A Drunken Poet's Dream
Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography
It's not unusual that Tom Jones doesn't kiss and tell
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Dec. 11, 2015
For a singer keenly associated with panties thrown onstage, Tom Jones' autobiography is surprisingly chaste. The 75-year-old Welshman married at age 16 when his wife became pregnant with their only child, and they've been together ever since. Not to say Sir Tom avoided his station's carnal pleasures. Accounts indicate he frequently indulged, but he doesn't kiss and tell here. Call it a mark of gentlemanly discretion. Then again, his wife chinned him last time his infidelities made press. Fortunately, Jones' tale transcends salacity, his pub-friendly writer's voice capturing the conflict of having a slim shot at success while supporting a family in a small town. Manager Gordon Mills ultimately mortgages his future on Jones' voice and the two hit it big with 1965's "It's Not Unusual." Jones remains loyal – to a fault, careerwise – until Mills' death in 1986, after which the singer (under his son's management) enjoys a renaissance that continues today.
Over the Top and Back: The Autobiographyby Tom Jones
Blue Rider Press, 432 pp., $26.95