Tom's vocals were considered to be too raucous, and he moved like Elvis. Not things that were expected of a Valleys boy in the early 60s!
I have known that it wasn't "cool" for my age group to love Tom Jones but I always have. Proudly I own his music to this day and no one sings or moves like Tom.
I remember being an Army kid in 1969 I babysat for an Army couple that drove for hours to see his show. The wife was extremely excited and had her blonde hair done in a large up-do and to this day I see those same women in the audience with the same hairstyles! Even at the Elvis Fest last weekend Where Irv Cass did a terrific job as "Tom" those same women were there!
Thomas Jones Woodward
Tom Jones real name Thomas Jones Woodward began singing at an early age. It wasn't unusual in the valleys towns of South Wales. But the boy was clearly something special: he'd regularly sing at family gatherings, weddings and his mother's Women's Guild meetings.
He also sang in his school choir, although it's said he was once told off for drowning out the rest of them as they sang Men Of Harlech in school assembly.
By the late 1950s Tom had become entranced by the new rock 'n' roll sounds coming from the radio. In his teens he was becoming something of a tearaway, missing school, drinking and chasing girls.
At 16 Tom left school. He married Linda the following year, one month before their son Mark was born. At the time, Tom was working nights in a paper mill, a situation which paid fairly well but was getting in the way of his singing. Something had to give. He gave up working at the mill.
In 1963 he became the front man for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a local beat group whose former singer Tommy Redman preferred singing ballads. Scott later became a welder in Treforest.
Jones recorded his first single, Chills And Fever, for Decca in late 1964. The single didn't chart, but the follow-up, It's Not Unusual, was an instant smash hit. Its orchestrated arrangement coupled with Jones energetic delivery proved infectious, and the song reached number one in the UK and the top 10 in America. And so a star was born.
A string of hits followed, including Once Upon A Time, With These Hands and Burt Bacharach's classic What's New Pussycat.
In 1965 Tom sang the theme tune to the James Bond film Thunderball, which starred Sean Connery. He also met Elvis that year, starting a friendship that would endure until Presley's death in 1977.
In 1966, Tom released his most successful single ever: Green, Green Grass Of Home was to become Tom's second chart topper. He first heard the song on a Jerry Lee Lewis album, Country Songs For City Folks, but the song was interpreted by many to refer to Jones' native Wales.
The following year, 1967, Tom performed for the first time in Las Vegas, at The Flamingo. In future years he would return time and time again. Indeed, Tom's time in Las Vegas saw him elevated to superstar status in America, a position he enjoys to this day.
One of Tom's best-loved singles was released in 1968. Delilah was a dark tale of murder and infidelity, but people were entranced by the melody and Jones' unforgettable delivery. It became a big hit.
Tom remains married to Linda Soon that he married at 16 years. Mary Wilson of the Supremes said in her book she lived with Jones in Hollywood back in the 70's but no reply was ever mentioned by the Jones camp. Read the Full BBC 7 Part Story on Tom Jones HERE My personal Tom favorite: