Tom Jones' 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

8 July 2024, 13:20

Tom Jones' best songs ever
Tom Jones' best songs ever. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

There's only one Sir Tom Jones.

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His repertoire spans various genres, including pop, rock, R&B, and soul, each song showcasing his unique ability to connect with listeners.

Here, we delve into Tom Jones’ best songs, celebrating the tracks that have not only defined his illustrious career but also left a lasting impact on the musical landscape.

  1. What's New Pussycat?

    Tom Jones - What s new pussycat

    'What's New Pussycat?' was released in 1965, and was written by the legendary Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was specifically written for the film of the same name, starring Peter Sellers and Peter O'Toole.

    The song reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, further cementing Jones' reputation as a leading pop artist of the era.

  2. Thunderball

    Tom Jones "Thunderball" on The Ed Sullivan Show

    Tom Jones' song 'Thunderball' is an electrifying tune that perfectly matches the thrilling vibe of the James Bond film it was created for. Released in 1965, this iconic song is known for its powerful brass section and Jones' dynamic vocal performance, making it a standout in the Bond soundtrack collection.

    Tom Jones reportedly almost fainted in the recording booth after holding the final, mighty note for so long! The song was a last-minute replacement for another track, but it quickly became a favourite among fans.

    Johnny Cash also submitted a version of 'Thunderball,' but it was Jones' rendition that captured the essence of the 007 spirit.

  3. Mama Told Me Not to Come (with Stereophonics)

    Tom Jones, Stereophonics - Mama Told Me Not To Come

    Imagine being told by your mum not to go to a wild party—and then Tom Jones belts out that exact sentiment with his signature swagger in 'Mama Told Me Not to Come.'

    Written by Randy Newman, this gem hit the airwaves in 1970, capturing the chaotic essence of a shindig gone wrong. Initially brought to fame by Three Dog Night, Tom Jones’ version added an extra layer of cheeky charm.

    The song strutted its way up the UK charts in 1999, peaking impressively and becoming a fan favourite. With its funky, bluesy vibe, and Jones’ charismatic delivery, it’s no wonder this track is a standout.

  4. Kiss (with the Art of Noise)

    Tom Jones and Art Of Noise - Kiss (Official Video)

    In 1988, Tom Jones was strutting onto the music scene like a Welsh Elvis with a smirk. Originally a Prince masterpiece, 'Kiss' got a Jonesy twist when Tom teamed up with Art of Noise.

    The result? A funky, brass-filled romp that had hips shaking from Cardiff to California. This track didn't just make waves; it cannonballed into the charts, reaching No. 5 in the UK and proving Jones still had it.

    The music video? Pure gold – Tom’s moves and charisma practically leap off the screen. If you need a pick-me-up or a reminder that cool never ages, 'Kiss' is your go-to. It’s cheeky, it’s fun, and it’s classic Tom Jones turning a Prince hit into his own signature groove.

  5. I'll Never Fall in Love Again

    Tom Jones - (It Looks Like) I'll Never Fall In Love Again (The Dusty Springfield Show, 5th Sep 1967)

    This classic tune, released in 1967, showcases Tom Jones' powerful voice and his knack for tugging at our heartstrings.

    Written by Lonnie Donegan and Jimmy Currie, the song captures the bittersweet lament of someone who's been burned by love one too many times. It soared up the UK charts, peaking at number two, and made quite a splash internationally as well.

    Tom Jones, with his charismatic persona and a voice that could melt butter, made this song an anthem for the lovelorn.

  6. The Green Green Grass of Home

    Tom Jones - Green Green Grass Of Home (This Is Tom Jones, 1970)

    Picture this: it’s 1966, and Tom’s belting out this nostalgic tune about returning to the old homestead. Little did he know, this ballad, originally recorded by Porter Wagoner in 1965, would become his signature song.

    Tom’s version skyrocketed to the top of the UK Singles Chart, staying there for a whopping seven weeks! And let's not forget, it also made waves in the US, reaching the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    The song’s charm lies in its bittersweet tale of longing for simpler times, complete with a twist ending that hits you right in the heart.

  7. She's a Lady

    Tom Jones - She's A Lady • TopPop

    'She's a Lady' is Tom Jones at his suave best, strutting his way into the 1970s with enough swagger to power a disco ball.

    Released in 1971, this hit penned by Paul Anka became one of Jones' signature tunes, reminding everyone that he's the king of cool. The song climbed up the charts like Tom's sideburns, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and making it Jones' highest-charting single in the U.S.

    Ever the charmer, Jones sings about a woman who's "all you'd ever want," with his velvet voice convincing everyone to agree. Fun fact: the song was originally intended for Anka himself, but he wisely passed it to Jones, who infused it with his unmistakable charisma. 'She's a Lady' is the ultimate anthem of chivalry with a wink.

  8. Help Yourself

    TOM JONES - Help Yourself (1968) GW

    'Help Yourself' is where Tom Jones takes the concept of indulgence to a whole new level. This 1968 hit is a delightful feast of brass, charm, and irresistible hooks that made audiences everywhere want to sing along.

    Encouraging listeners to grab life's opportunities because “life’s a banquet,” it's no surprise this track rocketed up the charts, landing at number 5 in the UK and breaking into the US top 40.

    Borrowing its melody from the Italian tune 'Gli Occhi Miei' by Dino, Jones’s powerful vocals and playful performance give it a unique flair. Whether you're a fan of buffet metaphors or just appreciate a catchy tune, 'Help Yourself' dishes out a heaping portion of fun that’s hard to resist.

  9. It's Not Unusual

    Tom Jones "It's Not Unusual" (April 21, 1968) on The Ed Sullivan Show

    Tom Jones' iconic song 'It's Not Unusual' catapulted him to stardom in 1965. This energetic anthem, with its catchy brass hooks and Jones' powerful vocals, became a hallmark of the swinging '60s.

    The song was originally intended for Sandie Shaw, but Jones' passionate demo impressed everyone so much that it was decided he should keep it.

    Written by Les Reed and Gordon Mills, the song's success was unprecedented. It reached number one in the UK and number ten in the US, making Jones an international sensation. Its universal appeal has made it a staple in pop culture, famously featured in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where Carlton Banks' memorable dance to the tune cemented its place in TV history.

  10. Delilah

    Tom Jones "Delilah" on The Ed Sullivan Show

    Ah, 'Delilah'—the song that made Tom Jones the ultimate karaoke legend and the patron saint of dramatic breakups.

    Released in 1968, 'Delilah' tells the tale of a man who catches his beloved Delilah being unfaithful and reacts in, let’s say, a slightly extreme manner. Spoiler alert: it involves a knife and a lot of melodrama.

    Tom Jones, with his booming voice and signature hip gyrations, turned this tragic story into a chart-topping hit. It reached number two in the UK Singles Chart and became a staple at his live performances, complete with the audience belting out the chorus with unbridled enthusiasm.

    'Delilah' was written by Barry Mason and Les Reed, who might’ve had a flair for the dramatic themselves. Despite its dark lyrics, the song has an inexplicable way of getting people up and dancing—or at least waving an imaginary knife in the air.