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Sir Thomas John Woodward, OBE (born 7 June 1940), known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer. He became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. Since the mid-1960s, Jones has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records.
Jones has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States; some of his notable songs include "It's Not Unusual", "What's New Pussycat", "Delilah", "Green, Green Grass of Home", "She's a Lady", "Kiss" and "Sex Bomb".
Having been awarded an OBE in 1999, Jones received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music" in 2006. Jones has received numerous other awards throughout his career, including the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1966, an MTV Video Music Award in 1989 and two Brit Awards – winning Best British Male, in 2000, and Outstanding Contribution to Music, in 2003.Tom Jones was born Thomas John Woodward, at 57 Kingsland Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. His parents were Thomas Woodward (died 5 October 1981), a coal miner, and Freda Jones (died 7 February 2003). Both of his paternal grandparents were English, and his maternal grandmother, Ada Jones, from Pontypridd, had English parents.
Jones began singing at an early age: he would regularly sing at family gatherings, weddings and in his school choir. Jones did not like school or sports but gained confidence through his singing talent. At 12 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Many years later he said; "I spent two years in bed recovering. It was the worst time of my life." During convalescence he could do little else but listen to music and draw.
Jones' bluesy singing style developed out of the sound of American soul music. His early influences included blues and R&B singers Little Richard, Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson and Brook Benton, as well as Elvis Presley, whom Jones idolized and with whom he would later become good friends.
In March 1957 Jones married his high school girlfriend, Melinda Trenchard when they were expecting a child together, both aged 16. The couple had a son named Mark who was born the month following their wedding. To support his young family Jones took a job working in a glove factory and was later employed in construction.Jones, whose voice has been described as a "full-throated, robust baritone", became the frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a Welsh beat group, in 1963. They soon gained a local following and reputation in South Wales. In 1964 the group recorded several solo tracks with producer Joe Meek, who took them to various labels, but they had little success. Later that year Decca producer Peter Sullivan saw Tommy Scott and The Senators performing in a club and directed them to manager Phil Solomon, but the partnership was short-lived.
The group continued to play gigs at dance halls and working men's clubs in South Wales and one night, at the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, Wales, Jones was spotted by Gordon Mills, a London-based manager who originally hailed from South Wales himself. Mills became Jones' manager and took the young singer to London, and also renamed him Tom Jones, to exploit the popularity of the Academy Award winning 1963 film.
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