Personalities | Tom Jones | Sixties | Rock

(Vocals, b. 1940)

This Welshman’s piledriving but flexible baritone was first heard by the world at large on 1965’s ‘It’s Not Unusual’, a UK No. 1 that also reached the Top 10 in the States. A lean period ended with ‘Green, Green Grass Of Home’ at the top at home and high in the US Hot 100. Further hits stretched to the early 1970s, partly because the magnificence of his voice was able to ride roughshod over indifferent material, like 1971’s ‘Puppet Man’. In any case, chart entries had become mere sideshows now that he had found an apparent niche as a tuxedo-ed Las Vegas cabaret performer. Nonetheless, a return to the charts after a 10-year absence with 1987’s ‘The Boy From Nowhere’ and a re-issued ‘It’s Not Unusual’ brought much of the aura of a fresh sensation to teenage consumers. Suddenly hip, he had another smash in 1990 with a version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’; starred in a TV documentary by former Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren; and recorded with Robbie Williams, Stereophonics, Wyclef Jean and other modern chart contenders, intrigued by his unquiet journey to old age. In 2006, he received a knighthood.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Rock
Personalities | Janis Joplin | Sixties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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