Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, OBE (born 7 June 1940), known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer. Since 1965, Jones has sold over 100 million records.
Jones rose to fame in the 1960s as a singer with an exuberant live act that included wearing tight pants and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular among his peers at the time. In 1963, Jones became the frontman for Tommy Scott and The Senators, a local beat group. Clad in black leather, he soon gained a reputation inSouth Wales, although the Senators were still unknown in London.
In 1964 the band 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 Welsh nationality. Gordon Mills gave many rock stars their stage names, among them Engelbert Humperdinck. 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," which Mills wrote and composed jointly with Les Reed, was an instant hit, released in early 1965. 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, 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 Caesars 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 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.
Bashar 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. During 1980-1981, he had a second television variety show, "The Tom Jones Show", which lasted one season and produced twenty-four episodes. In recent years, both television shows have been the subject of litigation in relation to the original license holder, C/F International. For example, as of December, 2004, C/F International was a secured judgement creditor of Classic World Productions and its principal, Darryl Payne, for approximately one million dollars, and was the principal secured creditor at the time of the subsequent bankruptcy filing by the company. C/F International's action against Classic World Productions and owner Darryl Payne was based on unpaid royalties in relation to the Tom Jones television variety show of 1969-1971, "This Is Tom Jones", and related recordings. C/F International's rights to later Tom Jones material were also subject to dispute. In March, 2007, Tom Jones and Tom Jones Enterprises sued C/F International to stop C/F International from licensing sound recordings made from Jones' 1981 series of variety shows, "The Tom Jones Show", recorded in Vancouver, Canada. It was contended that any rights that C/F International had to license "The Tom Jones Show" did not include the right to make and license separate recordings of the performances on the show. In addition, it was contended that any rights that C/F International had in "The Tom Jones Show" no longer existed, due to numerous breaches of contract. The 1969-1971 "This Is Tom Jones" television shows are currently sold by Time-Life, rather than by Classic World Productions or C/F International.
In 1970, Jones teamed up with Raquel Welch and Producer/Choreographer David Winters of Winters-Rosen Productions for the TV special Raquel! This is now seen as a classic 1970s timepiece that paired together pop-culture icons in their respective primes. The multi-million-dollar, TV song & dance extravaganza was filmed around the world - from Paris to Mexico. Lavish production numbers of classic songs from the era, costumes and guest performances, including John Wayne and Bob Hope in the Wild West. Jones and Welch, then being successful 1970's actors.
In 1999 he recorded the album Reload, a collection of duets with various other artists, 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 honours for his work, including a BRIT Award for Best Male. Also in 2000 Jones was hired as the new voice of Australia's National Rugby League, singing in an advertisement to market the 2000 season.
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 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.
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