It's not unusual...
"Music is great. It all depends on what mood you're in... what you want to listen to. If it's party time, you listen to, you know, party music. If you want to dance with somebody. But then again, if it's a slow dance, you need something slow. It all depends on the mood."
—Sir Tom Jones, OBE
The man... the myth... the legend. Tom Jones is one of the biggest, most influential singers and musicians ever to come out of the British music scene. You've felt his influence, even if you never realized just how huge he really was.
Since the 1960s, Sir Thomas John Woodward, OBE (born 7 June 1940 in Pontypridd, South Wales
), better known by his stage name "Tom Jones" ...or these days, "Sir Tom Jones"... is a Welsh singer. He became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. He is a true musical polymath, having recorded songs in nearly every genre of popular music (pop, rock, R&B, punk, show tunes, country, club music, techno, soul, gospel, blues, and
rap). Jones has sold over 100 million records, and has almost forty Top 40 hits to his name, including "It's Not Unusual", "What's New Pussycat", "Delilah", "The Green Grass of Home", "Kiss" (a cover of the Prince
classic that actually outsold the original), "Burning Love" (a cover of the Elvis Presley
classic), "Sex Bomb", and the song that has become his signature, "She's a Lady".
Jones has a powerful, bluesy baritone voice that is reminiscent of Elvis Presley
(one of Jones' personal friends, as it turns out). His voice is versatile enough, however, to handle pretty much any type of music he decides to apply it to. He's a legendary Pornomancer
whose singing would regularly cause women to throw articles of clothing at him while he was onstage.
Tom Jones has contributed to the soundtracks of over 130 different productions (including television, films, plays, cartoons, and even video games), and has been known to occasionally act (usually either as himself or in bit parts). Between 1980 and 1982, he had his own variety series on the BBC called The Tom Jones Show
. These days, when he's not out there rocking the stage at age 72 (he still plays about a hundred shows a year), he's a coach on the British version of The Voice
(during the first season of which he took contestant Leanne Mitchell to the championship). The other coaches apparently consider him to be "the man to beat" on the show because of his vast experience and know-how.
Over the course of his career he's received four Grammies, an MTV Video Music Award, two Brit Awards, and was knighted (the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music".
Despite his own admitted "horde of infidelities" (including one that resulted in an illegitimate son, whom he barely acknowledges), Jones has been married to the same woman, his wife Melinda, since 1957. The couple have one son, Mark, and carefully do not mention Tom's other son. They live in Los Angeles, but regularly shuttle back and forth to London.
Tom Jones's songs and his music provide examples of the following tropes:
- Animated Music Video: The video for "Give A Little Love" pays homage to Fleischer Studios cartoons, with Tom dancing with an Expy of Betty Boop.
- As Himself: Most of his acting gigs have been examples of As Himself.
- Berserk Button: If you ever get a chance to talk to him, never bring up his other son.
- Carpet of Virility: Oh yeah.◊
- Celebrity Survivor: Two of the survivors at the end of Mars Attacks! are a former World Heavyweight Champion boxer... and Tom Jones. The latter case is particularly ironic, since up to that point the film had gruesomely killed off its entire All-Star Cast.
- Character Signature Song: In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton adores dancing to "It's Not Unusual."
- Character Title: "Delilah."
- Compelling Voice: The man can still cause women to throw undergarments at him just by singing.
- Cover Version: Two of his biggest hits, "Kiss" and "Burning Love" were covers of the Prince and Elvis Presley songs, respectively. Jones' version of "Kiss" actually outsold Prince's original worldwide.
- The album Reload also had several cover songs on it.
- Driven to Suicide: In "Laura" the singer pleads:
''And if there's time before I pull this trigger
Tell me what he's got that I ain't got
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Jones proves he could shatter a glass with just his voice on one episode of the Dinah Shore Show. He has also been known to break microphones with the sheer power of his voice.
- Image Song: The title song to the James Bond film Thunderball describes Bond perfectly.
He always runs while others walk
He acts, while other men just talk
He thinks that the fight is worth it all
So he strikes, like thunderball
- Incredibly Long Note: There is a debunked urban legend regarding his recording of the theme song for the James Bond film Thunderball that says he held the last note so long that he passed out. Not quite, but it is an amazingly long note.
- Intercourse with You: "Sex Bomb" just oozes sex, and with one hot Ms. Fanservice, apparently.
- Large Ham: Damn, he's passionate. On stage it gets upped with one-handed gestures.
- Lounge Lizard: Mars Attacks! ends with Tom Jones singing "It's Not Unusual" in his stage-act garb.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "It's Not Unusual" has a tune that swings in Jones' usual manner, but tells the story of a man with an unrequited love who suffers jealousy when he sees the woman he desires with other men. The big clue that the lyrics aren't happy as the tune is when he says, "I wanna die."
- "Delilah" is a bright, upbeat sounding song with a very catchy chorus. Then you suddenly realize that you're singing about a man who stabbed his cheating girlfriend and is asking for forgiveness. The police are battering down the door as he begs her dead body for forgiveness. The song is, in fact, very dark. But people still sing it at holiday camps because the tune's nice.
- One Woman Song: "Delilah"
- Pornomancer: As noted, even now when he's in his 70s, he can sing women out of their clothing whenever he damned well wants to.
- Proper Lady: The song "She's a Lady" seems to be about this female archetypal character. She's got style, she's got grace, she knows her place, she's never in the way, she has always something nice to say... That little lady has got all it takes to make her man happy.
- Renaissance Man: Seriously, its easier to count the number of musical genres this man hasn't recorded in than to count the ones he has.
- Serenade Your Lover: "Delilah"
- Silly Love Songs: A lot of his songs are this. Of course, with that voice, you can hardly tell. "What's New Pussycat" might be the most obvious example.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: He speaks with a thick, very recognizable Welsh accent. When he sings, it sounds like he's right out of Memphis Tennessee.
- Source Music: In The Emperor's New Groove, Jones voices a singer who croons to Emperor Kuzko while Kuzko dances along. The animated singer looks remarkably like the real Jones, in fact. Funnily enough, he took the role after Sting (who was already writing songs for the movie) turned it down, saying he was too old to make it work.
- Similarly, at the end of Mars Attacks! (in which Jones appears as himself), Jones delivers a performance of his hit "Its Not Unusual" to a crowd of woodland animals, all of whom rock along to the tune.
- Wales: In his native land, Tom Jones enjoys the same level of celebrity as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.
- Window Watcher: "Delilah".
I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
- World of Chaos: His "It'll Be Me" music video with Jools Holland. The original Jerry Lee Lewis song deliberately names all kinds of random bizarre things that you might see, and almost all of them appear in the video, usually rising up out of Jools' piano.