Welsh music legend Sir Tom Jones celebrates 80th birthday

Sir Tom Jones celebrates his 80th birthday. Credit: PA

He is without a doubt one of the most famous singers on the planet and today, on Sunday June 7, Sir Tom Jones celebrates his 80th birthday.

With a career in the music industry that stretches over five decades and has seen him sell over 100 million records, we take a look back on one of Wales' most famous individuals.

Sir Tom Jones grew up in Pontypridd. Credit: PA

Thomas John Woodward was born in Pontypridd on June 7, 1940.

He was named after his father Thomas Woodward, a coal miner in the area and his mother's name was Freda Jones.

Growing up he contracted tuberculosis aged 12, meaning he was confined to his bed for around two years. He says this time gave him the chance to hone his singing talent.

He left school at the age of 15 to take a manual job before eventually trying his hand at performing at a number of nightclubs in the area.

At the age of 16, he married Linda Trenchard, who was pregnant with their son Mark. The couplestayed together until her death in 2016.

Sir Tom with Linda in 1970. Credit: PA.

After being spotted whilst performing in a club, Sir Tom signed a deal with Decca Records in London. The singer went on to produce some classic songs, including: It’s Not Unusual, Kiss, Delilah, What’s New Pussycat, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again and If I Only Knew.

It was when he signed for Decca Records that he was told to change his name to Tom Jones, in order to capitalise on a popular film released in the 60's.

Sir Tom Jones shares a joke with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1969. Credit: PA Images

As his career took off Sir Tom made the move across the pond and started performing in various clubs and venues in the USA - which led him to meet one of his music idols, Elvis Presley.He met Elvis in 1965 when the American was filming 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style'.

They became good friends, and spent lots of time together in Las Vegas.

A 25-year-old Tom Jones with some of his records in London in 1965. Credit: PA Images

In 2006 he received a knighthood from the Queen for his contribution to music after already being awarded an OBE in 1999.

In 2011 it was announced that Sir Tom would be joining the coaching team of new TV show The Voice, a role which he has continued ever since, with a brief hiatus in 2016.

Tom Jones and George Michael perform a duet during a tribute concert to Sir Paul McCartney's late wife Linda, held at the Royal Albert Hall in 1999. Credit: PA Images

Sir Tom recently announced that he would be performing a special show to mark his 80th birthday but the coronavirus pandemic has put that on hold for the time-being.