Sir Tom Jones has faced criticism over comments he made while discussing his first impressions of the music industry, stating that he was “paranoid” of homosexuals.
The veteran performer released his new covers album ‘Long Lost Suitcase’ earlier this month, which features the Welsh singer covering the likes of The Rolling Stones, Hank Williams and more.
Speaking to The Big Issue, Jones is quoted as saying: “I was ready for most aspects of the music industry but when I met the producer Joe Meek, that threw me off a bit. Because he was a homosexual. I thought, wait a minute, is the London scene, the people who run British showbusiness – are there a lot of homosexuals involved here? Because if so, I’m going back to Cardiff.”
The singer says his naive paranoia was “so much so that when I signed with Decca and Peter Sullivan became my manager, and he said the same thing Joe Meek said – tell the boys to pack their gear up, I want to talk to you myself – I said, you’re not one of these queer fellows are you? And he said, what are you on about? I became paranoid, you see.”
“I wondered, was that required to make a hit record? But then I got into it and I realised no, it just so happened that the first guy to record me was a homosexual producer. Once I got over the shock of that, and realised it wasn’t true, most people were normal. Well, I shouldn’t put it like that. Homosexuals are normal, it’s not that they’re not normal. It’s just that they are what they are.”
Jones has been criticised for his comments, with Andrew White, Director of LGBT rights group Stonewall Cymru, telling The Daily Mail: “It’s not unusual to meet gay people in show business so we’d have thought that Sir Tom would have learnt how to talk about us by now. Instead he’s still painfully tripping over his words.”
“Here in Wales we call him Jones The Voice, it would be a real shame if he became Jones the voice of the past.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jones discusses his reputation as a lothario: “The women, the sex… That’s all been talked about so much. But that’s not the essence of me, that’s not what makes me tick. ‘It’s Not Unusual’ was a hit before anyone saw me. It was the power of the voice. The media always pick on the women, and how did that affect your wife. With everyone famous, not just me. They always bring sex into it. It’s part of life of course or we’d all die out. But what’s important is why are you different, what’s unique? I don’t regret anything. All in all, no matter what happened, my marriage is still solid and my son still loves me. I haven’t done anything bad in my life.”
Jones recently spoke about his reaction to being axed from The Voice this summer. He says he told the BBC to “go fuck themselves”.