Sex Bomb (above) is perhaps the most bizarre recording I’ve even seen. The skeevy lyrics, the apparently well coached informerical-like audience and the fact that the song and Jones’ delivery both are terrific add up to a level of awesomeness that is hard match.
Tom Jones actually is Thomas John Woodward, which now is preceded by “Sir.” His stage name was taken from the movie Tom Jones, which was a filming of The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. Written in 1749 by Henry Fielding, it is considered the first novel in the English language.
Years ago, I was a reporter in the cable industry (I am again, but in a different way). Cable, because of the entertainment industry connections, has big time performers at its shows (Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry come to mind). It’s an easy payday for these folks, especially if the show is not too far away.
One year, Tom Jones was the headline act. Many of my cynical reporter friends went to see him as a joke. We were raised on rock and roll. Tom Jones? Isn’t he the guy that the old ladies throw their underwear at? Please.
The next morning, more than one person told me that it was the most extraordinary performance they ever saw, and that Jones simply wouldn’t leave the stage because he was having so much fun. And this was for a bunch of cable people…
While I’m on the topic, one of my fondest memories is of seeing Ray Charles at a cable show in Atlanta. The sponsoring network rented and closed The Hard Rock for the party. I got there early and, low and behold, Ray came out and started playing. It was early and there was virtually nobody else there. It was incredible. Charles opened with Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite,” one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, period. That made the whole thing even better.