Is this an authorised biography?

No. I prefer to describe it simply as: The Biography - my balanced interpretation on the life of Tom Jones. To me Authorised means that it has been written with the subject's blessing and that they can take out anything they don't like, true or not. Unauthorised means that it is digging up all the dirt the author can find.


Did Tom know you were writing the book?

Yes. Before I started my researches I met with Mark and Donna Woodward and explained what I wanted to do. For reasons of his own Tom does not want to write an autobiography. While I'm sure Mark and Donna would rather I had not written the book they were extremely helpful.


Did you interview Tom?

We met several times at parties while I was working on it. Although Tom did agree to a meeting it never happened. I think he was being polite. I had interviewed him at length on two previous occasions. In November 1990 in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia and October 1994 in New York. Each time I spent several days in his company.



How long did it take?

Two years. I did around 70 interviews and read over 40 books.


How did you research it?

Everyone researches in their own way. Where a person comes from is integral to their life. I read novels and memoirs about Valleys life over the last century. I walked around Treforest and Pontypridd taking photographs, went down a coal mine, strolled down Taft Street and talked to people about what life was like in Pontypridd in the 1950s. I spent hours in Pontypridd public library reading old newspapers and studying old pictures. In Las Vegas I applied the same tactics to discover how a Welsh boyo could have had such an impact.

Then I got down to the basics.


The Basics?

The facts about Tom Jones. Trawling through 35 years of press cuttings, previous biographies of Tom, books about his contemporaries. That enabled me to build a chronology. At the same time you always have to be on the look out for the confirmation of stories or blatant contradictions.

People's memories get rustier with time and they can be out by years. Some newspaper reports and memoirs often disguise the fact that the person telling the stories was not in the room at the time but reporting what a third party told him.

Incorrect facts and stories can be reported in a newspaper and then repeated so often that they become accepted as the truth.


Can you give an example?

Tom Jones's full name is Thomas John Woodward. Yet lots of articles and books call him Thomas Jones Woodward. Although his mother's maiden name was Jones he was named after the leading character in the hit movie of an 18th Century novel.


Was it easy convincing people to talk to you?

Not always. Annie Toomaru, Gordon Mills last girlfriend, had decided not to talk but I wrote her a postcard from Vegas and she called the day before I left for London. I spent months trying to get to Engelbert Humperdinck but he could not be convinced. That was a major shame.


Who are the most important people in Tom's career?

In chronological order:

Vernon Hopkins who insisted on Tom joining the Senators in 1962

Gordon Mills who found Tom and turned him into a superstar

Les Reed wrote the music for It's Not Unusual with Gordon and many other hits with Barry Mason and Geoff Stephens. He arranged Green Green Grass of Home and other hits.

Barry Mason was Reed's songwriting partner on Delilah, I'm Coming Home.

Peter Sullivan was Tom's record producer from 1964-71

Jon Scoffield, producer/director of This Is Tom Jones

Mark Woodward. Tom's son who took over managing him in 1986 and has resurrected his career.




Who was the most important interviewee?

Chris Ellis who worked for Tom for 10 years as his driver, bodyguard , personal assistant and lighting director. He was privy to all his secrets and has never spoken to anybody about it before. He left in 1975 but Tom never even said goodbye.


Is Tom Jones a nice man?

He is very pleasant and polite to people in public. But he is a star which means different rules apply.



What makes Tom tick?

Singing and Sex.


What is the key to Tom Jones?

The music. That was why he did it in the first place.


Tell me more !

Read the book.




To find out more about the people interviewed, click here


I shall be updating this FAQ from time to time. So if there is anything you particularly want to know about how or why I wrote the book email me on author@tomjonesbiography.com. No promises but I'll try.