When Sir Tom Jones came onto the music scene in 1965, he was marketed as a 22-year-old, single man who works down the mines in South Wales. Of course, that was not strictly true, and he was actually a 24-year-old married man with a child, who had never been down a mine in his life. So what was the young Tom Jones really like, and what did his friends think of him?
Sir Tom Jones was, in a book authored by Colin MacFarlane based on interviews with childhood friends, a boy who loved a “backstreet rumble.”
In new book titled Sir Tom Jones: 80, released to mark the singer’s 80th birthday, MacFarlane claimed Sir Tom, then known as Thomas Woodward, was forced to have two operations to repair damage to his nose from his teenage years.
As well as this, journalist MacFarlane detailed how Sir Tom felt he needed to “fight to prove himself.”
In one story, MacFarlane wrote: “He got into a scrap with another fellow who was annoyed because Tom had beaten-up one of his mates.
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“The guy in question was quick off the mark and head-butted Tom through a fish and chip show window.
“When Tom scrambled out covered in glass, two policemen were standing there.
“They said if Tom lifted a finger to touch the other guy they’d run him in. Tom was a bit of a wild man with a knack for getting himself into trouble.
“Tom had to fight to prove himself. It was considered normal for the times.”
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Of course, according to MacFarlane, who also wrote 1988 biography Tom Jones: The Boy From Nowhere, Sir Tom was keen to break onto the music and scene, and loved being a “Teddy boy.”
He added: “After becoming the classic Teddy boy overnight he [Sir Tom] lived and breathed rock and roll.
“Locals who remember him describe him as a smart dresser. He loved fashionable waistcoats and cowboy type ties and wore his hair very long, which was frowned upon by the older inhabitants of Treforest in the 1950s.
“His mother had terrible battles with him to get his hair cut and only won if she resorted to bribery saying she would buy him a new shirt if he did so.
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“Tom could be seen walking about the streets with a Teddy boy coat with trousers that were reckoned to be as narrow as the thinnest pair of drainpipes in Pontypridd.”
Fans know, however, that Sir Tom’s fighting days were over pretty quickly after he married his childhood sweetheart, Melinda ‘Linda’ Trenchard, when they were just 16-years-old.
The pair married after Linda became pregnant with Sir Tom’s son, Mark, who later became his manager after the death of Gordon Mills.
Eventually, despite Mills selling his new act as a single man, the truth had to come out, leading Linda to do one of her only ever interviews.
In it, Linda described her love for Sir Tom, saying: “I feel alive when he comes though the door, whatever the time of day or night is.”
By the time Sir Tom became a fixture on the global stage, he had been married seven years, with a seven-year-old son who was born just a month after their wedding.
Now, Sir Tom is known for his role on The Voice as the head judge, and he will be competing against his fellow judges in the final.
The Voice Finale takes place tonight at 8.30pm on ITV
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