At 82 years old, Tom Jones has this physical status:
Thomas John Woodward was born at 57 Kingsland Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd, in Glamorgan, South Wales. His parents were Thomas Woodward (31 March 1910 – 5 October 1981), a coal miner, and Freda Jones (30 December 1914 – 7 February 2003). Three of his grandparents were of English origin: his paternal grandfather, James Woodward, was an ironmonger's haulier from Gloucestershire, and his paternal grandmother, Anne Woodward, was from Wiltshire. His maternal grandfather, Albert Jones, was Welsh, and his maternal grandmother, Ada Jones, was born in Pontypridd, to parents from Somerset and Wiltshire.
Jones attended Wood Road Infants School, Wood Road Junior School and Pontypridd Central Secondary Modern School. He began singing at an early age: he would regularly sing at family gatherings, weddings and in his school choir. Jones did not like school or sports, but gained confidence through his singing talent. At 12 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Many years later he said: "I spent two years in bed recovering. It was the worst time of my life." During convalescence, he could do little else but listen to music and draw.: 9–10
Jones's bluesy singing style developed out of the sound of American soul music. His early influences included blues, R&B and rock and roll singers Little Richard, Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, Brook Benton, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
In March 1957, Jones married his high school girlfriend Linda Trenchard, when they were expecting a child together, both aged 16. The couple's son, Mark, was born in the month following their wedding. To support his young family, Jones took a job working in a glove factory and was later employed in construction.
Jones was married to Linda (born 1941 as Melinda Rose Trenchard) from 2 March 1957 until her death on 10 April 2016. They stayed married despite his many well-publicised infidelities. The couple had one son, Mark Woodward (born 1957), and two grandchildren (Alex and Emma).
Jones has stated that he had sex with up to 250 groupies a year at his peak of fame. Jones had affairs with well-known women, including Mary Wilson of the Supremes, TV host Charlotte Laws, and former Miss World Marjorie Wallace. In a 2008 interview with Blender magazine, Cassandra Peterson revealed she lost her virginity to Jones.
One affair resulted in the birth of a son. In October 1987, while on tour in the US, Jones had a brief relationship with model Katherine Berkery, who then discovered she was pregnant. After a legal battle that included DNA testing, a United States court ruled in 1989 that Jones was the boy's father. Jones denied the court's findings, until finally, in 2008, he admitted they were true. He has shown no interest in meeting his son, Jonathan Berkery.
Following the election of a Labour government in 1974, Jones became a tax exile to avoid a 98 percent income tax. In June 1976, he purchased the red-brick mansion at 363 Copa De Oro Road in the East Gate Old Bel Air in Los Angeles from Dean Martin for $500,000. He sold it to Nicolas Cage in 1998 for a reported $6.469 million. In 2009, after 35 years in the US, Jones said that he and his wife were planning to move back to the UK. "I've had a great time living in Los Angeles", Jones said, "but after all these years, we think now is the time to move home".
In October 2015 his autobiography, Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography, was published by Michael Joseph. Reviewing the book in the Daily Express, Clair Woodward said, "In the tradition of so many autobiographies these days, Tom Jones's doesn't tell you what you really want to hear. ... What you are left with is a riotously enjoyable story of Jones 'The Voice' which nicely doubles as the story of British pop and light entertainment from the Sixties onwards."
Linda, Lady Woodward, died on 10 April 2016 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, after a "short but fierce" battle with cancer, with Jones cancelling concerts at the time. After her death, Jones sold their Los Angeles mansion and its contents, apart from treasured photos, and moved back to the UK. He resides in a flat in London, as she suggested.
In 2021, Jones revealed that he uses inversion therapy to stay in good health.
A few years after Linda's death there had been rumours that Jones was dating Priscilla Presley. In 2021 he said they had known each other since the 1960s and simply enjoyed spending time together. People had thought they were dating because they had been seen together dining and at Jeff Franklin's house.
