Over the Top and Back
THE FIRST AND ONLY AUTOBIOGRAPHY
By Sir Tom Jones
8 October 2015/ Michael Joseph £20 – HARDBACK
2 June 2016 / Penguin Books £8.99 – PAPERBACK
I have taken this review from the Tom Jones website. Can’t wait to dig into my copy bought , but not signed unfortunately, at the Hay Festival. If you have read it, please leave a comment below. Thanks.
“I’ve got a name for you: Tom Jones. He’s thinking of the movie with Alblert Finney. Big picture in 1963. Won three Oscars. Based on an eighteenth century novel by Henry Fielding, if that’s your thing, though I’ve never read it. What I hear in it is my mother’s maiden name, so I’m perfectly happy with that. It’s a name in which I feel I immediately belong.”
In Sir Tom Jones’s first ever autobiography he unveils a fresh talent as a natural raconteur as he delightfully and honestly recounts his life and career, from his childhood in Pontypridd right through to his less than ceremonious dismissal from The Voice. Spanning seven decades, this extraordinary journey takes us through highs, the lows and everything in between.
Born into a wartime coal mining family, Tommy Woodward evokes a warm and happy family life and childhood. Schoolwork doesn’t come easy, so much so that a bout of TB actually comes as a relief. He leaves school at 15, and finding himself with a wife and child at 16 takes a series of day jobs as he plugs away at the early rock ‘n roll scene in Wales. Despite his astonishing talent, it seems unlikely that – 24 years in – he’ll make it.
But somehow he does. He reveals the stories behind the many struggles to succeed in what was the musical revolution of the 60’s and the very early days of the music business; he sets the scenes of the era that surround the company of John Lennon, Elvis, Sammy Davis Jr and Sinatra (among countless others), he details being thrust into a mega trans-Atlantic television production unprepared, and he muses throughout on what can happen with certain kinds of success.
But he also talks about what it was like in the 80s when his career hit the bottom, and what it has taken to rediscover his raw talent, to harness his incredible voice in unexpected, believable and compelling ways to enable a second, more lasting wave in his career.
“The thing that I was looking for, over and above anything else – the thing that I was getting and that was making me happiest, was the chance to be around cheerful and talented characters (musicians)”
Music, from the very beginning of this extraordinary life, has been the key to happiness. And it is this phenomenal musical talent, and the ability to tell a great story which lies at the heart of this warm and articulate autobiography.
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