Tom Jones biography
Tom Jones is a Welsh singer born on June 7, 1940, in Pontypridd, Wales. Influenced as a child by American blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll, over the past five decades the singing legend has produced hits in both the United States. and the United Kingdom. Highlights include classics such as Once Upon a Time; With These Hands; What’s New Pussycat?; Green, Green Grass of Home and Delilah. Drawing on his extensive musical experience, Jones became a judge on the BBC reality show The Voice in 2012.
Born Thomas John Woodward, Jones entered the world on June 7, 1940, in Pontypridd, Wales. The son of Thomas Woodward and Freda Jones, from an early age Jones loved to sing at gatherings and in the school choir.
He enjoyed listening to music, including BBC radio, which featured American blues, R&B and rock—genres which later influenced his musical style.
As a teen he was more interested in booze and girls rather than his education, so it was no surprise when he quit school at age 16. To earn money he worked as a builder's laborer and a door-to-door vacuum salesman.
In 1963, Jones formed the band Tommy Scott and the Senators. The crowds loved them, but growth was limited due to their non-urban location. This changed the next year, when London-based Gordon Mills discovered Jones, bringing him to London and becoming his manager.
With a new solo career, the artist changed his name to Tom Jones. Decca Records signed him, but his first single, Chills and Fever, didn't catch on. However, his second single, It's Not Unusual, peaked at No. 1 on British charts in 1965.
With success came a U.S. appearance, on The Ed Sullivan Show. From 1965 through 1968, Jones had several hit singles, including Once Upon a Time; With These Hands; What’s New Pussycat?; Thunderball; Green, Green Grass of Home and Delilah.
'This Is Tom Jones'
From 1969 to 1971, Jones starred in his own TV show, This Is Tom Jones, which aired in both the United States and Great Britain. He spent much of the 1970s touring internationally, releasing albums, hanging out with Elvis Presley and launching a record label, MAM Records, with his manager.
In 1986, Mills passed away, and Jones' son, Mark, replaced him as the singer's manager. The next year Jones released the song A Boy From Nowhere, which put him back on the British charts. From 1988 to 1991, Jones worked on collaboration projects, including Prince's hit song Kiss, which won the MTV Breakthrough Award. Jones also partnered with singer Van Morrison to release the album Carry a Torch.
Through the rest of the 1990s, Jones released albums such as The Lead and How to Swing It and Reload, which went platinum six times in the United Kingdom. He also branched into TV and film, appearing as himself on The Simpsons, hosting the MTV Europe Awards and American Music Awards, and acting in the films Mars Attacks and Agnes Brown.
Success continued through the 2000s, during which time he won many accolades, including the Brit Award for Best Male Artist. Other highlights included a performance for U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House Millennium Celebration and for Britain’s monarchy for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Jones also won the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
He released another hit album, Mr. Jones, in collaboration with Wyclef Jean in 2003 and worked with Jools Holland the next year to release the album Tom Jones & Jools Holland. He reached his 19th U.K. Top Hit in 2006, with Stoned in Love. In 2008, Jones released his first album in 15 years in the United States, 24 Hours. His acclaimed album Praise & Blame debuted in 2010 and brought him the best reviews in his career.
Drawing on his extensive musical experience, in 2012 Jones became a judge on the BBC musical-competition reality show The Voice. In May of that year he released the album Spirit in the Room, which included covers of songs by Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and other notable artists.
Jones married Linda Trenchard in 1957 at age 17, and together they had a son, Mark, born the same year.
In 1974 Jones moved his family to the United States due to resentment of Britain's high taxes. He bought Dean Martin's house in California's posh Bel-Air area.
Though he remained married to Trenchard, Jones was well known for his infidelities. During his career heyday he admitted to sleeping with more than 250 groupies a year. In 1987, he fathered a son through a four-day fling with model Katherine Berkery. Though for over 20 years Jones denied paternity, a DNA test in 2008 proved he was the boy's father.
For his musical accomplishments, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on Jones the honor of Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1995 and knighted him as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2005.