Tom Jones

Tom Jones, the Welsh boyo, Jones the Voice, sprang to fame in the mid-1960s with a string of hits 'It's Not Unusual' (No 1 in the UK charts), 'Green Green Grass of Home' (No 1 in the UK charts for several weeks, selling over a million copies), 'Delilah', 'What's New Pussycat', 'I (Who Have Nothing)', 'You Don't Have To Say You Loved Me', 'Do Ya' Think I'm Sexy', 'I'm Coming Home', 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again'.

Tom Jones seemed unstoppable, but eventually he fell out of fashion and disappeared from public view.

At least he did in the UK, only Jones the Voice had moved to the US, where he concentrated, as many before him had done, on live performances in Las Vegas, with the occasional visit to the UK to guest on crap TV series.

On discovering Tom Jones, American audiences were surprised to find he was white. Only black soul singers had that voice, or so they thought. Anyone who has any doubts on this, listen to 'Motherless Child' on Reload.

After a couple of decades in the wilderness, at least as far as the charts were concerned, Tom Jones exploded back into the charts with the hit single 'Sex Bomb', plus two widely acclaimed albums, Reload (1999) and Mr Jones (2002). The style was markedly different, but the voice was still there.

Reload featured a number of guest artists, including Van Morrison, Robbie Williams, Natalie Imbruglia and Simply Red. The album hit No 1 in the UK and sold 6 million copies worldwide.

It takes only a few bars of 'Sometimes We Cry' on Reload to be instantly recognisable as Van Morrison. This duo, by Tom and Van, is one of the best performances by Van Morrison.

Recommended albums: The Classic Tom Jones (a live compilation album), Reload, Mr Jones.

The last track on Mr Jones is the classic 'I Who Have Nothing', with samples from the original hit 'I (Who Have Nothing)'.

Tom Jones was discovered and managed by songwriter Gordon Mills, until the death of Mills in the 1980s. Tom's son Mark then took over the management. It was Mark who pushed his father into new musical avenues.

In 2003, Tom Jones was honoured with a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Reload was nominated for a Brit Award in 2000.

(c) Keith Parkins 2005 -- January 2005 rev 0