PUBLISHED IN THE KITCHENER-WATERLOO RECORD on JANUARY 30, 1998

 

By Nick Krewen

 

 

TOM JONES fans -- you owe WHOOPI GOLDBERG.

The talented comedienne and actress saw the enduring Welsh pop legend at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles late last year, and scolded him backstage for omitting one of her favorites from his set.

"Whoopi asked me, `Why don't you sing `I (Who Have Nothing)' anymore? Don't you like it?'," Jones recalled yesterday over the phone from a New Jersey tour stop.

"I told her that it's not that I don't like it, but I've forgotten about it. Sometimes I forget songs. I don't forget the words -- I forget the effect that it's had on people."

When Goldberg dropped in on Jones during an Atlantic City performance last week, he added it to his set.

"People loved it, and I thought, `Why haven't I been singing this?'" Jones says. "Whoopi dropped by and said, `See, I told you.' So now I've got to start listening to a lot of things I've recorded to see if I've neglected anything."

You can forgive him for the oversight.

It's been 33 years since Jones scored his first Top 10 hit with "It's Not Unusual," and since then he's weathered all sorts of trends and storms with a repertoire that includes such hits as "What's New Pussycat," "Green Green Grass Of Home," "She's A Lady," "Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow" and even a hip remake PRINCE's "Kiss."

His robust voice has made women swoon since he first burst onto the scene, and he laughs when it's suggested he might possess the world's greatest collection of panties.

"The reason they throw 'em up there is to get them back," he chuckles. "That's the whole point. They come up to the stage for me to take notice of them. I wipe my brow with them (panties)."

Jones says he doesn't do it as much anymore.

"That's what I used to do at one time, but I was criticized for it," says Jones. " After awhile, I'd be reviewed not on what songs I was singing, but how many pairs of underwear were thrown at me. It got a bit out of hand as far as the music was concerned."

Still, his image concerns didn't stop Jones from taping a Victoria's Secret TV ad last year with a handful of supermodels, including TYRA BANKS and HELENA CHRISTENSEN.

"They asked me to do it, and I said, `Why not?' You can't ignore the fact that I would be associated with ladies' underwear more than anyone else as far as an entertainer is concerned. So it was a natural thing to ask me to do it."

Jones has also been busy expanding his fan base. An appearance as himself in the TIM BURTON movie Mars Attacks  has brought fan letters from youngsters, and he's currently shopping around a new album of obscure soul standards written by OTIS REDDING, WILSON PICKETT and JOE TEX that he hopes will be released this year.

He has also gained some unprovoked attention recently by making a list of Britain's top ten richest entertainers, although he claims the figure of a $400 million-plus empire is "inflated."

"That amount of money what they're talking about is what I've earned over a 30 year period," he says, laughing. "But what's left of it...there's not much in there. The problem is trying to explain it to the tax man."

Then there's Jones biggest obstacle: time. He's turning 58 this year, and 60 isn't too far away.

"I'm not looking forward to old age because it will slow me down," the youthful Jones admits. "That's the only thing I don't like about it. Time is my enemy, because it's going to stop me from doing what I love to do. Thank God it hasn't affected me yet.

"I can still sing a strong note as I ever did. In fact I've got more timber to my voice now than I was in my 20s. My voice has gotten fatter, and with experience I know more about music now than I did when I was younger. I feel that age has been kind to me because it hasn't robbed me of my talent or my vocal ability. It's just given me more feeling to sing about.

"So 60 doesn't bother me. Now, I don't know what I'm going to be like when I'm 70," he laughs.

-30-

UNDATED DISCOGRAPHY

 

All Time Hits

An Evening With Tom Jones

Classic Tom Jones

Coast To Coast: Love Classics

Delilah

Delilah: Legendary Performances

Favorites

Golden Hits

Greatest Hits

Green, Green Grass Of Home: Legendary...

I (Who Have Nothing)

Kiss

Live At Caesars Palace

Love Songs & Ballads

Move Closer

The Best Of Tom Jones

The Great Tom Jones: What's New Pussycat?

Tom Jones And Friends Live!

The Very Best Of Tom Jones

Tom... Sings The Sixties

Tom...Sings The Ballads

From The Vaults

Greatest Performances

Sings Country Favorites

The Best Of Tom Jones

Back To Back: Their Greatest Hits

Tom Jones Live!

By Request

Greatest Songs

Country Memories

The Lead And How To Swing It

The Complete Tom Jones

Things That Matter Most To Me

Tender Loving Care

Love Is On The Radio

Don't Let Our Dreams Die Young

Tom Jones Country

Darlin'

This Is Tom Jones

Green, Green Grass Of Home

What's New Pussycat?

 

COLLABORATIONS

1994 -- Various Artists, Hot Stuff

1999 -- Various Artists, Little Voice


CONTRIBUTIONS

1998 -- The Chieftains, Long Black Veil

 

AWARDS

1965 -- Grammy, Best New Artist

 

FILMS

1995 -- Mars Attacks

 

 

FAST FACTS

 

 


THANKS: Philip Bast

©1998, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink.

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