The 14 greatest Tom Jones songs ever, ranked

2 June 2020, 16:05 | Updated: 5 June 2020, 22:41

Tom Jones
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Sir Tom Jones is one of the world's most celebrated British artists, and in 2020 he celebrates his 80th birthday.

To celebrate the Welsh icon's big milestone, let's look back at his greatest ever songs for the perfect Sir Tom Jones playlist:

  1. Sexbomb (with Mousse T)

    For Tom's hugely successful comeback album Reload, he teamed up with dance act Mousse T for this party anthem.

    Containing a sample from 'All American Girls' by Sister Sledge, it gave him a number three hit in 1999.

    Read more: Photos of Tom Jones through the years at 80: “The women, the sex… I don’t regret anything”

  2. Thunderball

    Read more: All the James Bond themes, ranked from worst to best

    'Thunderball' became the lead song for the 1965 Bond film of the same name.

    Tom apparently fainted in the recording booth after singing the song's final, high note. He once said: "I closed my eyes and I held the note for so long when I opened my eyes the room was spinning."

  3. Burning Down the House (with The Cardigans)

    For his Reload collaborations album, Sir Tom scored a big top 10 hit with this Talking Heads cover.

    Sir Tom teamed up with Swedish band the Cardigans on the track, giving them both one of their biggest ever hits in 1999.

  4. What's New Pussycat?

    Released in 1965, 'What’s New Pussycat' was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the movie of the same name.

    It has since been performed by everyone from The Four Seasons to Tony Bennett.

  5. Mama Told Me Not To Come (with Stereophonics)

    Written by Randy Newman for Eric Burdon's solo album and later a hit for Three Dog Night, Sir Tom covered this rock anthem with Stereophonics, who at the time were one of the biggest bands in 1999.

    Sharing vocals with fellow Welsh star Kelly Jones, this gave Sir Tom yet another top 10 hit from his Reload album.

  6. If He Should Ever Leave You

    Sir Tom recorded this underrated pop gem for his 2008 album 24 Hours, his first album of mainly original material in years.

  7. You Can Leave Your Hat On

    Originally by Randy Newman in 1972 and later made famous by Joe Cocker, Sir Tom covered this naughty stripping anthem for the Full Monty soundtrack in 1997.

    It famously played during the film's climax, and helped cement Sir Tom's impressive comeback of the late '90s.

  8. I'll Never Fall in Love Again

    On first release in 1967, Tom's recording reached number two in the UK Chart but was less successful in the States, where it only peaked at number 49.

    Not to be confused with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song of the same name, this was originally by Lonnie Donegan in 1962.

  9. Help Yourself

    This catchy classic was a reworked English-language version of the Italian song 'Gli Occhi Miei' ('My Eyes').

    Sir Tom's version gave him another top 10 hit in the UK, and it became one of his signature songs.

  10. Kiss (with the Art of Noise)

    In 1988, English group The Art of Noise released a cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’, featuring Tom Jones on vocals.

    The song reached number five on the UK Singles Chart – higher than the original, and gave Tom a deserved comeback. He also recorded a version of the song for his 2003 Reloaded: Greatest Hits album.

  11. She's a Lady

    Paul Anka wrote this song for Tom in 1971, and it became his biggest hit in the States, reaching number two.

    Anka rewrote the first verse of the song (recorded with Tom) for his 2013 Duets album, because he disliked its chauvinistic lines.

  12. The Green Green Grass of Home

    Originally made popular by Dolly Parton's longtime musical partner Porter Wagoner in 1965, it was recorded by Sir Tom in 1966, when it became a worldwide number one hit.

    The death-row ballad was also the rather un-festive Christmas number one that year. 

  13. It's Not Unusual

    It’s Not Unusual was first recorded by a then-unknown Tom Jones, after having first been offered to Sandie Shaw.

    Tom recorded what was intended to be a demo for Sandie, but when she heard it she was so impressed with Jones' delivery that she declined the song and recommended that Jones release it himself.

    When we spoke to Tom about it, he said: “I did the demo on this song when it was being offered to Sandie Shaw. I was just starting out and, God bless her, she said: 'Whoever's singing this, it's his song... I'm indebted to Sandie for being so generous."

    It reached number one in the UK chart in 1965 and has since become one of Tom's signature songs. And we can't help but dance the 'Carlton' from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air every single time.

  14. Delilah

    Released in 1968, this bombastic anthem reached number two in the UK and went on to become the sixth best selling single of that year.

    Try and sing this classic without going 'ba da da da da da da' after he belts out 'My, my, my... Delilah!'. It's impossible.