To mark the 80th birthday of Sir Tom Jones, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 2 are coming together to celebrate the man and his music.
The brand-new two-part interview with the singer, Sir Tom’s Musical Years, is just one in a series of programmes on the BBC celebrating his musical career which spans more than five decades. It will follow a week-long celebration of Sir Tom’s birthday on BBC Radio Wales with additional programming centred around the pop legend to be broadcast each week night at 6.30pm, beginning Tuesday 2 June.
For the new two-part interview, listeners are invited to join an intimate conversation, recorded remotely during lockdown, between Sir Tom and his friend and fellow performer Cerys Matthews. The former Catatonia singer, who collaborated with Sir Tom on his 1999 album Reload, asks him about the music that has shaped his life and career.
Sir Tom shares with Cerys the most meaningful songs that have influenced him throughout his life, from his early days in Pontypridd, through his remarkable career which is still ongoing. Woven into his choice of music are memories of his upbringing in a Welsh valley and significant moments from his adult life.
The interview, produced by Telesgop, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Wales on the day of Sir Tom’s 80th birthday (Sunday 7 June), with part two following a week later on Sunday 14 June. They will go out on BBC Radio 2 a day before (Saturday 6 and 13 June).
BBC One Wales will also join in with the celebrations, as a new hour-long programme airs on Friday 5 June at 9pm. Produced by BBC Studios, Tom Jones at 80 will use rarely seen archive footage and interviews to take a journey through the singer’s career, reflecting on almost 60 years in showbusiness. It will air simultaneously on BBC Four, kicking off a night of programming based around Sir Tom Jones on that channel.
BBC Radio Wales will broadcast How Tom Jones Conquered America, The Day I Met… Tom Jones, The Other Side of Tom Jones, Tom Jones: King Of Reinvention and Sir Tom’s Musical Years. BBC Four’s celebratory programming includes Tom Jones at 80, Tom Jones’ 1950s: The Decade That Made Me, Tom Jones: A Little Later and Sounds Of The Sixties 1964-66: The Beat Room.
Sir Tom released his worldwide hit It’s Not Unusual in 1965 and has, over the last six decades, cemented himself as a pop icon with over 100 million records sales to his name and thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom. His accolades include a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, a Silver Clef Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Hitmaker Award from the US Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the UK Music Industry Trust Award.
Sir Tom joined The Voice UK as a coach in 2012, but Beeb bosses dropped him for the 2016 series, replacing him with Culture Club singer and songwriter Boy George. ITV reversed the ‘barmy’ decision and reinstated Sir Tom on the panel when it acquired the rights to the series a year later.