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Tom Jones - Biography

The Welsh singing icon was born in 1940

Sir Tom Jones smiling at a red carpet event
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Early life

Thomas Jones Woodward, later Sir Tom Jones, was born on 7 June 1940, in Pontypridd, South Wales, the son of a Welsh coal miner and his wife Freda Jones. A bout of tuberculosis at the age of 12 kept him indoors for two years and nearly claimed his life, but Tom's spirit proved amazingly resilient and the time at home led to him finding solace in listening to music. 


Singing was, as he says, a "calling," and in 1963 he joined the group Tommy Scott And The Senators as a vocalist. A series of managers followed as the Welsh crooner embarked upon his quest for solo stardom, but it was when he teamed up with Gordon Mills that the Welshman finally struck gold. While his first single, 1965's 'Chills And Fever' didn't make the charts, his follow-up, 'It's Not Unusual', reached top of the charts in 13 countries. 

Hits including the Burt Bacharach and Hal David-penned 'What's New Pussycat?' followed, and the swinger succeeded in keeping in the public eye on both sides of the Atlantic with 1966's 'Green, Green Grass Of Home' and with his theme for the James Bond film Thunderball. In the late 60s Tom also carved a niche for himself on the small screen with This Is Tom Jones, a variety show in which he duetted with a wide range of guests including Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and fellow South Wales singing icon Shirley Bassey. Then came Vegas, where the Wales-born singer became a fixture on the circuit, pulling in $100,000 a week. 

Later success

Tom took a break from recording during the early Vegas years, but following the death of his longtime producer Mills, he returned to the studio under the guidance of a new manager: his son, Mark Woodward. While Tom was never really off the scene, his popularity enjoyed a revival in the 90s as a whole new generation discovered his swinging hips. This occurred as he teamed up with a diverse range of acts including popstars The Cardigans, techno group Art Of Noise and the ivory-tickling chanteuse Tori Amos. 

In 1999 he received an OBE and was named Best Male Artist at the 2000 BRIT Awards - his first BRIT trophy ever. The 00s brought more success for the star who continued to perform all around the UK and world and release music, including covers of songs such as 'Islands in the Stream' which he worked on along with the cast of Gavin & Stacey

The proud Welsh musician was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 for his services to music. In 2010 Tom released a new album, Praise & Blame, and two years later he returned to the small screen to become a judge on the UK version of talent show The Voice. In 2021, the star released his fourth cover album, Surrounded by Time, and he toured the world in 2022 and 2023.

Personal life

While the star became well known for his many extramarital relationships with famous women and fans over the years (one of which resulted in the birth of a son) Tom was married to his high school sweetheart Linda Trenchard for 59 years from 1957 to her death in 2016. They married when they were just 16 years old as Linda was pregnant with the pair's son, Mark.

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