VISITING ACT ‌ And Along Boogied Jones 

Think you know Tom Jones? Check your facts with this handy primer, pussycat

click to enlarge The shagtastic Tom Jones
  • The shagtastic Tom Jones
Tom Jones
Sun. Nov. 20
8 p.m.
$59, $39 (all ages)
The Plex
2390 W. Aviation Ave.
225-PLEX
www.theplexonline.com

Known to his greatest admirers simply as "The Voice," Tom Jones is the preeminent iconic Welshman, bigger than Monty Python's Terry Jones and Downtown Julie Brown combined. Now 65, Jones has been a most mercurial superstar throughout his over-40-year showbiz career, re-creating his "swinging" image every couple of half-decades.

In the 1960s and '70s, Jones and his superfluous chest hair proved appropriate sex-fodder for the wholesome American housewife, but he was still charming and well-mannered enough to join the Muppets for tea and biscuits. Plus, he's James Bond bonded, be-yotch. Here's a brief sampling of Jones' numerous honors, credits and connections:

1. He hung with Elvis. The two macho icons were tight for some time, particularly during their coinciding stays in Vegas. Elvis apparently used to call up his local radio station to request Jones' songs.

2. He hung with Homer, too. Jones has been "animated" several times over on both TV and in movies, making guest appearances on The Simpsons and in Disney films. Jones also appeared as himself in the Tim Burton vehicle Mars Attacks and TV's Fresh Prince of Bell-Air. He currently provides the theme for the Daffy Duck cartoon Duck Dodgers in the 24 and 1/2 Century, on which Jones' bandmates are the Flaming Lips.

3. He was once "TV variety show big." Along with Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell, Jones became the umpteenth popular musician to be granted host duties for his own variety show in 1969. Jones' hour-long escapades ran until 1971 and at the time of its signing, his contract was the biggest of its kind. As of now, the Tom Jones Show is currently unavailable on DVD.

4. What's usually referred to as his most successful single was actually a country song. The lounge-tastic Jones scored his biggest hit with 1967's "Green, Green Grass of Home," which had also been recorded by such C&W artists as Cash and Porter Wagoner. Country music, a favorite of Jones', also served the singer well during his early-'80s Urban Cowboy phase when he released such albums as 1981's Darlin' and 1983's Don't Let Our Dreams Die Young.

5. He has fine taste in covers. Sometimes the Energizer Bunny-like Jones needs a wham-bam career jump-start, baby, so he borrows an appropriately randy tune from some other artist. Usually, this requires packing a little backup. Jones' perennial comeback classics include Prince's "Kiss" (recorded with pop-dance band Art of Noise) from 1988, Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" and Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" (also featuring Swede pop patrol The Cardigans) in 1999, and 2000's team effort with Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones for a high energy version of Randy Newman and Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not to Come." One of his most recent selections is a cover of Ram Jam's Southern rock classic "Black Betty," on which Jones is joined by Wyclef Jean.

6. That's Sir Tom, thanks. Like Paul McCartney and Anthony Hopkins, Jones has been officially knighted by the Queen. He was granted Order of the British Empire honors in 1999. Luckily, slim to nil on the panties tossed during the ceremony.

7. Ladies, please leave those knickers on. In a recent statement, Jones said that he's had enough of adulating female fans tossing their dampened underthings at him. "I want to end it now because it has lost all its meaning," were his official words. Jones continued, "Some women just want to be seen. They run to the front of the stage and it's like 'Look at me! I've got the underwear!'"


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