tom jones

Sir Tom Jones releases utterly brilliant new single… really! ‘The Voice’ judge sings the ‘Talking Reality Television Blues’.

He needs no introduction. The pop-cultural Prince of Wales.  The Voice. A friend of Elvis. 58 years in the business. From It’s Not Unusual to Kiss to Sex Bomb he bestrides the decades like a colossus.

Wikipedia says  His performing range has included pop, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul and gospel. In 2008, the New York Times called Jones a musical “shape shifter”. 

And, 2021, at the age of 80, he has done it again. The flagship single for forthcoming album Surrounded by Time, a cover of Todd Sniders “Talking Reality Television Blues”. It’s utterly brilliant – really. ( Well, I think it is)

Almost a Stone Roses drum shuffle, Beck style blues guitar and a Bob Dylan style vocal. None of his soulful ‘full-throated baritone’ but a mischievous gravitas, sounding at times a bit like fellow countrymen Richard Burton and John Cale.

Of course there is a bit of a contradiction, what with television always having been a big part of Tom’s success. He is still a judge on the Voice (UK).  But Todd Sniders lyric is incisive and astute with a dash of Gil Scott Heron The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Disposable Heroes of HipHopracy’s Television Drug of The Nation, Beck and Dylan all in the mix.

It’s a cool song and Tom performs it well. And it’s probably not what a lot of his fanbase were expecting.

Toms forthcoming album has versions of The Windmills Of Your Mind,
Popstar by Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam), Dylans One More Cup of Coffee and This is the Sea (a Waterboys song) and yeah, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m looking forward to it.

Link Tree to The Song – choice of outlets.

Link Tree to The Album – choice of outlets.


All words by Ged Babey

Edit / P.S.  And yes, before anyone else says it, musically it does share something maybe with ‘I Might Be Wrong’ by Radiohead. Not a song I was familiar with. (GB)


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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


  1. I don’t know why you’re so surprised. He’s a massive talent with a beautiful voice. Had he been American or English he would always have been taken more seriously imo as a Welsh woman

    • The anti-Trump lyric and Bob Dylan type protest-song was the surprise. I agree he has always been a huge talent. I agree with your last point to some extent. His role -playing himself -in the movie Mars Attacks for example, proves that he makes good choices about his career and is internationally renowned. I get the impression he is very happy doing the Voice -coaching young talent, meeting people, rather than being isolated in a Hollywood Mansion living the life of a mega-rich superstar.

  2. Clever, really clever, though I thought the guitar sounded more like Thom Yorke’s on his live version of ‘Black Swan’ with Nigel Godrich at Le Poisson Rouge, NY 2014.
    Well done Sir Tom and team, more of this please. SH

    • Regardless, the subject of this song goes along so well with Radiohead like a very clever metaphor meshing those two together.


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