Jones and his idol Elvis Presley met in 1965 at the Paramount film stage, when Elvis was filming Paradise, Hawaiian Style. They became good friends, spending more time together in Las Vegas and duetting until the early hours at Presley's private suite. The friendship endured until Presley's death in 1977. Jones's guitarist between 1969 and 1974, Big Jim Sullivan, was also friends with Presley.
Jones's voice has been described as a "full-throated, robust baritone". According to Jones himself, his young voice was a tenor voice. He said: "What you lose on the top end, you gain on the bottom end. I used to be able to hit a top C when I was young now it's a B flat." He became the frontman in 1963 for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a Welsh beat group. They soon gained a local following and reputation in South Wales. In 1964, the group recorded several solo tracks with producer Joe Meek, who took them to various record labels, but they had little success. Later that year, Decca producer Peter Sullivan saw Tommy Scott and the Senators performing in a club and directed them to manager Phil Solomon, but the partnership was short-lived.
The group continued playing gigs around South Wales. Gordon Mills met Jones, became his manager, and introduced him to London, where Mills worked in music. Mills renamed him "Tom Jones", to exploit the popularity of the Academy Award-winning 1963 film.
Eventually, Mills got Jones a recording contract with Decca. His first single, "Chills and Fever", was released in late 1964. It did not chart, but the follow-up, "It's Not Unusual", became an international hit after offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline promoted it. The following year was 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 No. 1 in the United Kingdom and the top ten in the United States. During 1965, Mills secured a number of film themes for Jones to record, including the theme songs for the film What's New Pussycat? (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) and also for the James Bond film Thunderball. Jones was also awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1966. During a filming break at Paramount Studios (1965) in Hollywood, Jones met Elvis Presley for the first time; he recalls Presley singing, 'With These Hands' as he walked towards him from the film set. The two men became good friends.
In 1966, Jones's popularity began to slip somewhat, causing Mills to reshape the singer's image into that of a crooner. Jones also began to sing broader material. Jones soon topped UK charts and reached the top 40 in US charts. Over the next few years he scored a string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic, including "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", "I'm Coming Home", and "Delilah", each of which reached No. 2 in the UK chart.
In 1967, Jones performed in Las Vegas for the first time, at the Flamingo. His performances and style of dress became part of his stage act, and increasingly featured his open, half-unbuttoned shirts and tight trousers. He soon chose to record less and focus on club performances. Jones played in Las Vegas at least one week each year until 2011.
Jones had an internationally successful television variety show titled This Is Tom Jones from 1969 to 1971. The Associated Television-produced show was worth a reported US$9,000,000 (equivalent to about $60,200,000 in 2021) to Jones over three years. It was broadcast by ITV in the UK and by the American Broadcasting Company in the US. As a result of the show, Jones was nominated in 1970 for a "best actor" Golden Globe. From 1980 to 1981, he had a second television variety show, Tom Jones, which was produced in Vancouver, Canada, and lasted 24 episodes. Both television shows were the subject of litigation with the original licence holder C/F International. As of December 2004, C/F International was a secured judgment creditor of Classic World Productions and its principal, Darryl Payne, for approximately US$1,000,000 (equivalent to about $1,400,000 in 2021), and was the principal secured creditor at the time of the subsequent bankruptcy filing by the company. C/F International's action against Classic World Productions and owner Darryl Payne was based on unpaid royalty payments from This Is Tom Jones and related recordings. This Is Tom Jones is sold on DVD by Time Life rather than by Classic World Productions or C/F International.
C/F International's rights to later Tom Jones material were also disputed. In March 2007, Tom Jones and Tom Jones Enterprises sued C/F International to stop the company from licensing sound recordings made from the 1981 Tom Jones series. It was contended that any rights that C/F International had to license the Tom Jones show did not include the right to make and license separate recordings of the performances on the show, and that any rights that C/F International had in the Tom Jones show no longer existed because of numerous breaches of contract. Examples of contentious CDs are Live on the Tom Jones Show, released in 2006, and Greatest Hits Live, originally issued by C/F International in 1981 and later licensed to and issued by Prism Leisure Corporation as 30 Greatest Hits – Live in Concert.
