It's Not Unusual

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"It's Not Unusual"
Single by Tom Jones
from the album Along Came Jones (It's Not Unusual)
B-side "To Wait for Love" (Bacharach-David)
Released January 1965 (UK)
March 1965 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 11 November 1964, Decca Studios, West Hampstead
Genre Pop
Length 2:03
Label Decca (UK)[1]
Parrot Records(US)
Writer(s) Les Reed, Gordon Mills[1]
Producer(s) Peter Sullivan[1]
Tom Jones singles chronology
"Chills and Fever"
(1964)
"It's Not Unusual"
(1965)
"Once Upon a Time"
(1965)

"It's Not Unusual" is a song written by Les Reed and Gordon Mills, first recorded by a then-unknown Tom Jones, after having first been offered to Sandie Shaw.[1] Jones recorded what was intended to be a demo for Shaw, but when she heard it she was so impressed with Jones' delivery that she declined the song and recommended that Jones release it himself. The record was the second Decca single Jones released, reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1965.[2] It was also the first hit for Jones in the US, peaking at No. 10 in May of that year. The single was released in the US on the Parrot label and also reached #3 on Billboard's easy listening chart. The BBC initially refused to play the song because of Jones’ sexy image, but it was played by UK pirate radio. Jones would perform the song several times on The Ed Sullivan Show in the US, first on 2 May 1965, then again on 13 June 1965. He would sing the song again on the show when he returned on 21 April 1968.[3]

Jones later used this song as the theme for his late 1960s-early 1970s television musical variety series This Is Tom Jones. It has since become Jones' signature song.

Musical arrangement and recording[edit]

The musical arranger was Les Reed. Although the guitar has been cited as having been provided by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Reed has clarified that the only guitarist was Joe Moretti, who is known for his playing on "Shakin' All Over" and "Brand New Cadillac". Drums were played by Scottish percussionist Andy White.[4] or possibly by or Ronnie Verrell,[5] although a claim has also been made by Alan Grahame.[6]

Jones's group "Tom Jones and the Squires" were missing their regular keyboard player for the session. Drummer Chris Slade ran across the street to La Giaconda coffee house, in Tin Pan Alley, and the then-unknown Reginald Dwight (later to adopt the stage name Elton John) was recruited for the one-day recording session.[7]

Personnel[edit]

As was standard practice in the 1960s, session musicians were used instead of Jones' regular backing band. There are conflicting reports about who actually played on the record, but the most likely candidates are:[5]

  • Tom Jones – vocals
  • Joe Moretti – lead guitar
  • Vic Flick - guitar
  • Andy White or Ronnie Verrell - drums
  • Stan Barrett – percussion
  • Kenny Salmon – organ
  • Eric Ford – bass
  • John Carter and Ken Lewis – backing vocals
  • Stan Roderick, Kenny Baker, Bert Ezzard, and Ray Davies or Eddie Blair – trumpets
  • Ronnie Ross – tenor sax
  • Harry Klein – baritone sax
  • Bob Efford – second tenor sax

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 89. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Tom Jones - Ed Sullivan Show". Edsullivan.com. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Scots percussionist paid fiver for playing drums on Beatles' debut single Love Me Do". Dailyrecord.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Thompson 2008.
  6. ^ "BBC - Session musician tells of working with Tom Jones". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Slade, Chris. "Drummer". AC/DC Drummer Chris Slade - His Career. HauntedSaloon. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Dells, The – Stay In My Corner / It's Not Unusual". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "It's Not Unusual (Glee Cast Version): Glee Cast: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Thompson, Gordon (2008). Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0195333251. 
Preceded by
"I'll Never Find Another You" by The Seekers
UK number-one single
11 March 1965 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones