ELVIS AND TOM JONES, BEST FRIENDS
By Adrian Lee
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you would like to hear from YOU. Why not send us your articles and your reviews and we will be more than happy to add them to our pages for other fans to read around
the world. Share your thoughts and opinions about the latest Elvis releases that you have added to your collection and help your fellow fans to know what is hot and what is
not the best things to spend their money on. You can do this by sending us an article/review (subject title "Article") to
eer-desk@ntlworld.com

- Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Elvis Express Radio and any of it's representatives. All opinions are the
personal opinions of the individual who has written the review/article. By submitting articles/reviews to Elvis Express Radio, the author accepts that the work automatically
becomes part of the E.E.R site and can be edited and/or used in any way that E.E.R deems appropriate. By submitting any work to E.E.R authors accept that their work will
remain on E.E.R for as long as the site owner/s deem necessary. All right reserved E.E.R © 2000.
ADAM ISAAC wasn’t even born when Sir Tom Jones was hanging out with the King of Rock and Roll in the
swinging Sixties.

So the contestant from the BBC’s new talent show The Voice was left bewildered to be asked by the Welshman:
“Did I ever tell you about the time I went over to Elvis’s house?”


ADAM ISAAC wasn’t even born when Sir Tom Jones was hanging out with the King of Rock and Roll in the
swinging Sixties.

So the contestant from the BBC’s new talent show The Voice was left bewildered to be asked by the Welshman:
“Did I ever tell you about the time I went over to Elvis’s house?”

The
The display of name-dropping was by far the most entertaining moment on the programme as Sir Tom desperately attempted to reinforce his showbusiness
credentials.

As he vied with another coach for the right to become a mentor for the young wannabe, the star launched into his anecdote, describing how he was
disappointed not to find Elvis home. But his dismay soon turned to joy when he discovered that “the King” had merely popped out to a nearby musical
instrument shop to buy two guitars so that the pair could spend the rest of the day writing songs. For many young viewers the claim must have seemed like so
much hot air. Yet the man from the Valleys, who was described as “the British Elvis,” genuinely did enjoy a close and enduring friendship with the man himself.

On the face of it the pair were unlikely buddies. Jones, the son of a coal miner, was from Pontypridd. Born in 1940, he made a name for himself in the
unforgiving surroundings of working men’s clubs. He was spotted by a talent scout who took him to London, where Jones won a recording contract with Decca
and his second single, It’s Not Unusual, became an international hit. Elvis was born fi ve years earlier in Mississippi, had a number one hit with his first single
Heartbreak Hotel and by the time Tom Jones arrived on the scene was already a global super star.

When Jones travelled to Hollywood in 1965 to discuss a film deal he knew all about Elvis, who’d been his idol and one of his influences.

However, he wasn’t expecting to be told when he arrived at Paramount Studios: “Elvis is here recording and he’d like to meet you.”

Elvis was curious and wanted to put a face to the powerful voice. Perhaps he regarded the younger man from across the pond as a rival. For the boy from
South Wales who’d grown up listening to Elvis hits on a tinny transistor radio and copied his gyrating hip movements for his own act, it was a dream come true.

Sir Tom later recalled: “I was thinking ‘Oh, my God! Surely Elvis doesn’t know who I am.’ But he said he knew every track on my album and he sang one of my
songs, With These Hands, all the way through.

He said to me, ‘How the hell do you sing like you do?’ And I said, ‘Well, you are to blame, because I listened
to all your records in the Fifties.”

Elvis confessed that he had never seen Jones previously but had convinced himself that a man with such a soulful voice had to be black.

SIR Tom, who was knighted in 2006, says: “He asked me: ‘Do all people sing like that in Wales?’ He said: ‘When I heard What’s New Pussycat I thought it was
a black fella singing it’.” That broke the ice and the pair immediately became firm friends. In fact, Jones claims that he later inspired Elvis to go back to singing
after spending a period making a series of films.

Jones says: “I think he was the only person I’ve spoken to who felt the same way about music as myself, as far as versatility is concerned. Because he loved
ballads, as well as rock and roll, he loved Gospel, he loved pop. And we would sit in the suite and talk about music and we would sing. He felt that I was the
closest thing to him; I had a similar approach. My stage presence was very similar to his.”

In August 1974, while performing in Vegas, Elvis noticed his friend in the audience and told his own fans to buy tickets for Jones’s forthcoming show. He told
them: “He’s my favourite singer. He’s one of the greatest performers I’ve ever seen, and the greatest voice, Tom Jones.

There he is. He’s too much. Tom, you open at Caesars Palace tomorrow night, right? Folks, if you get the chance, go over and see him.

“He’s really something. He always comes to see my show here and I go to see his. It’s a mutual respect.”

If Elvis and Tom had a night off, the two heart-throbs from very different backgrounds would meet up. In reality they were chalk and cheese – Jones loved
socialising and would have been happy to hit the Strip, whereas Elvis preferred being holed up in his hotel room.

Nonetheless, Sir Tom was invited to Elvis’s holiday home in Hawaii, where the guitar incident happened.

The American once asked Jones if he stuck a sock down his trousers.

He adds: “Our friendship was built on mutual respect and a shared interest in music. I never sat at his feet, looking up to him, because we regarded each
other as equals. Anyway, he was much too modest to be comfortable with
someone who fawned around him and was never afraid to admit to his own vulnerability – always the mark
of the truly great.”

INITIALLY they were carefree times but Elvis began to spiral into drug-taking. The Welshman never got involved, preferring lavish amounts of champagne and
vodka martinis.

Jones recalls: “His wife, Priscilla, told me that when Elvis and I were together he seemed to be a different person, much happier in himself. We spent some time
in Hawaii together, just sitting side by side playing guitar and singing,
with no one else around. We were like two kids, best friends, doing what they do best. We would sit and jam all through the night.”

The pair even exchanged rings as a seal of their friendship but when Elvis died in 1977, aged just 42, they had not seen one another for two years. Elvis, who
passed through Britain while on military service, never toured here.

Sir Tom is now 71 and still going strong but his big regret is that he wasn’t able to do more to help his pal back on track.

“I didn’t realise how ill he was,” he says. “He pushed people away from him. The first thing that hit me after he died was that I should have gone to see him.
Priscilla always said that when I showed up I gave him a spark and maybe I could have done that again.”