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Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography by Tom Jones Books in Review
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Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography
by Tom Jones
Penguin Publishing Group
ISBN 978-1-92409617
Published November 2015 - Hardcover - 432 pages - $18.97

I was looking forward to reading about Tom Jones and how he came from working class Wales to ruling the airwaves in the 60s and 70s.  That is until I could barely stomach any more f-bombs.  One here and there is okay, but when you have to use them so liberally, it becomes annoying and distracting.  (It's not a sign of intelligence when a person uses so many curse words.  I couldn't help myself mentioning this as it really distracted me from his story, to the point that I almost quit reading I got so annoyed.)  Anyhow, he kind of fell into singing when he preferred to be out drinking with his friends and having fun around Pontypridd.  I don't think too many people, at the time, knew he was a father at 16 years old.  A bout of TB precluded him from completing his schooling, and he didn't mind as he struggled with what was dyslexia but it wasn't called that back then.  He relates his early run-ins with the emerging pop heros of the time in both the UK and the USA, and his "feel" for songs that would work for him, especially some of the American country and/or blues-influenced songs.  The second half of his book sees the re-emergence of his singing career, TV shows, hit songs, and more famous people he worked with.  (I picked up the animosity between Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, another emerging singer at the time.)  Jones is not short of a word and there are any number of anecdotes, especially about his beloved wife Melinda and his son.  There is no denial or mention of the alleged affairs and/or flings he was known for, but there was lots of drinking.  A lot of drinking.
Conclusion - An interesting story with an insight into this man's life, but for me, too much unnecessary cursing which I found off-putting.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.


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