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'I never got into drugs... I liked fine wines and Cuban cigars' - Tom Jones on love, loss and his passion for music

Almost six decades after his first hit, Tom Jones is back with his 41st studio album. The legendary singer reflects on a long career that saw him party with icons like Elvis and Sinatra, opens up about his painful struggle since the death of his wife, and reveals how, at 80, he still lives for rock ’n’ roll

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Tom Jones

Tom Jones

Tom Jones with his wife, Melinda, in London in 1965. Photograph: Bentley Archive/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Tom Jones with his wife, Melinda, in London in 1965. Photograph: Bentley Archive/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Tom Jones with wife Melinda and their son, Mark, as they move into their new home in Sudbury, 1967. Photograph: Len Trievnor/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Tom Jones with wife Melinda and their son, Mark, as they move into their new home in Sudbury, 1967. Photograph: Len Trievnor/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Tom Jones with Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Las Vegas in 1968. Photograph: Bettmann Archive

Tom Jones with Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Las Vegas in 1968. Photograph: Bettmann Archive

Tom Jones with fellow Voice UK coaches Will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson and Olly Murs in 2019. Photograph: David Parry/PA Wire

Tom Jones with fellow Voice UK coaches Will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson and Olly Murs in 2019. Photograph: David Parry/PA Wire

Tom Jones performing at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in 2015. Photograph: Arthur Carron

Tom Jones performing at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in 2015. Photograph: Arthur Carron

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Tom Jones

For a business as famously fickle as pop, Tom Jones has had a career of eye-watering longevity. Fifty-six years ago, in 1965, he had a UK No. 1 single with It’s Not Unusual. Other artists to top the UK chart that year? The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and his friend Elvis Presley.

Fast-forward to 2021, and 80-year-old Sir Tom is topping the UK chart again, this time for his 41st studio album, Surrounded by Time. At the beginning of this month, he became the oldest man to have a UK No. 1 album, as well as the oldest artist to reach the top spot with newly recorded material.

It’s quite an achievement, not least when one considers that the album of artfully reimagined covers has enjoyed such resounding critical acclaim.


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