Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, KBE (born 7 June 1940), best known by his stage name, Tom Jones, is a Welsh pop singer particularly noted for his powerful voice. He was born in Treforest, near Pontypridd in South Wales.
He rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act which included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular amongst his peers at the time. He was known for his overt sexuality, before this was as common as it became in subsequent years.
In 1963 he became the frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a local beat group. Clad all in black leather, Tom soon gained a reputation in the South Wales area. The Senators were still all unheard of in London.
In 1964 they laid down a few tracks with maverick Telstar producer Joe Meek, and took them to various labels in an attempt to get a record deal. The plan was to release a single, Lonely Joe / I Was A Fool, but the ever-flighty Meek refused to release the tapes. The group returned to South Wales and continued to play gigs at dance halls and working mens clubs. One night, at the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, Tom was spotted by Gordon Mills, a London-based manager originally from South Wales. Mills became Tom's manager, and took the young singer to London. He also renamed him Tom Jones. The Senators became the Playboys, and later still the Squires.
Jones was awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1965. It's Not Unusual, after the song having first been offered to Sandie Shaw. Jones recorded what was intended to be a demo for Shaw, but when she heard it she was so impressed with Jones' delivery that she declined the song and recommended that Jones release it himself. The record was the second Decca single Jones released, reaching number one in the UK charts in 1965. It was also the first hit for Jones in the US, peaking at #10 in May of that year. The single was released in the US on the Parrot label and also reached #3 on Billboard's easy listening chart. Jones used this song as the theme for his late 1960s-early 1970s musical variety series This Is Tom Jones. It has since become Jones' signature song.
In 1965 Tom sang the theme tune to the James Bond film Thunderball.
Jones' recording career slumped on the pop charts during the 1970s and 80s, although he placed 16 singles on the Billboard Country Music charts between 1976 and 1985, the biggest of which was "Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow" (# 1 Country, # 15 pop) in 1977, and his touring continued successfully. When his son Mark became his manager in 1987, his musical style was taken in a different direction. His recording career was revived with his first major hit single in over a decade, "A Boy From Nowhere", taken from the musical Matador. In 1988 he collaborated with The Art of Noise to record Prince's popular song "Kiss". Following this, he started to record in collaboration with a younger generation of musicians
His Reload album, released in 2000, became the biggest hit of his career. An album of cover versions recorded as duets with contemporary artists, using their record producers, and utilising their recording methods, it reached number one in the United Kingdom, and sold over 4 million copies worldwide. In 2002, he released the album Mr. Jones, which was produced by Wyclef Jean and included the singles "Tom Jones International" and "Black Betty". In 2003, he was honored with a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004, his "Sex Bomb" single became a major club hit.
On New Year's Eve 2000 President Bill Clinton invited Tom to perform at the Millennium Celebrations in Washington. Throughout 2000, Tom garnered several honours for his work, including a Brit Award for Best Male. In 2001 Tom toured throughout the Middle East and Europe. In subsequent years Tom recorded albums in collaboration with such artists as Wyclef Jean and Jools Holland.
In celebration of his 65th birthday, on 28 May 2005 Tom returned to his homeland to perform a spectacular concert in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd. This was Tom's first performance in Ponty since 1964.
For his contribution to the recording industry, Tom Jones has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6608 Hollywood Blvd.
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 24 April 2006. It entered at number eight in the UK charts the following Sunday.
In 2007, he signed to New York-based independent label S-Curve, owned by music executive Steve Greenberg.
The singer was awarded an OBE in 1999 and a Knight Bachelor in the 2006 New Years Honours list for his services to music and was subsequently knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London on 29 March 2006.
On 1 July 2007, Jones was one of the invited artists who performed at Wembley Stadium at the Concert for Diana, joined on stage by guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith and British soul singer Joss Stone. He sang the British National Anthem before Ricky Hatton's fight against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on 8 December 2007. On 19 April 2008 he sang the Welsh National Anthem at the Calzaghe-Hopkins fight in Las Vegas.
Although his manager and public relations staff have attempted to change his sex-bomb image and neutralize the knicker-throwing fans, to the delight of his audiences Jones has never felt the need to tone down his behavior in the shows. Tom Jones has remained highly respected by other singers and continues to attract audiences of all ages. As of 2008, Jones continues to tour and record. A major portion of the year he regularly performs his show at the MGM Grand hotel, located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, USA. His show at the MGM is performed in a cabaret-style theater. Other venues on his yearly schedule include numerous shows at Atlantic City, NJ and appearances in the USA, United Kingdom and Canada. In February 2007, Jones made a long-awaited South American tour.
On 17 September 2008, Jones announced the release of his retro-tinged album "24 Hours" on S-Curve Records, his first for 15 years in the US; notably, this is the first record in which he's had a direct song-writing input. It was produced largely by drum'n'bass stalwarts Future Cut.
"It's all very well just singing songs," says Jones, "but for this record I really wanted to get properly personal. 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, my life. In other words, you listen to this album and you get the real me."
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