Review By Russell Newmark
The index logs four references to 'knicker-throwing incidents', and of course the book's subject is famously renowned for inspiring this novel form of audience participation. The authors could hardly ignore the arrangement - but this in-depth biography of the Sixties superstar who's survived across the decades to become a pop icon doesn't just re-visit the obvious.
It's an immensely readable and engrossing look at Tom Jones' professional and personal life - confirming en route that both aspects of his journey from a South Wales village to international glory have been filled with dynamic activity.
In a thoroughly-researched study of a showbiz veteran - Tom's 60 next month - the authors' recent interviews with scores of associates from over the years mingle with contemporary material gleaned from various sources, the latter putting matters in the context of the times.
It amounts to a fascinating analysis of a pop phenomenon - the miner's son who sprang to millionaire playboy status after raking up massive hits including It's Not Unusual, Green Green Grass of Home and Delilah, Jones the Voice, the epitome of vigorous virility with an image carefully handled by his management team - led first by the late Gordon Mills and latterly by his own son Mark.
South Hams Newspapers Friday May 5th, 2000
One of the greatest British voices of the last 40 years, Tom is a 60's icon whose career has seen some astonishing downturns and comebacks. This honest, painstakingly-researched life, which celebrates his 60th birthday this summer, pulls no punches but tells it all from his humble Welsh origins to Las Vegas stardom, from the extra-marital liaisons and management problems to his rediscovery as an idol by the likes of Robbie Williams. What a career - and what a survivor.
Tom Jones Internet Fansite
The biography, Close Up, gives an intriguing and provocative look at singer Tom Jones' life. The book chronicles his life in a very thorough manner. Written by Lucy Ellis and Bryony Sutherland, the book takes a look at "a man of many contradictions."
Obviously, the writers did a good bit of research to write this book. At several points it corrects earlier biographies. 70 interviews were given. The book relies, and rightly so, on the words of those involved in Tom's career. While Tom did not give an interview, several earlier media interviews were mentioned.
If you do want to know more about Tom, the book is worthwhile. There are some gems in the book. While some things could be left out (he allegedly did not return some LP's he borrowed in Pontypridd, yikes!!), most of his career is catalogued. Most every album is mentioned with some commentary or a story…
The book is valuable because of very interesting and personal moments. These rare glimpses share with the reader some insight behind Jones' talent. Numerous others are included and make the book very worthwhile to read.
Close Up is an easy read. There should be no trouble zipping through the 350 pages. The 24 pages of pictures ranging from all of Tom's career are another nice addition. My personal recommendation is to buy the book and read it. Most fans should be interested in hearing such a thorough and thoughtful interpretation of Tom Jones life.