Tom Jones – Biography
Tom Jones was born on born 7 June 1940 in Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. His full name is Thomas John Woodward and the name Tom Jones is a stage name that he became famous for.
Tom Jones singing career started at an early age, singing at family gatherings, weddings and in his school choir. An unfortunate phrase of his young life happened when Jones was diagnosed with tuberculosis he was 12. During recuperation which took 2 years, he could do little else but listen to music and draw.
Two years after his recovery, Tom Jones then 16, married his high school girlfriend, Melinda Trenchard in March 1957. Melinda Trenchard was also sixteen but the marriage had to take place because Melinda was pregnant and they were expecting a child. One month later, she gave birth to a son who they named Mark, forcing Tom Jones to get a job as a factory worker and later a construction worker in order to support his family.
Things started to get better in 1963 when Tom Jones became the frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a Welsh beat group. They became quite well known in South Wales. The group recorded several solo tracks in 1964 with producer Joe Meek, who took them to various labels. This recording did not fare too well and the group continued doing their act in dance halls and working men’s clubs in South Wales.
It was during one of these performances that Tom Jones was spotted by Gordon Mills, a London-based manager originally from South Wales, who took Jones under his wing. He was also the man who gave him the stage name Tom Jones.
Under Mills, Tom Jones got his first recording contract with Decca, releasing his first single, “Chills and Fever”, in late 1964. The single failed to make in to the charts, but the follow-up, “It’s Not Unusual” became an international hit after offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline promoted it.
The following year would be the most prominent of Jones’s career, making him one of the most popular vocalists of the British Invasion. In early 1965 “It’s Not Unusual” reached number one in the United Kingdom and the top ten in the United States. During 1965 Mills secured a number of movie themes for Jones to record including the themes for the film What’s New Pussycat? (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) and for the James Bond film Thunderball. Jones was also awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1965. In Hollywood, Jones met Elvis Presley for the first time who he recalls singing his song as he walked towards him on set.
Tom Jones was awarded the OBE in 1999 and in 2006, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for “services to music”. During his entire career, Tom Jones won numerous musical awards.