Even if people aren’t familiar with the name Tom Jones, chances are high they know something about him.
The Voice, a Simpson’s episode or Fresh Prince, and probably two of his internationally famous hit songs are everywhere. Then there are facts you probably don’t know … like his tuberculosis and dislike of panties.
The early life of Jones was riddled with ups and downs. One such incident could have been the end of him.
At 12 he contracted tuberculosis. His mother refused to send him to Scotland for treatment. Instead, he spent two years in bed recovering and listening to music. Four years later, another major event would change him.
Being pregnant out of wedlock was considered atrocious in that time. So, whether out of love or necessity, he and his girlfriend married at the age of sixteen.
He then quit his lessons, mostly because he didn’t like school and ended up working in a glove factory. Little did he know, his son would become vital to his career.
Talent ran in the family because after Jones’ manager died, his son Mark took over.
The father warmly praised his son for being admirable in his job as well as taking care of him. One constant role was to keep his father from drinking too much while on the road. One thing Mark couldn’t stop … was the groupies.
It’s no secret that the ladies loved Tom. They also loved more than just his singing.
At his most popular, the crooner confessed he had slept with up to 250 groupies per year – and that doesn’t even count the stars he personally pursued. As expected, it devastated his wife in more than one way.
First, after an affair with Katherine Berkery, Tom was told that she was pregnant with his child.
He adamantly denied that he was the father until a DNA report proved he was. Even then, he still would not recognize his son, who apparently has had a rough life and is homeless. Second…
The constant news coverage of women swooning over him and confirmed rumors of his affairs reached his wife.
At first, she was enraged and even attacked him. Jones confessed he didn’t fight back because he deserved it. She stayed … but he didn’t stop. One particular conquest might be surprising.
The horror icon, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) said she was in a nude review in Las Vegas when she fell for Jones.
The outer image of being a gentleman completely shattered when she decided to lose her virginity to him and found him to be less than gentle. She had to go to the hospital afterward.
His career went strong for many years and produced many hits. But what some people don’t realize is that singers don’t always write their own songs.
“Not Unusual” was actually offered to Sandie Shaw but was passed over. Tom was next in line for it. However, these tunes brought more than fame.
It might seem cliché on many levels, but Jones really did have women throw their panties on stage for him.
At first, it was a novelty but soon he started to hate it – feeling that the spectacle took away from his singing and performances. One thing he did love was Vegas … and Elvis.
People have heard over and over again how Jones was friends or performance buddies with so many well-known celebrities.
But, one life-long friendship was with The King. This is extra interesting because he viewed Elvis as an idol. Another good friend was Dai Perry, who he smuggled in his plane.
Dai Perry served as Jones’ bodyguard. One day, while at a press conference in Venezuela, reporters became aggressive and Perry fought back, causing quite the scrap.
Proceedings were planned for the next day, but Jones smuggled his friend out on his private airplane. Another slip of the law would be his tax evasion.
In 1974, the Labor Government was elected, and Jones fled to America to avoid paying the 98%.
It was here he bought a mansion from Dean Martin until he sold it to Nicolas Cage for six million dollars. His life in the USA ended after his wife died and he moved back to the UK…
Despite the philandering, Jones’ wife stayed with him through it all.
But, after she passed from a harsh battle with cancer, he sold everything in it (save a few treasured photos). He honored her wishes and moved back to the UK to live in a simple flat. One final fact that ends on a lighter note?
“What’s New Pussy Cat” – it was originally written as the theme of the movie with the same name.
It’s been in all sorts of parodies and playlists. However, out of his entire repertoire, it’s his most hated song! According to Jones, it’s the least “on brand”. In fact, he almost refused to record it.