On 26 April 1970, CBS released the Raquel Welch television special Raquel! directed by David Winters, in it Jones is among guests.
In the 1970s, Jones toured with the female singing groups Quiet Elegance and the Blossoms as his backing groups. He had a number of hit singles, including "She's a Lady", "Till", and "The Young New Mexican Puppeteer", but in the mid-1970s his popularity declined. He did, however, have a big hit in 1976 with "Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow", which went to No. 1 on the US country chart, No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 40 on the UK Singles Chart.
In 1972, he co-starred with Jennifer O'Neill in David Winters's television special The Special London Bridge Special.
In 1976, Jones was set to make his film debut in the film Yockowald, in which he was to play a CIA assassin. The film was shelved after the production ran out of money three weeks into filming.
In 1979, Jones made his acting debut in Pleasure Cove, an ABC television film which was a pilot for a potential television series but was not picked up. In the film, he played a suave conman named Raymond Gordon staying at the holiday island resort of the title. His co-stars in the film included Constance Forslund, Tanya Roberts and David Hasselhoff.: 326 In 1984, he guest-starred in an episode of the television series Fantasy Island as an accountant who fantasises about living life as Dick Turpin.
In the early 1980s, Jones started to record country music. From 1980 to 1986, he had nine songs in the US country top 40, yet failed to crack the top 100 in the UK or the Billboard Hot 100. Jones's manager Gordon Mills died of cancer on 29 July 1986, and Jones's son Mark became his manager.: 271, 275
In 1987, Tom Jones re-entered the singles chart with "A Boy from Nowhere", which went to No. 2 in the UK. The following year, he covered Prince's "Kiss" with Art of Noise. The song reached No. 5 in the UK and No. 31 in the US. The video for "Kiss" was played frequently on MTV and VH1, and won the MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video.
Jones received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989, located at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, in front of Frederick's of Hollywood. He collaborated with Van Morrison on his album Carrying A Torch, released in 1991 on Dover Records, featuring Jones's cover of Morrison's title track. Partly recorded at Townhouse Studios in London, Morrison wrote and produced four songs for the album.
In 1992, he made his first appearance at the UK's Glastonbury Festival, and in 1993 he appeared as himself in episodes of two popular US sitcoms, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ("The Alma Matter") and The Simpsons ("Marge Gets a Job").
Jones signed with Interscope Records in 1993 and released the album The Lead and How to Swing It. The first single, "If I Only Knew", went to No. 11 in the UK. Jones performed the song at the 1994 MTV Europe Music Awards, for which he also served as host. In 1997 Jones recorded a cover of Randy Newman song "You Can Leave Your Hat On" for the soundtrack of The Full Monty.
In 1996, Jones appeared as himself in Tim Burton's ensemble science-fiction comedy film Mars Attacks!. A scene in the film features him performing on stage when aliens attack and he manages to escape with a gun.
In 1999, Jones released the album Reload, a collection of cover duets with artists such as the Cardigans, Natalie Imbruglia, Cerys Matthews, Van Morrison, Mousse T, Portishead, Stereophonics and Robbie Williams. The album went to No. 1 in the UK and sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Five singles from Reload charted in the UK top 40. The single "Sex Bomb" was released in early 2000 and became the album's biggest single, reaching No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
US President Bill Clinton invited Jones to perform on New Year's Eve at the 2000 millennium celebrations in Washington, D.C. In 2000, Jones garnered a number of honours for his work, including a BRIT Award for Best British Male. He was also hired as the new voice of Australia's National Rugby League, singing in an advertisement to market the 2000 season.
In 2002, Jones released the album Mr. Jones, which was produced by Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean. The album and the first single, "Tom Jones International", were top 40 hits in the UK.
Jones received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2003. The following year, he teamed up with pianist Jools Holland and released Tom Jones & Jools Holland, a roots rock 'n' roll album. It peaked at No. 5 in the UK.
