Delilah (Tom Jones song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Delilah (1968 song))
Jump to: navigation, search
Single by Tom Jones
from the album Delilah
B-side "Smile" (Mills)
Released February 1968
Format 7"
Recorded 1968
Genre Pop
Length 3:20
Label Decca
Writer(s) Les Reed - music
Barry Mason - lyrics
Producer(s) Peter Sullivan
Tom Jones singles chronology
"I'm Coming Home"
"Help Yourself"

"Delilah" is a murder ballad recorded by Welsh singer Tom Jones in 1968. The lyrics were written by Barry Mason, to music by Les Reed, who also contributed the title and theme of the song. It earned Reed and Mason the 1968 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[1]


It reached No. 1 in the charts of several countries including Germany and Switzerland.[2] It reached No 2 in the British charts in March 1968 and was the sixth best selling single of that year.[3] The US Billboard chart records its highest position as 15.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
German Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Top 40 3
Canadian RPM Top Singles 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 15
Finnish Singles Charts 1


Although the song is a soulful rock-and-roll number, set in triple metre, the underlying genre may be considered to be a "Power Ballad" in the British Ballad tradition.

Jones narrates the song as a betrayed lover who spies his woman in silhouette on a window blind as she makes love to another man. Although he realizes that she is no good for him, he becomes temporarily insane. Waiting until her paramour leaves, at the break of day, he knocks on the door, which she opens, only to laugh in his face. He stabs her to death. Realizing this murderous act, the betrayed lover begs her forgiveness before the police come to break down the door and take him away.

Jones' version features a big-band accompaniment set to a flamenco rhythm. The pitch of the final note is A4.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has also been covered many times by other artists, including a reggae cover by Horace Andy, the goth rock band Inkubus Sukkubus on their album Wild, the Irish American punk band Flogging Molly on their live album Alive Behind the Green Door, the Italian operatic pop group Il Volo on their album "Grande Amore", and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band whose single reached No 7 in the UK chart in 1975. During the summer 1968 edition of the musical contest Cantagiro, the Italian singer Jimmy Fontana sang it with the title "La nostra favola" (however the Italian translation changed the meaning of the original lyrics). Country Dick Montana recorded it with the Pleasure Barons as part of a Tom Jones medley on their live album Pleasure Barons Live in Las Vegas. It was covered in 1978 by Filipino singer/artist Sam Sorono (1950-2008) on his Sings Tom Jones' Greatest Hits LP album with EMI Records. Austrian singer Peter Alexander recorded a German cover on his 1985 album Ein Abend Mit Dir. In 1988 "Delilah" was covered by Paddy Goes To Holyhead. This version can be found on the 4CD box The Hannover Sessions with The Sweet. The Finnish rock band Leningrad Cowboys also performed a version of this song at live album Total Balalaika. American band Faith No More covered a snippet of the song during their Second Coming Tour.

Akane Liv(a.k.a. Liv Moon) will cover "Delilah" from the album "Scream As A Woman-II.

Miscellaneous uses[edit]

Supporters of Stoke City have adopted "Delilah" as their club anthem since the 1990s. It was adopted by the fans after a supporter was heard singing it in a local pub. Some of the song's original lyrics have been adapted for the terraces, but the essence of the song remains the same.[5]

Welsh rugby fans have sung "Delilah" as an unofficial anthem since at least as early as the 1970s, so much so that it was referred to in the lyrics of one of the verses of Max Boyce's "Hymns and Arias": "We sang 'Cwm Rhondda' and 'Deliliah', damn they sounded both the same". Tom Jones performed it before Wales's historic rugby victory over England at Wembley Stadium in 1999. The Welsh Rugby Union now plays the song in Millennium Stadium before matches; the words to the song are shown on the big screens and the crowd sings along.[6]

On 4 June 2012 Jones performed the song for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert.[citation needed]

The song featured in the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands.[7] In the 2005 film Romance and Cigarettes, the original recording plays on a jukebox while Christopher Walken sings along and pantomimes the action. In the 2013 film American Hustle, the song plays at a bar while Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner sing along. Bale is a native of Wales, as is Tom Jones.[citation needed]

According to Philip Norman's biography of Elton John, the future pop superstar provided background vocals on this song.[citation needed]

In the episode of The Simpsons, "Homer the Heretic", Homer sings the chorus while showering, seemingly pleased with himself for getting out of going to church.[citation needed]

In the 14th episode of Raising Hope, "What Up, Cuz?", the song appears in a flashback showing the young Virginia Chance with her cousin Delilah.[citation needed]

The chorus of the song was referenced in the movie Hercules Returns.[citation needed]

In the first episode of the 2012 British comedy series Citizen Khan Mr Khan sings the song over the mosque speakers much to the amusement of several fellow worshipers.[citation needed]

Korean girl group Mamamoo performed an English/Korean version of the song on an episode on Immortal Song 2 in September 2015.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent, 28 May 1994
  2. ^ Swiss charts web-site
  3. ^
  4. ^ Billboard web-site
  5. ^ "Stoke City fans back Tom Jones's Delilah to top charts". BBC. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "WHY, WHY, WHY BAN DELILAH?; Tom Hit Is Sexist". The Mirror. April 2003. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  7. ^ Burton, Tim (1990), Edward Scissorhands, 20th Century Fox

External links[edit]