I found myself watching a programme about Tom Jones last night (the singer not the book.) I've never liked his music- and I'm not going to start now- but I was surprised at how decent and unspoiled he seems. I would have expected Vegas to have rotted him away, but it hasn't and at 70 he's still just an uncomplicated working-class boy who loves to sing. It left me wondering whether his mate Elvis would have developed into just such another benign fatherly figure if he'd survived the dickishness of his middle years.
Jones's problem- much like Elvis's- was a lack of artistic judgement. Left to his own devices he'd have been a rocker not a pop star (and possibly still playing the pubs of South Wales). He has drifted in and out of cool at the direction of his managers.
Jones latest material is secular gospel- conscience-jerking songs about how one should live one's life- only without any mention of Jesus. At first I thought I was quite impressed with them and then I discovered I couldn't be doing with the preachiness.