Excerpt from “Tom Jones the Biography” by Robin Eggar ~~Jones~~

picture-TomJonesBiography-EggarThe Senators had arrived in London to find their identity had been stripped away as there was another band of the same name. So from then on Tommy Woodward was Tom Jones, and they were the Playboys. Larry Page remembers Gordon ruminating for weeks over what to call his protégé. Woodward was obviously a no-no, but there was nothing intrinsically wrong with Tommy Scott as a stage name. However, renaming an artist was part of a manager’s prerogative. An effective means of showing exactly where the power lay.
The choice of Tom Jones was inspired. Gordon did not settle on Jones because it was Freda Woodward’s maiden name – he probably did not know about the coincidence for years, though the inherent Welshness certainly helped. He named him Tom Jones after a movie. Tony Richardson’s liberal adaptation of Henry Fielding’s racy eighteenth-century bodice ripper had dazzled cinema goers in 1963 and won three Oscars including Best Picture. John Osborne’s spicy sharp scripting of the picaresque tale of a young foundling’s adventures amidst the hypocrisy of the ruling classes had given it a telling relevance in the last days of a crumbling Tory government. Albert Finney, as the hero, achieved the perfect balance between good-natured innocence, and sexy, horny little devil.
Over the next few years Tommy Woodward was to grow into that roistering hellion. First he had to prove to a sceptical world that he had more to brag about than a swinging rabbit’s foot. Out of town gigs earned less money than playing socials in the Valleys. But they did get a regular support slot at Beat City in Oxford Street in London where their first date was as support to the Rolling Stones.
‘On 18 July hundreds of fans jammed the streets around the West End and there were police everywhere when we played the Beat City Club in Oxford Street,’ recalled Bill Wyman in his autobiography Stone Alone. ‘Inside, the heat was terrible. Tom Jones and his band, relatively unknown at the time, were our support group; he later reminded me that the temperature was so high that stewards were throwing buckets of water over him and us during our respective performances. We played a forty-five-minute spot to an audience of six hundred, sixty fainting girls had to be carried out – ten per cent of the audience.’
Tom wore thin white trousers and a white T-shirt. He sweated so much the trousers turned see-through and the young girls in the front started covering their eyes. ‘I loved that so much I was giving it even more,’ said Jones. ‘They were looking a bit frightened at me, I could feel it. Afterwards we were all sharing a dressing room, and Mick Jagger said, “God, it must be hot out there; look at him and he’s only the compere.” ’


1 Comment

Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction

One response to “Excerpt from “Tom Jones the Biography” by Robin Eggar ~~Jones~~

  1. Tom Jones was born Thomas Woodward in Glamorgan, Wales on 7 June 1940. He had started his career as frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators, but took the name Tom Jones when they moved to London, at decided by his manager, Gordon Mills.

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