It's Not Unusual
|"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)
|Recorded||11 November 1964, Decca Studios, West Hampstead|
|Writer(s)||Les Reed, Gordon Mills|
|Tom Jones singles chronology|
"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. 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 charts in 1965. It was also the first hit for Jones in the US, peaking at #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. Jones used this song as the theme for his late 1960s-early 1970s musical variety series This Is Tom Jones. It has since become Jones' signature song.
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". 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.
As was standard practice in the '60s, 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:
- Tom Jones – vocals
- Joe Moretti – lead guitar
- Jimmy Page – rhythm guitar
- Andy White or Ronnie Verrell – drums
- Stan Barrett – percussion
- Kenny Salmon – organ
- Eric Ford or Alan Weighell – bass
- John Carter and Ken Lewis – backup 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.
- The Impressions recorded a version in 1965.
- The Supremes recorded a version of this song for their Supremes A' Go-Go album, but was not included. It was recently released on a collection of Supremes unreleased recordings and rarities.
- Florence Ballard (ironically of The Supremes and featured on their version) recorded a version of this song in 1968 for her debut solo album entitled "You Don't Have To" that was shelved by ABC Records and left unreleased until the release of The Supreme Florence Ballard CD.
- Italian rock singer Little Tony performed a local version with the title "Non è normale " ("It's not usual") [sic].
- American alternative band Wild Colonials covered the song, which appeared on their album Reel Life vol 1 (2000) and on the soundtrack of the Ellen DeGeneres film Mr. Wrong.
- Five Iron Frenzy covered this song on their live album Five Iron Frenzy LIVE: Proof That the Youth Are Revolting, and later released a studio recorded version on their album All the Hype That Money Can Buy.
- Cher recorded a version of the song on her 1966 record, The Sonny Side of Cher.
- Writer Les Reed and his orchestra also recorded an instrumental version on their 1971 record, Colour Me.
- Filipino singer/artist Sam Sorono (1950–2008) covered this song on his 1978 Sings Tom Jones' Greatest Hits LP album with EMI Records.
- The Wedding Present recorded a version included on the UK remastered re-release of their 1989 album, Bizarro.
- Czech pop singer Pavel Novak performed a local version with the title "Jeden tyden " ("It's not usual")
- The song was sung in the Glee episode, "The Purple Piano Project", by Darren Criss character, Blaine Anderson.
- The alternative rock band Belly covered the song on the 1994 soundtrack of the movie "With Honors."
In popular culture
The song was often featured on the 1990s United States television sitcom series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as dancing music for Carlton Banks as he performed his signature "Carlton Dance". In the episode "Alma-Matter", Jones appeared in a dream sequence to perform the song with Carlton.
The New Jersey Devils are considering adopting the song, with accompanying "Carlton Dance" video, as their celebration song during the 2013-14 NHL season, replacing Rock and Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter.
The song was also included in an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Marge Gets a Job", which Jones guest-starred in. Tom Jones is revealed to be Marge Simpson's favorite singer. Near the end of the episode, Jones is performing "It's Not Unusual" for Marge and Homer Simpson while chained to a bandshell by his foot.
The song appears in the Terry Gilliam film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, can also be heard in the 1996 movies House Arrest and Flipper, in the 1991 Canadian film Highway 61 (as well as the film's trailer), Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door, and in the 1999 film Lake Placid.
In the Duck Dodgers episode "Talent Show A Go-Go", both Tom Jones and Duck Dodgers sing the song. First Duck Dodgers sings it with Tom's voice, then later Tom sings it with Dodgers' voice.
The song was briefly featured as part of a clue sketch in the Season 4 episode "Medieval Evil" in the PBS game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
The song was featured as a dance in Saints Row: The Third.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
- Thompson, Gordon (2008). Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0195333251.
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