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)
|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 Singles Chart in 1965. 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.
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
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. or possibly by or Ronnie Verrell, although a claim has also been made by Alan Grahame.
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 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:
- 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, Bob Efford – tenor sax
- Harry Klein – baritone sax
- The Impressions recorded a version in 1965.
- The Dells also recorded a version in 1965 and released it as the title track of an LP on Vee-Jay records in Chicago. It was released as the B-side to their original recording of Stay in My Corner.
- 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' previously 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.
- Those Darn Accordions recorded an all-accordion instrumental version for their 1992 album Vongole Fisarmonica.
- 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.
- Filipino singer Nora Aunor on her album, More, more, more of Nora Aunor
- 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 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV show, Carlton Banks, played by Alfonso Ribeiro danced to this song occasionally throughout the show. It eventually became a fad known as the "Carlton Dance". Ribeiro would later perform the same dance on Dancing With The Stars.
- 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.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Tom Jones - Ed Sullivan Show". Edsullivan.com. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- "Scots percussionist paid fiver for playing drums on Beatles' debut single Love Me Do". Dailyrecord.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- Thompson 2008.
- "BBC - Session musician tells of working with Tom Jones". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- Slade, Chris. "Drummer". AC/DC Drummer Chris Slade - His Career. HauntedSaloon. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- "Dells, The – Stay In My Corner / It's Not Unusual". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- "It's Not Unusual (Glee Cast Version): Glee Cast: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Thompson, Gordon (2008). Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out. OUP USA. ISBN 978-0195333251.
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