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||22 January 1965 (UK) |
March 1965 (US)
|Recorded||11 November 1964, Decca Studios, West Hampstead|
|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's 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 number 3 on Billboard's easy listening chart. The BBC initially refused to play the song because of Jones’s sexy image, but it was played by UK pirate radio. Jones performed the song several times on The Ed Sullivan Show in the US, first on 2 May 1965, then again on 13 June 1965. He sang the song again on the show when he returned on 21 April 1968.
The first studio version of the song was subsequently released in 1995 as part of the compilation album The Legendary Tom Jones - 30th Anniversary Album.
Musical arrangement and recording
The song's musical arranger was Les Reed. Although the guitar has been cited as having been provided by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Reed has stated that the only guitarist was Joe Moretti, who is known for his playing on "Shakin' All Over" and "Brand New Cadillac". Page does list the session in his online discography, however. Drums were played by Scottish percussionist Andy White, who had previously drummed for The Beatles. or possibly by 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. Future AC/DC drummer Chris Slade ran across the street to the "La Giaconda" coffee house, and recruited the then-unknown Reginald Dwight (later to adopt the stage name Elton John) for the one-day recording session.
As was standard practice in the 1960s, session musicians were used instead of Jones's 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 - guitar break
- Jimmy Page – lead guitar
- Vic Flick - guitar
- Andy White, Ronnie Verrell or Chris Slade - drums (also claimed by Alan Grahame)
- 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
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
- 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.
- Glen Campbell recorded the song on his 1965 album The Big Bad Rock Guitar of Glen Campbell.
- Brenda Lee recorded the song for her 1965 album Too Many Rivers.
- Bobbi Martin released her version on her 1965 album I Love You So.
- Jackie Trent included her version on her 1966 album Yesterdays.
- Los Bravos recorded a cover in 1966. On the A-side of the single the B-side was No Se Mi Nombre.
- In 1966, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela included the song to his album Hugh Masekela's Next Album.
- 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 (of The Supremes and featured on their version) recorded a version of this song in 1968 for her debut solo album, You Don't Have To, that was shelved by ABC Records and left unreleased until the release of The Supreme Florence Ballard CD.
- Vikki Carr recorded the song for her 1968 album Don't Break My Pretty Balloon'.
- 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 Novák recorded a version with the title "Jeden týden."
- 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.
- Clare Teal in a jazz style on her 2012 album The Many Sides of Clare Teal.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The song enjoyed a resurgence in the mid-1990s, as it was used in the hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on several occasions. It typically features Carlton Banks, one of the lead characters, lip-syncing to the lyrics and performing comedic choreography (which came to be known as the "Carlton dance"). Jones had guest-starred on the show on a few occasions, also performing and dancing alongside Carlton in the episodes. Jones later made a guest appearance in the third season episode "The Alma Matter" as Carlton's guardian angel, who performed the song with Carlton's actor Alfonso Ribeiro.
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- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Colin Larkin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. pp. 488–. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
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- Slade, Chris. "Drummer". AC/DC Drummer Chris Slade - His Career. YouTube. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Chrish Slade in Allmusic
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- "British single certifications – Tom Jones – It's Not Unusual". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Mark Ribowsky (2010). The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal. Da Capo Press. pp. 329–. ISBN 978-0-306-81873-8.
- Mark Bego (15 July 2004). Cher: If You Believe. Taylor Trade Publishing. pp. 292–. ISBN 978-1-4616-2592-6.
- Discogs - Sam Sorono – Sing Tom Jones' Greatest Hits
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- The Carlton Dance, retrieved 14 March 2021
- Carlton Banks and Tom Jones Scene (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), retrieved 14 March 2021