Tom Jones, El Salto del Tigre

Tom Jones, El Salto del Tigre

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The decay for Tom Jones had the smell of clean panties.Dodge underwear thrown by his fans had become part of his show.But at some point in the middle of the eighties, in a scenario of Las Vegas, the Wales tiger realized that the panties that they collected from the ground did not just remove those women, possessed by the jet of testosterone that released every bankruptcyof your waist.They brought them in the bags, very clean and folded.He was a rich man, he lived in a mansion, acted one day yes and the other too.But that smell of softener made Sir Thomas Jones Woodward understand that he had become a joke.

Even today, at 75, his blue eyes light up when he remembered the first time he picked up some panties from the ground in a performance.It was in 1969, in the Copacabana in New York."A girl got up, climbed her skirt, took her panties and, zas!, She threw them," he explains."It was very sexy.He had never happened to any singer before in the history of the Business show.And also in Copacabana, with all those gangsters.I picked them up, I cleaned with them the sweat of the forehead and told the girl: ‘Be careful, don't go to be cold’.I had a little fear, I am not denying it.It was a gang's girlfriend, and I was singing right there, among the tables.But it seemed good.He told me: ‘My girlfriend likes you, but I don't care because me too, you are a real man’.Gangers didn't care that their girlfriends liked them because they liked them too.It was the same that happened in the Wales Workers.‘Pop band shit!’, They told me, ‘Go to London and teach them to those cups what is good!’.That was the same, but on a larger scale ".

Tom Jones always swam against the countercurrent.He arrived at Swinging London with the manners of a palette of Wales, a fashionable suit and impossible curls.All I had was a good voice and the conviction that he had to make a living singing.Music was never a game for jones.Without studies, without trade and with a tuberculosis that prevented him from going down to the mine as his father, at age 16 he left his pregnant girlfriend and since then had two mouths more than feeding.

Sixty years later is perhaps the only living man who has seen Elvis with his pants down, as he remembers in his memoirs.He has been awarded by the Queen of England, like her grandfather, but without having stepped on the battlefield.He is still married to the same woman and his son, who is now his manager, has managed to dignify a career that seemed insurmountable.

At the end of last year Tom Jones published a new album, Long Lost Suitcase, the third stage of a trip to the roots of a half -century musical career.The trilogy is a kind of transition, piloted by his son-mineager and producer Ethan Johns, from nostalgic entertaining to Crooner Maduro. En Praise & Blame (2010) y Spirit In The Room (2012) se adentró en los repertorios del blues, el góspel y el soul.And on the album that closes the project puts its voice at the service of the songs of the Stones (Factory Girl), Willie Nelson (Opportunity To Cry) or Hank Williams (Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do).

Long Lost Suitcase is a heterogeneous tour of its musical background, conceived as a complement to its autobiography, actually written by journalist Giles Smith and published on the same dates with the title of Over The Top and Back (Michael Joseph).The book, in line with other superb memories of veteran musicians published in recent years, is the story of a very personal trip by Pontypridd, in the deep south of Wales, to Las Vegas.And at the same time it is a testimony of the golden era of the music industry counted in the first person by someone who reached the top, but always remained, in some way, on the margins of the dominant trends.

"I have not seen anything more masculine in my life!" Exclaim.Without reaching those extremes, it can be said that Tom Jones maintains an imposing physical form at 75 years.His outfit, black and tight, is not very different from the one who could look in a Las Vegas stage.But the curls of his hair and his knob look like a gray color that no longer bothers to hide.Sitting in a living room of a luxurious hotel in the heart of London, Jones proceeds to talk about a passion that has occupied him, he says, almost since he was born.

Tom Jones, el salto del tigre

"Music was always there," he recalls.“My mother was a housewife and, while cleaning, I took me in the Welsh way.They put a blanket enrolled to the body to take the baby and be able to continue doing their work.Then I put a Spike Jones album, Hawaiian War Chant, and, apparently, I moved in the blanket as dancing.My mother said: ‘What is this, what I have engendered!’.Then, as a child, when we were in the kitchen I got into the window and asked my mother: ‘Present me’.She answered that there was no one but me.And I told him that it did the same, that he introduced me at once.‘Ladies and gentlemen, Tommy Woodward!’, She announced.And I jumped and started the show.My mother assured that I learned to sing rather than to walk ".

At 12 he took tuberculosis and had to stay two years in bed.At that age I was already in love with Linda, the woman with whom she is still married today.That nobody is cheated: the sexual life of the Wales Tiger has been as rich and varied as expected.The details, however, are strikingly absent from their memoirs, and the artist's environment kindly requests that the sentimental matter is outside the interview.But Jones does talk about Linda.

"During all these years my stability has been my wife," he explains."She keeps my feet on the ground.It has been the most important in my life.The secret is to be in love.We fell in love in adolescence and we continue to be.We come from the same place, we have the same sense of humor.The sense of humor is essential to be together.When I'm going home, in Los Angeles, I'm with her.Linda has emphysema and you can't move much.Can't travel with me."As long as you come to me, I'm happy," he always tells me ".