On 28 May 2005, in celebration of his upcoming 65th birthday, Jones returned to his homeland to perform a concert in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd, before an audience of about 20,000. This was his first performance in Pontypridd since 1964. That same year, the BBC reported that Jones was Wales's wealthiest entertainer, having amassed a fortune of £175,000,000. Jones collaborated with Australian pop singer John Farnham in 2005 and released the live album John Farnham & Tom Jones – Together in Concert. The following year, Jones worked with Chicane and released the dance track "Stoned in Love", which went to No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart.
Jones, who had been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1999, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 at Buckingham Palace for his services to music. After receiving a knighthood, Jones stated: "When you first come into show business and get a hit record, it is the start of something. As time goes by it just gets better. This is the best thing I have had. It's a wonderful feeling, a heady feeling."
On 1 July 2007, Jones was among the artists who performed at Wembley Stadium at the Concert for Diana, joined on stage by guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith and soul singer Joss Stone. In addition to performing some of his own songs, the group covered the Arctic Monkeys song, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor". A boxing fan, Jones has performed national anthems before a number of boxing matches. He sang "God Save the Queen", the national anthem of the United Kingdom, before the Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton fight in 2007; he sang "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", the Welsh national anthem, at the Bernard Hopkins-Joe Calzaghe fight between fellow Welshman Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins in 2008; and he sang "God Save the Queen" before the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight in 2009.
In 2008, he released 24 Hours on S-Curve Records, his first album of new material to be issued in the United States for over 15 years. Jones, who was still performing over 200 dates a year as he approached his seventieth birthday, set out on a world tour to promote the album. "The fire is still in me. Not to be an oldie, but a goodie. I want to be a contender", Jones said. Also in 2008, Jones was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. On 16 November 2008, he was invited to perform on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing; he performed the debut single from 24 Hours, "If He Should Ever Leave You", which was named the ninth-best song of 2008 by Spinner. One of the songs from 24 Hours, "Give a Little Love", would later be featured in the first trailer for the 2010 comedy film, Little Fockers.
In February 2009, Jones appeared in an exclusive show with Vincent Moon, performing three songs live in front of a camera in a New York hotel room. In March 2009, Jones went to the top of the UK Music Charts for the third time in his career with a cover of "Islands in the Stream", sung with Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon and Robin Gibb, who co-wrote the original with his brothers Barry and Maurice. The record, which was inspired by the song's having featured in the BBC's hit sitcom Gavin & Stacey, was released in aid of Comic Relief and reached No. 1 in March 2009. This was his first UK chart topper since "Green, Green Grass of Home" in 1967, setting a new record of 42 years between two UK number ones; this record would be surpassed by Kate Bush when "Running Up That Hill" topped the charts in 2022, a 44 year gap between number ones.
Jones's album Praise & Blame was released on 26 July 2010. The album, consisting primarily of gospel and blues songs, included covers of songs by Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker and Billy Joe Shaver, and featured guest musicians such as Booker T.
On 7 June 2010, which was Jones's seventieth birthday, the single "Burning Hell", a cover of the John Lee Hooker song from the Praise & Blame album, was released. In July 2010, it was reported that David Sharpe, vice-president of Island Records (to whom Jones had moved, from EMI, for £1.5m in October 2009), had told his colleagues over email to "pull back this project immediately or get my money back" and asked whether the spiritually themed record had been a "sick joke". Jones later strongly criticised Sharpe and said that he was furious about the leaked email.
In July 2010 Jones appeared on the penultimate episode of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and performed "Burning Hell". In August 2010, Praise & Blame debuted at No. 2 on the UK album chart. By 2010 Jones had sold a total of over 100 million records.
On 11 September 2010 Jones performed for an audience of 50,000 at the Help for Heroes charity concert at Twickenham Stadium performing "Strange Things Are Happening Every Day" and his hit "Green, Green Grass of Home". On 22 September, Jones appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.
In May 2011 Jones appeared as a guest vocalist on the debut album Let Them Talk by Hugh Laurie. On 15 May 2011, he appeared alongside Laurie in the UK ITV series Perspectives, singing music from the album in New Orleans. On 25 May 2011, he appeared on American Idol after a medley of his hits performed by the American Idol "Top 13".
