In the swinging 1960s, Welsh crooner Tom Jones dominated the charts with a cascade of top ten hits, belting out memorable tunes like “It’s Not Unusual,” “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Green, Green Grass of Home,” and “Delilah.” Possessing a robust baritone that could seamlessly shift from a raspy growl to a soothing croon, Jones earned acclaim for his voice described as “husky yet pretty” by the New York Times. In the eyes of many, he stood out as one of the era’s more wholesome musical acts.
Despite his widespread appeal cutting across generations, the mid-70s saw Tom Jones labeled as a novelty act with a chest-hair-flaunting persona, seemingly past his prime as a sex symbol for suburban housewives. However, a remarkable turn of events changed the narrative for Jones. The revival of his career took flight with his rendition of Prince’s “Kiss” alongside the avant-garde synthpop group Age of Chance in 1988, catapulting him into the realm of coolness and capturing the attention of the MTV generation. Since then, Tom Jones has continued to ascend, earning admiration and respect for his contributions to music. In 1999, he received an OBE, followed by knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.
As the 21st century unfolded, Tom Jones’s public persona blossomed further, especially through his television appearances, including mentoring talents on The Voice UK. This increased visibility endeared him to audiences, enhancing his likability. Stevie Wonder’s heartfelt 80th birthday greeting to Tom Jones, showcased on The Voice UK in 2021, stands as a testament to the Welsh icon’s enduring charm and musical legacy. The emotional moment underscored the profound impact Jones has had on fellow legends like Wonder.
Reflecting on the grandeur of Stevie Wonder’s musical heyday in the 1970s, it becomes evident that his genius, innovation, and social consciousness have somewhat faded from popular memory. The live rendition of “Living for The City” in 1974 exemplifies Wonder’s musical brilliance during that era. Thus, receiving a birthday greeting from such an iconic figure is a monumental honor, and the personalized message Wonder crafted for Tom Jones was indeed a tear-inducing moment for the celebrated singer.
Now, with the magic of Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder in mind, the craving to savor Jones’s vocal prowess intensifies. Among the plethora of songs to choose from, the irresistible choice is “Kiss,” a track that not only marked a turning point in Jones’s career but also continues to captivate audiences with its timeless allure.