Keeping up with Tom Jones

He’s as youthful as he’s ever been, and despite turning 85 next year, finds himself back out on the road this year. Born Thomas Jones Woodward on June 7th, 1940, in Pontypridd, Wales, Sir Tom Jones is a symbol of enduring talent and charisma in the world of music – in the UK, a true national treasure.

With a career spanning over six decades, the entertainer has not only become synonymous with his powerful baritone voice but has also left an indelible mark through his flamboyant performances and timeless hits. This year his talent graces everywhere from Argentina to Chile, Spain to, erm, the Llangollen International Music Festival in deepest Denbighshire.

“It’s all the same for me,” the Delilah, Green, Green Grass of Home and Sex Bomb singer begins. “At the end of the day, I just love singing. I’ve always loved singing and performing, and I’m only going to even think about retiring and giving up if I have to.

“And then when I think about it, I think, ‘no, no, no, it’s never going to happen” he laughs. Jones’ trademark hits include a mix of pop, rock, R&B and traditional standards, showcasing a vocal range that’s as versatile as his fanbase.

“I think most people turn to ‘It’s Not Unusual’ when asked about a classic Tom Jones song,” he says. “It’s strange because it was one of the first, I ever recorded and it’s also incredibly short, coming in at just a few seconds over two minutes.”

Speaking about performing his repertoire live, Jones jokes, who received an OBE from the Queen in 1999. “The good news is that some of these tracks are so short I can knock them out super quick, then get back home and watch the news!”

The phenomenon of female fans throwing their knickers at ‘Tiger’ – his on-stage nickname – during performances became a hallmark of his concerts back in the day, symbolising the height of his sex symbol status. However, it’s not something he’s too keen on.

“At first, it made me laugh and I thought it was a bit playful, so I went along with it.

“However, I’m a singer, a performer, an entertainer. I like to be rated on my voice.”

Rest assured, his vocal prowess has not waned over the years; if anything, it has matured, adding depth to his more recent performances and recordings… so much so that, even as an octogenarian, his commitment to the craft remains unwavering.

“Was it Craig David who said, ‘born to do it’? Well, I got there first, Craig!”

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