Jones released a single on 19 March 2012, produced by former White Stripes frontman Jack White, called Evil. The single was first made available through independent record shops in 7" vinyl format on 5 March. An exclusive three-coloured vinyl was also sold at only one shop – Spillers Records in Cardiff. The shop, which Jones visited as a boy, was founded in 1894 and is listed in Guinness World Records as the world's oldest record shop.
Jones experienced a resurgence in notability in the 2010s due to his coaching role on the BBC talent show The Voice UK from 2012 (with the exception of 2016). In March 2012 he became a coach on the show and was joined by will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue. He mentored Leanne Mitchell to win the first series. Jones returned to coach in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In August 2015, it was announced that Jones's contract with the show would not be renewed and that he would be replaced by Boy George. Jones criticised BBC executives for "sub-standard behaviour", having not consulted with him and informing him only 24 hours before the official announcement.
In May 2012 Jones released the album Spirit in the Room on Island Records/Universal Music. The track listing included covers of songs by Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Richard and Linda Thompson, Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits and the Low Anthem. Also in May, he starred in a one-off television drama titled "King of the Teds" which aired on Sky Arts as part of a series of standalone teleplays for Playhouse Presents. On 4 June Jones performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, singing "Delilah" and "Mama Told Me Not to Come". On 18 August Jones performed a fifty-minute set at the V Festival's Weston Park site in Staffordshire. On 9 September 2012, Jones headlined at BBC Radio 2's Live in Hyde Park festival.
In May 2014 Jones opened for Morrissey at a special show in the United States. On 27 September 2014, Jones performed at the Australian Football League's pre-game entertainment for the 2014 Grand Final along with Ed Sheeran.
In September 2015 Jones announced the long-awaited release of his album Long Lost Suitcase, on 9 October, through Virgin/EMI. The album is the third in a trilogy of albums, following Praise & Blame (2010) and Spirit in the Room (2012). The album's track titles are interwoven into the chapters of his autobiography Over the Top and Back released at the same time. It was produced by Ethan Johns and the diverse range of compositions includes songs from Gillian Welch, the Rolling Stones, Hank Williams and the Milk Carton Kids.
In November 2015 Jones appeared, alongside Rob Brydon, in a special 90-minute show, from the SSE Arena, Wembley, for BBC's Children in Need.
In December 2015 he appeared on the BBC's Jools' Annual Hootenanny, on duetting with Paul Weller.
In 2017 he returned to The Voice as a coach for series 6.
In 2018 he embarked on a live summer tour, which was planned to run from 1 May to 11 August. In July, however, many shows were cancelled due to sickness or bad weather.
In 2020 Jones again appeared on the BBC's Jools' Annual Hootenanny, broadcast on New Year's Eve, on which he duetted with Jools Holland and with Celeste.
In January 2021 Jones announced his forthcoming covers album Surrounded by Time, alongside the release of a new single, his rendition of Todd Snider's "Talking Reality Television Blues". In March he appeared on Later... with Jools Holland where he sang "I'm Growing Old" from that album. The album was released on 23 April.
On 17 and 18 June 2022 Jones appeared at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff alongside Stereophonics, whose Saturday concert was broadcast live on BBC Two.
On 3 September 2022, Jones performed "I Won't Crumble With You If You Fall", taken from his Surrounded by Time album, on The Voice UK. After the performance, Jones explained the meaning behind the song: "My wife, she was dying of lung cancer [...] I was always able to fix stuff, I was always able to do things, if she needed me for anything I was always there, but she said "you can’t crumble with me, don’t fall with me now, you’ve done everything you can, you must carry on and do what you do" [...] When I heard it I thought, “My God it’s like this was written for this situation”. It’s a lovely song." Within 24 hours, the song had peaked on the UK iTunes chart at number 1. "I Won't Crumble With You If You Fall" debuted at number 3 on the UK Official Singles Downloads Chart on 9 September 2022.