Tom and Linda's youth ended abruptly when they were both 16 and she got pregnant.They married the following year and Tom Jones began working in a paper factory.Between shift and shift, he managed to play in the pubs of the area.He never learned to read music, but as a child he wanted to emulate the artists he heard on the radio."Having formed a family as soon as he stopped me, gave me more determination," he says.“Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had been a normal teenager, I think I wouldn't have taken life so seriously.But I only knew how to make money singing, it wasn't good at anything else ”.

Soon another of the people who would be key in his life, his first manager, crossed his way on his way.A new pop wave was forged in the mid -sixties, an androgynous and rebel aesthetic in which a macho whirlwind like Jones had difficult to fit.But Mills saw a strange potential in that young man who played with his band in the South Wales pubs.From his hand, Tom Jones went to London, leaving his family in Wales, to make his way in a hostile territory.

"The first thing I noticed when I arrived was that people did not speak in the pubs," he explains.“In Wales yes, especially if you came with a different accent.But in London they didn't care.At first it was not easy.Did not know anybody.What was carried were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.They told me: ‘That male shit no longer works, you must look like a child’.I was the same age as John Lennon, but he already looked like a man.They were like children, you know: ‘She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!”.

One day Mills gave Jones a song, apparently harmless, who would change his life forever.His name was not unusual and had written it for Sandie Shaw.But upon hearing it, he understood that this melody had to be his."It was something new," he recalls.“The only resemblance is what Dusty Springfield and Motown discs did.It was exciting.So I told Gordon: ‘If I don't stay, I turn to Wales, you fuck’.I recorded it in a model and Sandie Shaw, when he heard her, said it was my song ".It’s Not Unusual was launched in 1965 and immediately reached number one in the United Kingdom and three in the United States.Jones remained up with singles like What’s New Pussycat or Delilah.

He was 24 years old, but Tom Jones knew how to handle his star condition."I was chasing him so much that he did not disturb me," he explains."I knew what the alternative was and I preferred that".He assures that something that helped him maintain sanity was his attitude, say, distant with drugs."I never liked," he says."I didn't like that style.People sniffing cocaine in a toilet, what the hell is that?And marijuana, all those people giving a draft and retaining smoke.Execuls the smoke, balls!It is not attractive.I like good drinks, good wine, even a beer in a pub, talking to people.I like to smoke a good haban, but not like all those people who see the street, in the cold, out of the restaurants ”.

He had success, an unmistakable voice, but lacked a clear musical identity.It was difficult to pigeonhole him, and that made doubts about his ability to last.But soon he found a place, on the other side of the Atlantic, which would offer him a solution, at least apparent, to those existential problems.

Tom Jones gave his first concert in Las Vegas in 1968."Touching there was amazing," he recalls."I was Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, all the big names".There was forged his friendship with Elvis Presley, who saw in Jones a kind of lifeguard to grab while the beatlemania eclipsed her stardom."Elvis told me that I had given hope," he says.“The British invasion was very strong then, but I was a soloist like him.The Beatles and the Stones did not seem sexy, but I did.Seeing me triumph there made him believe that he still had a future ”.

In the mid -seventy Tom Jones he settled in California, and Las Vegas, in Nevada, became his natural habitat.The money ran to Raudales.Wales' Tiger was an American star.But at the same rate that the balance of his current account was thickened his professional prestige.Jones lived from income."In the seventies and the eighties did not work, the songs did not come out," he acknowledges.“As I was in Las Vegas, the producers did not see me as someone who sold records.It gave 130 concerts a year, but something was not going.I was digging my grave.I understood that I had to end all that ”.

In 1986 Gordon Mills dies.And Mark Woodman, Tom's son, becomes his manager and injected an unexpected dose of extra life."He tried to do it to me when Gordon was still alive," explains Jones.“I.I replied that we were making money, that people came to see me, that we had a big house in Los Angeles ... and he answered me, but that it was no longer relevant.‘They pay you’, he told me, ‘But your creative talent is lost’.It sadded me that Gordon died.He was my friend.But I had already done everything I could do for me ".

In a few years the son reinvented the father.Built the myth that Tom Jones is today.The staging of that change came in 1992, when he returned to his country to act in Glastonbury, the great rock festival.I was announced as a surprise guest and of course it was.He did not help to calm Jones the fact that Van Morrison, who had preceded him on stage, told him that the public needed “a good kick in his ass”.But the Wales tiger gave them a full -fledged.The audience went crazy and provided what had long for so long: respect.From the ashes of Las Vegas a legend had emerged.

The rest of his career carries his son's seal.Talking Heads and Prince versions, Duos with Robbie Williams.In 1999 Publica Reload, an album by duets.A resurrection in the form of 15 versions, the review of one of its classic themes and a new song, Sexbomb, which burst the dance clues.That album, whose title means "recharge", became the best selling of his entire career.

If something has learned the Wales Tiger, it is not necessary to follow the marked path.“When I arrived in London they told me:‘ I don't know, that look, that hair, I think they don't take ’."I sweat her hair," I replied, ‘what about my voice?’.Today is still the same.If Justin Bieber triumphs, they want more Justin Biebers.But there must be different people, who offer their own history.That is why I tell the new singers that they are themselves.To listen to others, to be inspired, but do not copy.That they are faithful to themselves.That is what I have always done.From time to time someone is needed with personality ”.

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