"After a show now, I like to get something to eat and relax," says the legendary Tom Jones, a staple of the Las Vegas club scene since the Seventies. So much for his "Jones, The Trousers" image and the days of skimpy underwear raining down on stage.
Thomas Jones Woodward was born on June 7, 1940, in Pontypridd, South Wales, the son and grandson of Welsh coal miners. 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. Singing was, as he says, a "calling" and in 1963 he joined Tommy Scott And The Senators as a vocalist. A series of managers followed as the Welsh crooner embarked upon his quest for solo stardom. Then he teamed up with Gordon Mills, and struck gold.
His first single, 1965\'s Chills And Fever,
failed to get the underwear flying, but his follow-up, It\'s Not Unusual,
reached the top of the charts in 13 countries. Hits including the Burt Bacharach-penned What\'s New Pussycat?
followed, but some perhaps failing to see beyond his sexy gyrations began to tune out. Producer Mills smartly retooled Tom\'s playboy image replacing his open-to-the-waist shirts and hip-hugging pants with tuxedos and the swinger was soon back atop the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with 1966\'s Green, Green Grass Of Home.
In the late Sixties Tom 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, and Crosby, Stills And Nash. Then came Vegas.
The Wales-born singer became a fixture on the circuit, pulling in $100,000 a week. He 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 Nineties as a whole new generation discovered his swinging hips. And 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. He\'s turned "The Voice" into a £50-million fortune and still tours constantly, performing up to 200 concerts a year around the globe. And in 2006 he was made a Knight of the Realm at Buckingham Palace in honour of his achievements. "When I was a kid all I wanted was a hit record," he said. "I never thought about a knighthood. This is the best thing I\'ve ever had - it\'s a wonderful feeling."
Now, after more than 30 years in the public eye, he finally feels appreciated for his singing, rather than his other talents. "I sing the same way I\'ve always done. Sometimes it\'s in fashion and sometimes it\'s not," he says. "But the sex image isn\'t getting in the way. It\'s not Tom Jones the guy with the tight pants anymore... The kids are saying, \'Oh, you can sing. I mean, you can sing.\' So they\'re listening."
Yet despite his notorious image he regularly raised hell with Elvis Presley back in the Seventies and reportedly celebrated one birthday with six buxom blondes in tow Tom has a less-than-pulse-racing personal life. He\'s been married to wife Melinda for over 40 years the two wed aged 16 after she became pregnant and live in Los Angeles just minutes from his sister.