Tom Jones recalls ‘splurging’ his first pay cheque on family outing at 10 years old

Tom Jones discusses his marriage with Linda Trenchard in 1991

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Sir Tom Jones, 80, rose to fame in the 1960s, with his career hitting a high almost immediately with a string of top-ten hits. Looking back on his hugely successful life-time, the singer recalled his first gig and what he splurged his first pay cheque on.

I had to take my cousins to the pictures

Sir Tom Jones

In a recent interview, The Voice UK judge remembered he was about 10 years old when he first performed in front of people for money.

“It would have been a wedding. Lots of my cousins got married and so whole families who didn’t know me would see my singing at those,” he said.

“I remember once, I was singing at my cousin’s house in the front room, because after the wedding we’d all go back to the house, and this fella from the other side took his flat cap off, put it on the floor and said, ‘Hey, this boy should not be singing for nothing, come on.’

“So all these fellas put their hands in their pockets and the money in.”

He added: “I was about ten then, I would imagine, so that was when I first realised that there was money in this!”

Following his financial gain, he revealed how he spent his first pay cheque.

“After that I had to take my cousins to the pictures, because it was a Saturday,” he grinned.

“My mother said, ‘Well, that’s lovely, a cap full of money… You can take your cousins to see a film.’ That was my first ever splurge.”

It wasn’t long after that that the global superstar began to perform at live gigs, where people attended just to see him sing.

The Welshman explained to GQ Magazine: “A lot of people sing in Wales. All my cousins did and I’ve got a lot of them – both of my parents are one of six children.

“All of us lived in Pontypridd and we always had family parties on the weekend, where each of the kids would have a turn to sing.

“If I wasn’t asked early, I used to pull on my mother’s skirts and say, ‘Mam, when are they going to ask me to sing?’ I knew I had this voice, even then.”

Despite his initial success, Sir Tom revealed had “no interest” in pursuing a music career immediately and wanted to focus on supporting is young family.

He married his late wife Melinda Trenchard, also known as “Lady Linda”, in 1957, and the pair welcomed their son Mark Woodward the same year, when the singer was just 17-years-old.

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The Sex Bomb hitmaker went to work in a paper mill as a labourer, where he earned a “man’s wage” at the time, and recalled the moment an ex-British army veteran issued a stark warning to the new dad.

Tom said: “One evening the old man on the machine next to me asked, ‘What are you doing here at such a young age?’

“I said, ‘Well, because I’m married, I’ve got to make some money for my wife and son.'”

His colleague was aware that Tom was a singer and told him to pursue music instead of working in the mill.

But he admitted he had his reservations and planned to wait until he reached the age of 21, and “needed to hold down his job”.

“The old man, who had travelled the world with the British army, said, ‘Believe me, if you are talented in any way, go for it, because if you don’t, when you get old like me all you really have are memories of your life,'” Tom continued.

“He was right. I remember thinking, ‘When I get out of this place I’m going to really concentrate on singing,’ and I did.”

Sir Tom’s star-studded career is teaming with highlights, selling over 100 million records with thirty-six Top 40 hits in the UK and 19 in the US.

Fast-forward to present day, earlier this year he announced the upcoming release of his 41st studio album, Surrounded by Time, full of his own rendition of famous classics, which is set for a release on 23 April.

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