birthday on 28 May 2005, Jones returned to his               
homeland to perform a spectacular concert in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd. This         
was his first performance in Pontypridd since 1964.                                     
His early hits include:                                                                 
"It's Not Unusual" (1965), Jones' signature song                                         
"What's New Pussycat?", written by Burt Bacharach for What's New, Pussycat? (1965)       
"Thunderball", the theme for the James Bond film of the same name (1965) - an           
urban legend states that upon hitting the final high note of the song Jones             
actually passed out, but that the take was so good it was the version that was           
released. Jones later denied this.                                                       
"Green Green Grass of Home" (1966), his most successful single, which was               
interpreted by many to refer to Jones' native Wales (correctly, according to             
Jones), despite having been originally written (by Curly Putman) about the               
"I'll Never Fall In Love Again" (1967)                                                   
"Delilah" (1968), the usual choice of song for impressionists "doing" Tom Jones,         
occasionally being criticized for the violent nature of the song.[citation needed]       
"Help Yourself" (1968), used recently in an ad campaign for Diet Dr Pepper               
"Without Love" (1969).                                                                   
"She's A Lady" (1971), his highest charting US single, peaking at #2. Written by         
Paul Anka