Living with…Sir Tom Jones…for a week
Throw that at me again
The one thing everyone knows about Sir Tom Jones is that women throw knickers at him on stage. He clearly is tired with that now (the knickers may be getting larger over the years?), but it has prompted me to pull up a top five list of things thrown at pop and rock stars on stage. Starting with of course:
There’s always been something both funny and disturbing about knicker throwing at concerts. Tom Jones isn’t alone. Our Eurovision rep for this year Englebert Humperdinck at the grand age of 75 (only a few ahead of Tom) claims that he still gets the occasional piece of underwear flying his way.
The tradition has continued on to the next generation, although potentially the style of the underwear may be different, with Justin Bieber confessing to Switzerland’s Blick magazine that he gets knicker missiles while performing. ‘My Mom does’t like it when that happens. And sometimes they have phone numbers written on them. I don’t know what happens to them.’ I expect his mom knows exactly what happens to them.
Alex James, former Blur rock bass star, is now a man of means and cheese who lives in that big house in the country making cheese. Whilst out touting his new book All Cheeses Great and Small he confessed that he would get cheese thrown at him by adoring fans while on stage.
Don’t really know what to say about that. Weird really.
However, he did bite in to a real dead bat on stage once, although hadn’t planned to! His act involved him eating fake rubber bats on stage. Unaware to him, someone in the audience had thrown a dead bat on the stage, he reached out and bit off the head. The rest as they say is history. And dare I suggest maybe a visit to the local hospital for a jab, although quite how you explain that one to the doctor I don’t know.
Without going in to too much detail, there is plenty of history of fluids being chucked at artists on stage. Some moments such as at most major festivals are best avoided, others are classic comic moments – The Blues Brothers performing Rawhide behind a cage while bottles smash all around them. For the most part though this is not popular with the performers hence rants from many – AC/DC’s Angus Young once slapped a member of the audience following a beer soaking and John Lydon (former Sex Pistols) who infamously used a few expletives with his crowds to say exactly what he thought.
Now throwing flowers is a good solid tradition in the theatre, ballet, opera and even ice dancing!! And that’s OK, isn’t it? Because it’s all done at the end for the diva to pick up. However, in good rock tradition flowers have to be thrown during the performance. The Smiths were famed for disappearing under a flurry of gladioli and Morrissey has continued to live with the tradition. Much as Ton Jones he wants to drop it somehow but I’m sure the occasional petal still sneaks in and ends at his feet.
Tom Jones Greatest Hits Rediscovered (2010)
Sir Tom has had possibly more reincarnations in his career than anyone in the world of pop. His latest offering in 2010 Praise & Blame was a great rumbling gospel and blues project that was as far away from Delilah and Green Green Grass of Home as you can get. Except for one thing. His songs generally tell good stories. You live the story of the man asking “What good am I?”. You live the story of the man on death row longing for his home town.
So to pick just one album from that career seemed like missing out on so much, so I’ve opted for that ultimate compromise, the compilation. And the Greatest Hits Rediscovered from 2010 is the best type of compromise, mixing old and now – with a good healthy smattering of the new to proof his enduring talent, so don’t expect everything from the past. No Young New Mexican Puppeteer for a start.
From the old ‘uns I’ve always had a soft spot for Green Green Grass of Home and Detroit City. The former has a bit of Motown bit of Elvis to it and I love the wistfulness of that opening verse. You can’t get any more nostalgic:
The old home town looks the same as I step down from the train,and there to meet me is my Mama and Papa.Down the road I look and there runs Mary hair of gold and lips like cherries.
I dare anyone not to be moved! Likewise I dare anyone not to join in with Detroit City’s plea of “I wanna go home”.
From the newer ‘uns (and that’s a loose interpretation of new going back to the ’80s I guess) I must start with the ‘Christmas’ favourite in our house – the duet with Cerys Matthews Baby, It’s Cold Outside. P’s instant response this week was ‘why are we playing this in April?’ But then proceeded to join in and laugh at the delightful to and fro between two Welsh wizards of music! You KNOW they’re having fun and you can see the sparkle in his eyes just by listening. We always join in with Cerys’ final comment ‘It’s bloody freezing, innit?’.
Kiss was 80s meeting 60s and both coming out tops, and probably the moment when Tom went through his best and greatest reincarnation as the British godfather of pop. But, my favourite of recent years is Give A Little Love from 2009, a good old blues number with a great horny sound, perky chorus chanting behind Sir Tom and the man himself belting out a number that must still get the knickers flying.
Heartily recommend this collection to remind you why Sir Tom is the Voice, forget all the other pretenders out there. And it’s great to know that he’s still turning out good material. After hearing tracks such as Burning Hell and What Good Am I?, you may also be tempted to try out some of the new stuff. A new album due out in May apparently, another reincarnation?
Have to go with two videos of the week.
One old – bit of the hip wiggling just to remind us (and if he will mop his brow with the knickers, what does he expect?):
One new…oooh the voice, with full band and chorus from a Jools Holland session:
Twotes of the week
@SteveTheQuip: Local Vicar’s Easter message ‘Go home, have sex and eat chocolate’…only in Brighton. @biebersjarmarmy: if you never jumped from one sofa to another sofa to save yourself from the lava, you never had a childhood. @GreatestQuotes: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein @Its_Death: It’s Friday. What are stormtroopers tweeting about?