Published On: Wed, Jun 17th, 2020

Tom Jones past: What was Sir Tom like as a teen? ‘Teddy boy’ | Music | Entertainment

Sir Tom Jones shot to fame at a very young age, taking his family over to the USA in the mid-1960s. Before this, he was just a young lad from Treforest, Pontypridd, South Wales, with a wife and young child. Now one biographer of Sir Tom has opened up on what the singer was like as a youngster.

Speaking exclusively to, Colin Macfarlane described what the young Thomas Woodward was like.

He described Tom and his friends as ‘teddy boys,’ which was a fashion for young men growing up in the 1950s.

One of the key traits of Teddy boys, according to Mr Macfarlane, was getting into childhood scrapes with other neighbourhood Teddy boys.

He said: “I think at that time there were lots of different teddy boys around… when they confronted each other at the local dance hall or in town there would be fights between them.


“Teddy boys were always fighting during that time and there was a big problem with Teddy boys in Pontypridd as there was in the rest of Britain.”

In Mr Macfarlane’s new book, Sir Tom Jones: 80, he describes one particular story which was told to him by one of Sir Tom’s childhood friends, Dai Perry.

Mr Macfarlane quotes Perry in his book, saying: “Neighbours would come here and say, ‘The Woodward boy didn’t half fancy himself as he crosses the road strutting the area like a young buck…’

“Tom had to fight to prove himself. He would go haywire and get stuck in, but I guess this was normal for the times. The fights came thick and fast…

“To be a Teddy Boy like Tom you had to use every dirty trick in the book if you wanted to win a street fight in Pontypridd.”

He added: “There were a couple of fights. If Tom thought that somebody was chatting up his beautiful girlfriend he would react in a Teddy boy fashion.”

Of course, childhood scrapes are something many people can relate to, especially those immersed in the Teddy boy experience.

Sir Tom was not long for Wales, however, as his career took off with the release of his second single, It’s Not Unusual, which saw him become one of the most famous singers of the time.

Mr Macfarlane added: “To come from the Valleys… he would have left Pontypridd at 23 so to come from that and the Teddy boy thing to do that…

“Well it must have been an incredible journey for him and everybody else while he was there.”

Clearly Sir Tom has changed quite a bit from his early years, and has recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

Sir Tom Jones: 80 is available now

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