Tom Jones (Treforest, Wales, 80 years old) has never been a man of his time, he says. “When I started this, it was already out of fashion,” he says. But he never cared in the least. “What are not the crooners? Nor were they worn in the sixties. I landed with the Beatles and Rolling Stones craze. The british invasion The one that was being talked about in the United States did not want to hear about soloists. The guy from the record company told me, when I got to London: ‘That macho Elvis roll is history, friend.’ I told him that I had always gone against it and would always go against it, so I did not care that what I wanted to do was not liked by anyone. Elvis liked him, and wasn’t that too much already? I was nothing more than a working-class kid, a father of a family, and right there, where I had always wanted to be, “says the singer and sir.
The singer and sir picks up the call by pressing a key somewhere in London. It is a February day at night. If it weren’t for the almost pristine white of her hair, you’d think it might be a February day at night a couple of decades ago. “I am trying not to get old. The time is not going to be able to me ”, aims. He also says that his only plan for the future is to live as long as he can: “As my grandmother used to say, I will die when there is no other choice.” Serie. On April 23 he publishes his new album, Surrounded by Time, and it’s “the most personal thing I’ve ever done.” Like a photo album, only sound, in which he reviews “very specific moments” of his life.
“I am trying not to get old. Time will not be able to me. As my grandmother used to say, I will die when there is no other choice “
Account, for example, that the song I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall (I won’t break down with you if you fall) It’s something he said to his wife. His wife died of cancer in 2016. When he did, they had been together for 59 years. They were parents at 16. Their son, Mark Woodward, is now 64 years old, and is a co-producer on this album. “In the last moments she kept repeating to myself that she couldn’t take it anymore, but that I had to go on. And I promised him that I would not break down, ”he says. Another song was sent to him by a jazz classic, Bobby Cole. He had written it for him. It was titled I’m Growing Old. “I was 33 at the time and I told him that it seemed a bit early to sing about it. But that he would find the moment. And now it has arrived ”, he explains.
The historical context is important. The feeling, for Jones, is that he has lived countless lives. “My youth and childhood seem like something very distant to me,” he says. What you remember is wanting to grow. “As a child I just wanted to be older so I could go to the pub to have pints with my father and my uncles. He hated school. He was dyslexic. When I read everything was fine, but when the book was taken away from me, I was unable to write a word. I didn’t know what they looked like. I saw them in my head, but they couldn’t get out of there, ”he recalls. It was in the pub that he went to with his father that it all started. “One day the guy who had to sing failed them and the owner asked me if he could sing something,” he says. Elvis Presley fell in love with her voice. It’s not unusualHis first hit was going to be for Sandie Shaw, but he stood up: either he would sing it or he would go back to Wales. And he kept it.
“What do I remember most fondly? When I was 30, that TV show [The Tom Jones Show]. Suddenly I was there, singing with people that I had been a fan of as a child. In the fifties he bought me Little Richard and Aretha Franklin records and in the seventies, I invited them to sing with me on my own television show. It was wonderful, ”he says. On that show he once sang with Raphael. In fact, there is little that Tom Jones has not done. He talks about what Frank Sinatra told him. “Oh, Frank was telling me to run away from Las Vegas, that I would lose my credibility as an artist there. And he was right. Once you get to Las Vegas, nobody buys your records. You disappear, ”he says. He spent decades in Las Vegas, doing two concerts a night. “They’re exploiting you, Tom,” Frank told me, “he recalls. But there was no way he would find his place.
On Surrounded by Time there is a song that talks about the time he spent in Atlantic City, performing in Donald Trump’s hotels. Its titled Talking Reality Television Blues. “Donald Trump came to my concerts to flirt. At some point in the show I would point at him and say: ‘That kid over there is the owner of all this.’ And he would stand up and look around. How ironic everything. That song is about how far television can go if you take it seriously. It can bring anyone to the White House, ”he says. He also talks about his first television. His mother bought it for him when he fell ill with tuberculosis at the age of 12. “I spent two years locked up at home. I saw the coronation of the queen. It’s one of the things I remember the most from that time, ”he says.
The only thing he misses these pandemic days are the settings. “I want to return as soon as possible,” he assures. Nothing has changed for him in all this time when it comes to music. “The only thing that has changed is the format in which what you do is sold. For the musician, everything is the same. He records in a studio and then he goes on tour ”, he explains. How would you like to be remembered? “Oh, I am clear about what I want him to put in my epitaph: ‘He was a milk singer!” He says. Remember when Elvis said, “Thank God you exist, Tom.”
“Elvis liked to think that I would still be there when he left. That with me, the idea of the soloist as he understood it, was not going to disappear, “he says. Jones hopes that Surrounded by Time give him back some of the fame he regained in the late 90s with Burning Down the House, a Talking Heads song that he covered with the group The Cardigans. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. “All I want is to keep singing. Luckily, my voice is intact. Pavarotti told me that he had the voice of a 20-year-old boy, and I said to him: ‘Is that good or bad?’ He clarified that it was a compliment. And, well, I mean, Jesus, when someone like Pavarotti says something like that to you, what difference does everything else matter?
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