Sir Tom Jones turns 80: Singer shares 'tremendous' memories

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Tom JonesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Tom said "the memories are tremendous and I don't want to stop"

As he celebrates his 80th birthday, Sir Tom Jones has said he will keep singing "as long as there's breath in my body".

The Welsh legend, who was born on 7 June 1940, said he did not mind growing old because "the memories are tremendous".

And he said lockdown reminded him of his own two-year isolation with tuberculosis from the age of 12.

"I sympathise with young people that can't go and play," he said.

Sir Tom, who grew up in Pontypridd, enjoyed huge commercial success with hits including It's Not Unusual, What's New Pussycat? and Kiss.

He became one of the world's biggest stars, with his live Las Vegas performances earning the admiration of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

Image caption,
Sir Tom has enjoyed success with hits like It's Not Unusual

Throughout his career he has constantly reinvented himself, moving from pop, rock and country to gospel, soul and blues and then on to electronic and dance music.

Speaking to friend and fellow-singer Cerys Matthews for BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Wales, he said: "The memories are tremendous and I don't want to stop.

"To reach 80 and to have such wonderful memories and to be still doing it and still making a point, or trying to - thank you to everybody that has been with me, the audience.

"You can't express yourself properly unless there's people there to listen to you.

"God has been good to me and my voice is still there. So as long as it's there I wanna get up... singing live to people is the thing."

Tom Jones at 80 documentary

There's only one Sir Tom Jones! 🕺❤️️ To celebrate his 80th birthday, we've uncovered rare footage and interviews. 🎂 Tom Jones at 80 📺 Friday, 9pm on BBC One Wales

Posted by BBC Cymru Wales on Thursday, June 4, 2020
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The current lockdown means his birthday celebrations might be limited, but Sir Tom has experienced self-isolation before, having been kept at home in a single room for two years after his TB diagnosis as a child.

"With this lockdown now, I'm thinking 'my God, how are those kids coping?' because I remember it," he said.

"It taught me not to take health for granted."

You can listen to Sir Tom's Musical Years with Cerys Matthews on BBC Sounds and watch Tom Jones at 80 on the BBC iPlayer.

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