Thomas John Woodward was born at 57 Kingsland Terrace,Trefforest,Pontypridd Wales. His parents were Freda Jones (died 7 February 2003) and Thomas Woodward (died 5 October 1981), a coal miner. Jones began singing at an early age; he'd regularly sing at family gatherings, weddings, and in his school choir, and it was clear that he had singing talent.
However, he was struck down by tuberculosis and bedridden for almost a year. It was a critical time for him, but he could do little else but listen to music and draw. At age sixteen, Jones married Melinda Trenchard on 2 March 1957 (long before Jones became famous) and the couple had a son named Mark. Jones quit school with no qualifications and took a variety of jobs including a builder's labourer, door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman and a lorry driver.
Jones rose to fame in the 1960s as a singer, with an exuberant live act that included wearing tight trousers and billowing shirts in an Edwardian style popular among his peers at the time. In 1963, Jones became the frontman for local beat group, Tommy Scott and The Senators. Clad in black leather, he soon gained a local following and reputation in South Wales.
In 1964 the band recorded seven tracks with producer Joe Meek, who 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 Meek wasn't able to release the tapes.
Only after "Its Not Unsual" became a massive hit was Meek able to lease the tapes to Columbia (UK) and Tower (USA). 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, Wales Jones was spotted by Gordon Mills, a London-based manager originally from South Wales.
Mills became Jones' manager, and took the young singer to London. He contrived his stage "Tom Jones", a name that not only linked the singer to the image of the title character in Tonny Richardson's film of Henry Fielding's the History of Tom Jones aFoundling , which was a huge contemporary hit, but also emphasized Jones' Welsh nationality. His backing group (The Senators/Playboys) was renamed The Squires. This was the beginning of the second phase of Jones' career.
Record companies began finding Jones' stage presence, act, and vocal delivery too raucous and raunchy (Jones cited Elvis as a profound influence). Eventually,Decca rekindled their earlier 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 released in early 1965 and became an instant hits. The BBC initially refused to play it, but an offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, promoted it. Its orchestrated arrangement, coupled with Jones' 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 film Thunderball. Jones was awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1965. In 1966 Jones' popularity began to slip somewhat, causing Mills to redesign the singer's image into a hip but more respectable, mature,crooner.
Inspired by long-time influence Jerry Lee Lewis, country version, Jones released his most successful single ever,`Greeb Grass of Home" (written by Claude Curly Putman Jr. in 1965), and began to sing material that appealed to a broader 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 U.S.
In 1967 he performed for the first time in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. In 1968, starting at New York's Copacabana night club. His charismatic performances and style of dress (increasingly featuring his open half unbuttoned shirts and tight pants) became part of his stage act. Women would swoon and scream, and some would throw their Knickers on stage. Soon after he began to play Las Vegas, he chose to record less, instead concentrating 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 film 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 endured until Presley's death in 1977.
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Source : Wikipedia
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