Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tom Jones / This much I know / ‘Fame allows you to release things that were already in you. It’s like drink in that respect’

Tom Jones

Tom Jones: ‘Fame allows you to release things that were already in you. It’s like drink in that respect’



‘I used to run six miles a day, but now when I’m in London I don dark glasses and an anorak with a hoodie, and walk’: Tom Jones


This much I know

The singer, 75, on a lasting marriage, receiving contradictory advice from Elvis and Sinatra, and dyeing his hair

Angela Wintle
Saturday 24 October 2015 14.00 BST


My earliest memory is watching my mother hurrying to prepare tea and distractedly talking to my sister and me while looking out for my father. If the cloth wasn’t on the table when he arrived home from the colliery, it was failure on an epic scale as far as she was concerned.
My real name is Thomas Jones Woodward. My former manager, Gordon Mills, gave me the name Tom Jones, inspired by the 1963 movie with Albert Finney. It’s based on an 18th-century novel by Henry Fielding, though I’ve never read it.
I sensed very quickly that I wouldn’t find fame a burden. As someone who has looked at it from both sides, being famous is preferable to the alternative.
I don’t buy this “fame changes people” argument. Fame allows you to release things that were already in you, that’s all. Character will out. It’s a bit like drink in that respect.
The BBC received complaints when I sang on Blue Peter and Crackerjack in the 1960s. One viewer wrote: “I don’t want that man moving like that in front of my young family. And at teatime, too.” Apologies to all concerned.
I’ve had my career in reverse. Most people travel from critical acclaim to cabaret; I seem to have travelled from cabaret to critical acclaim.
Contracting tuberculosis at age 12 was difficult. But in a weird way it also made me feel special. I was quarantined at home for two years, but I knew that people were thinking about me and asking: “How’s Tommy?”
Frank Sinatra thought I should sing standards. “That’s what I want to hear from you,” he said. Meanwhile I had Elvis saying: “Don’t go there. Not standards. Leave that to Sinatra.” I was in the middle. I tried not to be too dizzied by it all.

Tom Jones
Photograph by Harry Borden

I’ve never had the feeling that I have with my wife Linda with anyone else. When I met her I wanted to hold her for as long and often as possible. I don’t think you do find that more than once. Our marriage has lasted because we have the same childhood memories and Welsh sense of humour, which is slightly sarcastic – no bullshit.
I gave up dyeing my hair in 2009. I’d been getting it blacked up for years, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. Don’t get me wrong, though: if I didn’t think the grey looked better, I’d still be dyeing it.
I walk to relax. I used to run six miles a day, but my right knee started giving me trouble. So now when I’m in London I don dark glasses and an anorak with a hoodie, and walk. It doesn’t always work. I was crossing Lambeth Bridge recently when this van driver yelled: “Do you want a lift, Tom?”
I dread the time, if it ever comes, when I won’t be able to sing. Thankfully I’m 75 and still singing well. My voice is deeper, but I sing with more sensitivity, wisdom and experience.
Receiving a medal from my country [his knighthood in 2006] was above and beyond anything I could have imagined. Years later, the Queen stood right in front of me during the finale for the Diamond Jubilee Concert. There we were, on a stage rammed with international pop stars, with an audience of hundreds of thousands of flag wavers disappearing to the horizon, and she turned to me and said: “It’s cold, isn’t it?”
I’m rarely in bed before 4am. Sleep until midday, rise for lunch. I’m a nocturnal creature, really.
There’s just one way I’d like to be remembered: as a hell of a singer.


Over the Top and Back: the Autobiography by Toms Jones is published by Michael Joseph at £20. His new album, Long Lost Suitcase, is released on Virgin/EMI




THIS MUCH I KNOW
Carlos Santana  / ‘You can get high on what’s within you’
Georgia May Jagger / ‘With modelling, sometimes you’re punky, other times girly and sweet’
Tom Jones  / I might have become a miner like my father 
Tom Jones / ‘Fame allows you to release things that were already in you. It’s like drink in that respect’

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