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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Tom Jones' enduring popularity
Tom Jones, 1965
His many hits include Delilah and It's Not Unusual
Tom Jones, who has received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, is one of the world's most celebrated singers.

Born Thomas Jones Woodward on 7 June 1940 in the Welsh town of Pontypridd, he began singing at an early age.

He began his musical career in 1963 as vocalist in the beat group Tommy Scott and the Senators, before changing his name to Tom Jones and signing with the Decca record label in 1964.

His first single, Chills and Fever, failed to chart. But his second, It's Not Unusual, was an international hit.

By 1965 he was opening for the Rolling Stones, touring with the Spencer Davis Group and performing the title tracks for What's New Pussycat? and the James Bond film Thunderball.

The final note of the latter was so high Jones reportedly fainted while recording it.

Jones enjoyed further hits with Help Yourself, Delilah and his signature number, The Green, Green Grass of Home.

But it was as a live performer that he achieved his greatest success - particularly in Las Vegas, where he would use the female underwear with which he was regularly pelted to mop his perspiring brow.

Rapturous reception

Moving to America in the 1970s, Jones saw his popularity wane as musical fashions changed. But his career got a welcome boost in the late 1980s when his son Mark became his manager.

Tom Jones, 2005
Jones performed in his home town earlier this year
In 1987 he recorded the ballad A Boy from Nowhere, his first major hit in over a decade. He followed that with Kiss, a cover of the Prince song recorded with dance outfit The Art of Noise.

The track brought Jones a whole new generation of fans, who gave him a rapturous reception when he performed at Glastonbury in 1993.

Performing with Robbie Williams at the Brit Awards in 1998 led to Reload, an album of duets featuring collaborations with such contemporary bands as the Cardigans, the Stereophonics and the Divine Comedy.

One of the biggest hits from the album was Sex Bomb, recorded with German producer Mousse T.

In 2000 he sang for former President and Mrs Clinton at the Millennium Celebrations in Washington, the prelude to the largest and most successful tour of his career.

In 2002 he recorded his Mr Jones album with Wyclef Jean, formerly of the Fugees.

And in May this year the singer celebrated his 65th birthday with an emotional homecoming concert in Pontypridd.

Booming baritone

Tom Jones married Linda Trenchard in 1957, one month before their son was born. They have stayed together ever since, and he told a newspaper in 2002: "One reason we'd never split up is that if you're married more than once, who are you going to be buried with?"

Tom Jones, 1999
The Welsh singer, now 65, was made an OBE in 1999

Between his touring and recording commitments Jones has also appeared in the occasional film, playing himself in the 1996 sci-fi spoof Mars Attacks! and the Irish drama Agnes Browne.

His knighthood for services to music is the culmination of a long list of honours he has received over a distinguished career.

Though now of retirement age, he shows no signs of slowing down.

In 1967, Frank Sinatra told Jones his booming baritone would go if he didn't change the way he sang.

"But what other way is there?" the Welshman replied. "I'll be around until the green, green grass is turned into a car park."


SEE ALSO:
Amazing tribute to singer Jones
07 Jul 05 |  South West Wales


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