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Tom Jones

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Sir Thomas Jones Woodward OBE( born June 7, 1940), known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh pop music singer particularly noted for his powerful voice. He was born in Trefforest, Pontypridd, near Cardiff in Wales. Since 1965, Jones has sold over 100 million records.

Tom Jones rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act that included wearing tight pants or trousers and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular among his peers at the time. He was known for his overt sexuality before it became a common leitmotif among pop artists.

In 1963 Jones became the frontman for Tommy Scott & 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 was Meek 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’s 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 Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 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’s career.

Record companies were finding his style and delivery to be too abrasive and raw. Jones’s vocals were considered to be too raucous, and he moved like Elvis (whom he later cited as one of his influences). 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” (1965), which Mills wrote and composed jointly with Les Reed, was an instant hit. The BBC initially refused to play it, but an offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline, picked it up. Its orchestrated arrangement, coupled with Jones’s energetic delivery, proved infectious, and by March 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’s 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’s 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 US.

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. 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 frenzy of raw sexual tension and good-time entertainment. There, they started throwing hotel room keys. Jones and his idol Elvis Presley, met in 1965 at the Paramount stage, when Elvis was filming Paradise, Hawaiian Style; after that, they became good friends, spending more and more time together in Las Vegas, their friendship enduring until Presley’s death in 1977.

Jones had an internationally successful television variety show from 1969 to 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’s 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’s long-time manager, died of cancer. Jones’s 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”, which he recorded with The Art of Noise. This was featured in the score to My Stepmother is an Alien, and it was an instant hit. In 1993 he signed to the Interscope Records label, on which he released the album The Lead and How to Swing It and the single “If I Only Knew”, whose video was directed by Lol Creme, 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, United States President Bill Clinton invited him to perform at the Millennium celebrations in Washington D.C. 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 Holland.

In celebration of his 65th birthday in 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. The BBC reported that Sir Tom Jones received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in March 2006.

For his contribution to the recording industry, Jones was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2005 the album Together in Concert, was recorded live with John Farnham and his band.

He has collaborated with Chicane for “Stoned in Love,” a dance track that was released April 2006. It entered at number eight in the UK charts the following Sunday.

Music icon Tom Jones returns with his first album of new material to be released in the United States in over fifteen years. 24 Hours represents another milestone for Tom Jones; from interpreting a classic Bruce Springsteen track (“The Hitter”) to writing and working alongside the likes of Bono and The Edge (“Sugar Daddy”).

Utilizing modern day producing maestros, Future Cut (Lily Allen), Tom Jones’ 24 Hours showcases the best of what has made him a legend. From the pulsing first single, “If He Should Ever Leave You”, to the soaring “I’m Alive”; from the reflective title track to the emotional depths of “The Hitter”, Tom Jones delivers one of the most powerful albums of his career.

“It’s all very well just singing songs, but for this record I really wanted to get properly personal,” says Pontypridd-born Jones.

“I’ve been getting reflective recently, looking over my journey through life, and I wanted to get that down on song.

“This time I wanted to make something that was all about me, my stories and my life. In other words, you listen to this album and you get the real me.”

Jones says of the album: “I’m just opening up shop again. Let’s see who comes in through the door.”

Praise and Blame (2010):  “We wanted to go back to basics, go back to the source, it was just me singing live with a rhythm section - no overdubbing, no gimmicks, no complicated horn and string arrangements, just get the song down in an entire take, capture the meaning of the song, its spirituality, its life, and capture that moment, right there. And I think that’s what we’ve done,” says Tom Jones, the veteran singer from Wales, who turns 70 this year and who has just completed Praise and Blame, his follow up to 2008’s acclaimed 24 Hours and quite simply his finest work to date.

It is a truly remarkable record, one that captures the Tom Jones who listened to Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe on the radio as a child growing up, who thought gospel music was “just like rock’n’roll, every bit as exciting but with deeper lyrics”, the Tom Jones who belted out The Lord’s Prayer as a jubilatory spiritual in school assembly, “because that was the only way I knew how to sing it, it was natural for me.”

This is Tom Jones going back to his roots on an album of gospel, blues, traditional and country songs, wearing his heart on his sleeve, emotionally raw and true.

Recording with producer Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Paolo Nutini, Laura Marling) at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in the little village of Box in Wiltshire, coaxed the most exhilarating performances out of the singer.

With musicians including steel guitarist BJ Cole, keyboardist Booker T Jones (of Memphis soul legends Booker T and the MGs), Hammond organist Chris Holland and background vocalists Gillian Welch, Alison Pierce, Dave Rawlings and Orin Waters at hand, Tom has quite simply delivered his tour de force. It’s him bearing his soul, singing from the heart, telling it like it is.

Following in the spirited and undaunted footsteps of the critically lauded Praise & Blame (2010), and Pop icon though he is, Jones has delivered a landmark album in 2013 that has a unique kind of magic and is different from anything he has ever done. Spirit in the Room features all new repertoire made up of gospel, blues and Americana, and includes songs by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Odetta, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling) Spirit in the Room marks a new, adventurous path for Jones, one that is rootsy, bluesy, bold, and raw.


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