Music

Sir Tom, who drew a crowd in seconds after he got busking outside London's Festival Hall, was taking part in the BBC Two Culture Show's busking challenge, in which leading acts perform in public places for charity
Photo: Rex
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After appreciative fans tossed 460 into the guitar case of his accompanist, the California-based singer laughingly told them: "That's more than I got paid for my first gig!"
Photo: Rex

Tom Jones thrills surprised South Bank crowds with charity busk

20 NOVEMBER 2008
Buskers are a common sight on London's South Bank. Yet something about the treacle-voiced singer in sunglasses stopped people in their tracks; closer inspection revealed it was Tom Jones, performing a street gig for charity.

Any doubts about the identity of the LA-based star from Pontypridd - whose gyrating hips and charisma led to him being labelled the Welsh Elvis in his heyday - was dispelled when he encouraged female admirers to "wiggle around just a little bit".

These days fans have to splash out if they want to see their hero in action, but on this occasion the performance was free - with appreciative onlookers only being petitioned for the usual busker donations. And the audience was loving it. Some scaled trees to get a better view, while others pulled out mobiles phones to record him belting out his own classics such as Green, Green Grass Of Home interspersed with rock'n'roll hits like Great Balls Of Fire.

Not surprisingly, the biggest cheer came when Sir Tom performed his signature track, It's Not Unusual. The set, outside London's Festival Hall, was part of the BBC Two Culture Show's busking challenge, in which leading acts perform in public places for charity.

With the singer urging them to "dig deep" the crowd tossed coins into the case of the acoustic guitarist accompanying him and had soon contributed 460 towards cancer research. "That's more than I got paid for my first gig," laughed the music legend.


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