Superstar singer Tom Jones has gained much of his notoriety based on his many Las Vegas shows, and hits like “What’s New Pussy Cat?” and “It’s Not Unusual”. There’s no denying that he is a true pop culture icon. At this point, he has the kind of notoriety that makes him recognizable everywhere he goes, and it seems everyone is familiar with some of his work. His career is much more varied than most of his casual fans realize however. In fact, he didn’t start out in pop music at all. If some of his earlier work had paid off, his career likely would have taken a different path into rock and roll.
As the mid 1960s approached, Jones’ career was experiencing major growing pains. He had the support of his loving wife Linda of course, but things weren’t easy. He continued to chase his dreams of succeed in music, but some early failures nearly lead to a complete spiral into depression. In 1964 the singer released the rocker “Chills And Fever”. This song is a undoubtedly far cry from the material you likely know him for now. In fact, it resembles something the Rolling Stones may have released thanks to its driving drum beat and gritty lead guitar work.
However, by all accounts “Chills And Fever” was a flop. After a dark period of frustration, Tom’s manager eventually landed him a gig to help out Sandy Shaw with a guide track for an upcoming song. As fate would have it, that song was the now widely renown “It’s Not Unusual”. Tom knew that the song was special and did everything he could to convince his manager to sing on the final track rather than Shaw. It took some serious convincing, but Shaw and the manager ultimately agreed to give the song over. The single debuted in 1965. Much to the relief of all involved, “It’s Not Unusual” became an instant hit, even reaching number one on the UK charts.
With that, Tom Jones’ career trajectory was essentially set in stone. He became a beloved icon of pop music and the Las Vegas entertainment scene in particular. His fame became boundless as didi his popularity and he joined that small band of artists that go on to inspire the appearance of the Tom Jones impersonator (like this performer for example). He gained new fans throughout each of the following decades, always remaining relevant and well remembered. He hasn’t always been in the limelight, but his unique style has always persevered. Despite the unfortunate loss of his wife in 2015, Jones has decided to continue pressing on, and he is still entertaining his fans to this day.