Tom Jones has lived a life worth writing about, and recently decided to take on the job himself. His new memoir, Tom Jones: Over the Top and Back, and traces his life from a tiny terrace house in a coal mining area of Wales to 20 years of superstardom — tours around the world, big productions in Las Vegas, a Bond movie theme and more. Perhaps most remarkably, it shows readers the origins of his career, when he was 16 and supporting a wife and baby. He is still married to that woman today.
“She knew that I wanted to be a singer when we were kids — and then, of course, we found out about the birds and the bees together,” Jones chuckles. “She said to me the other day, ‘You know, when you started with the hit records and everything and the TV shows, you said one day you’d slow down.’ She said, ‘When is this slowing down going to kick in, then?’ And I said, ‘Well, to be honest, I don’t think it will.'”
Jones also has a new album, Long Lost Suitcase of songs that span the range of styles he’s tackled over the years. He joined NPR’s Linda Wertheimer to discuss both projects; hear more of their conversation at the audio link.