Born Thomas John Woodward in Pontypridd, Wales in 1940, Sir Tom Jones OBE is a living legend. The son of a miner and homemaker who grew up singing at school and for family gatherings, he went on to record music that’s traversed many genres as well as appealed to people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities.
Jones quit school at the age of 16 and did odd jobs like selling vacuums door to door to earn money. Married and a father by the age of 17, he also sang at night in dance halls and clubs around South Wales before catching the ear of a London-based manager who got him signed with Decca Records.
Jones’ first single, 1964’s Chills And Fever, did not perform well while his second single, 1965’s It’s Not Unusual, surprised everyone. The song not only entered the UK singles chart upon release, but climbed to No.1 within a month and landed him an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular US late-night TV talk programme.
In 1966, Jones released a cover of the country song Green, Green Grass Of Home, which became a No.1 hit in the UK. Throughout the mid to late ’60s, he also scored a slew hit singles with Once Upon A Time, With These Hands, What’s New Pussycat?, Thunderball, Detroit City, I'll Never Fall In Love, I'm Coming Home, Delilah, Help Yourself, Love Me Tonight and Without Love (There Is Nothing).
With a baritone voice and delivery ranging from husky to smooth, his singing style was inspired by artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Little Richard and his sound was heavily influenced by American R&B, soul and rock.
In 1971, Jones released the massive hit She's A Lady, and during the remainder of the ’70s established himself as a major draw headlining showrooms on the Las Vegas Strip. In this decade, he also launched his own label, MAM Records, with manager and songwriter Gordon Mills.
The ’80s saw Jones try his hand at country music. Although nine of his songs broke into the US country top 40 chart, he failed to attract UK listeners until releasing the 1987 single A Boy From Nowhere, which peaked at No.2. His cover of Prince’s Kiss with Art Of Noise was also a No.5-charting hit and led him to win an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video. In 1989, Jones received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The ’90s saw Jones re-invent himself once again. Following his successful first appearance at Glastonbury in 1992, he popped up as himself on an episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons entitled Marge Gets A Job. Plus he released the hit song If I Only Knew in 1994 and recorded a cover of You Can Leave Your Hat On for the soundtrack of the film The Full Monty.
Jones’ 1999 album Reload featuring cover duets with the likes of The Cardigans, Van Morrison, Stereophonics, Robbie Williams and Natalie Imbruglia went to No.1 in the UK and became the biggest-selling record of his then 35-year career. Its No.3-charting single Sex Bomb performed with German DJ and record producer Mousse T was a smash hit across Europe and the US too.
Since the millennium, Jones has remained a vital recording and performing artist. He teamed up with Jools Holland in 2004 for the roots rock album Tom Jones & Jools Holland, was honoured by the Queen with knighthood in 2006, self-penned the album 24 Hours in 2008, began appearing on prime time TV as a coach on The Voice in 2012 and performed at the MCG in Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final alongside Ed Sheeran. He also got some of the best reviews of his career for the three albums he released during the 2010s: Praise & Blame, Spirit In The Room and Long Lost Suitcase.
Among the many accolades across his long career, Jones has received two BRIT Awards for Best Male and Outstanding Contribution to Music, a Hitmaker Award from the US Songwriters Hall of Fame and a GQ Award for Legend of the Year.
Jones’ 15th studio album Surrounded By Time arrived in April 2021. As with his past three hugely acclaimed collections, this one was recorded with producer Ethan Johns (Laura Marling, Paolo Nutini, Kings Of Leon). He announced an intimate one-off show celebrating its release at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for 27 July 2021 and confirmed a series of summer outdoor shows and festivals throughout the UK – including one in Wales at Rhyl Events Arena on 1 September 2021.
In July 2021, Jones also revealed UK arena dates for December 2021 as part of his Surrounded By Time Tour.