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Tom Jones leads New Year's Honours

Tom Jones

Story by Jack Foley

TOM Jones has been made a knight in the New Year Honours list (2006) for his services to music over the past four decades.

The popular 65-year-old, from Pontypridd in Wales, started his musical career in 1963 as vocalist in the group Tommy Scott And The Senators and has gone on to sell millions of records world-wide.

His enduring hits include Delilah and It’s Not Unusual, while recent albums have included collaborations with a number of well-known contemporary artists.

Jones was one of several musicians included in the honours list, with jazz musician, John Dankworth, also knighted and The Beverley Sisters, who became the first UK female group to break into the US top 10 charts, all appointed MBEs.


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

After appearing as the vocalist for Tommy Scott and the Senators, he then changed his name to Tom Jones and signed with the Decca record label in 1964.

His second single, It’s Not Unusual became an international hit and a music legend was born.

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

He also enjoyed massive success as a live performer, especially in Las Vegas where he would frequently mop his sweaty brow with the female underwear that was regularly thrown at him.

He moved to America in the 1970s but disappeared from the limelight for a while as music tastes changed. But his career was revived in the late 1980s when his son, Mark, became his manager.

In 1987, he recorded the ballad A Boy from Nowhere, which provided him with his first major hit in over a decade, and he promptly followed that with Kiss, a cover of the Prince song recorded with The Art of Noise.

After performing with Robbie Williams at the Brit Awards in 1998, he then decided to record Reload, an album of duets that featured collaborations with the likes of The Cardigans and Stereophonics. It featured the massive hit Sex Bomb, recorded with German producer, Mousse T.

In between making music, he even appeared in the occasional movie, such as Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! (in which he played himself).

Though now officially at retirement age, he shows no signs of slowing down and even celebrated his 65th birthday last year with a homecoming concert in Pontypridd.

Expect the Tom Jones story to continue for a few years yet!