Friday, September 21, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Looking Back: It's not unusual for Tom Jones to be loved by everyone (August 10, 1971)

This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on August 10, 1971. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Larry Alspaugh.

Fans Jilted, But Still Love Jones

By Ron Speer

Times Staff

TAMPA – Shapely, Sherry Roche, a 24-year-old secretary who's husband thought she was "silly" went hungry Monday in a bid to get Tom Jones' autograph.

Her fast, however, was in vain.

And skipping lunch didn't pay off for eight other young women who cracked the secrecy surrounding Jones' arrival at Tampa International Airport.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

They were able to able to find out when he was coming – but they still didn't get autographs.

The Welsh entertainer, in Tampa to pick up a guaranteed $50,000 for two Monday night performances at Curtis Hixon Hall, wasn't in an autograph signing mood. Not even for the handful of women who dug out the secret that his chartered United Airlines Jet was arriving at 12:29 p.m.

They were clustered around the big, black limousine at the ramp of the plane when Jones walked down. Wearing brown slacks and a chocolate colored shirt, casually unbuttoned over his chest, Jones stepped into the limousine and sped off. Mrs. Roach said she wasn't disappointed that he didn't take time to autograph her pad.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

"He's the toughest man I've seen in all my life," said the striking blond. "I'm glad I got to see him even if he didn't sign."

But she appeared to be hurt, and another secretary said she was upset that the 31-year-old millionaire singer had spurned the girls at the airport.

"I'm disappointed," said 20-year-old Fran Pultz. "He could have at least said hello. There were just a few of us there." Both Fran and Sherry had their $12 tickets to Jones' 9:30 p.m. show with them but there was little chance that they would get his autograph then.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

Known as a man who "arouses the animal instincts in women" Jones goes to elaborate lengths to keep his female fans away.

His trip to Tampa – which will include a couple of days rest before he heads out on tour again – was typical of his stops around the U.S.

And the secrecy and the security arrival was that of a traveling American president.

Unlike presidents, however, Jones doesn't like to "press the flesh" with the folks.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

A cluster of fans are told Tom Jones will not sign autographs.

His advance people claim they didn't know when his plane was arriving. And they couldn't or wouldn't say where he was staying. He was whisked up to his fifth floor suite at the Manger Motor Inn before even the all-knowing bell boys knew he was planning to stay there.

And after Jones arrived, they were told to keep their mouths shut.

TIMES FILES

Shown above is an architect's drawing of the Manger Motor Inn, a $5,000,000,7-story, 280-room building to be erected in downtown Tampa.

While Jones was resting, others were making plans to assure a triumphant and safe performance in the Curtis Hixon Hall arranged in the round.

Jones' contract specifies that 100 uniformed policemen be on hand to control the crowd and they were, with the tallest up front.

"Only policemen 6'2" and over are up there around him," said police detective L. F. Napoli, who made four test runs during the afternoon to make sure the driver of Jones' limousine could get him safely from the hotel to hall. The plan sent Jones from his room down a service elevator, out the kitchen and into a freight dock where the limousine was awaiting with the motor running. A winding one-mile drive to the hall took about five minutes, and the limousine drove right to the building where massive doors clanged down behind it to keep out the curious.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

The people that paid $6 to $12 a ticket to watch Jones perform however, knew he was here.

His booming voice cracked through the hall for an hour at the first of his two shows as he sang favorites of Tom Jones fans.

Women with backless dresses, some with almost frontless dresses, were scattered throughout the crowd estimated at about 5,000 by police. A sellout crowd of about 6,800 was expected for the second show.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

Jones, going through the bumps and grinds which turn on his feminine followers, kissed three-year-old Susan at ringside along with quite a few older women.

Among his most popular songs were "I Who Have Nothing," "Delilah," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Daughter of Darkness."

Jones mentioned the heat throughout the performance, and as sweat scattered from his shaking body, women tossed scarves and handkerchieves and Kleenexes and lots of lingerie onto the stage. Jones wiped his brow with nearly every pair of panties thrown and chided the fans who only offered him Kleenex.

TIMES | Larry Alspaugh

To order reprints, license or download any Times image from this gallery, or to see other Tom Jones photos, please visit the Times image archive.

Jeremy King

Twitter: @TBTimesArchive

e-mail: [email protected]

Comments
Lucero’s Ben Nichols talks about the band’s 20th anniversary, Michael Shannon’s intensity and more

Lucero’s Ben Nichols talks about the band’s 20th anniversary, Michael Shannon’s intensity and more

Ben Nichols is friendly with Michael Shannon. His brother, director Jeff Nichols, has cast Shannon in all five of his films. And the Oscar-nominated actor stars in a video — a short film, really — for Long Way Back Home, the new single by Nichols’ ro...
Published: 09/20/18
Lucero’s Ben Nichols talks Michael Shannon’s intensity, the band’s chances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more

Lucero’s Ben Nichols talks Michael Shannon’s intensity, the band’s chances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more

This is the 20th year of Lucero, the crusty, punk- and alt-country-accented Memphis rockers who've made many an enjoyable sojourn to Tampa Bay over the years. But don't go thinking it's made Ben Nichols newly nostalgic for his early work."It's funny,...
Published: 09/20/18
Rae Sremmurd to headline USF Homecoming concert at Yuengling Center in Tampa

Rae Sremmurd to headline USF Homecoming concert at Yuengling Center in Tampa

The University of South Florida's homecoming week is just around the corner, and the school has just booked a nice headliner for its annual centerpiece concert.Chart-topping hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd will headline the annual USF Homecoming concert on ...
Published: 09/20/18
Dickey Betts in critical condition, facing brain surgery after ‘freak accident’ near Sarasota; upcoming concerts canceled

Dickey Betts in critical condition, facing brain surgery after ‘freak accident’ near Sarasota; upcoming concerts canceled

Months after returning to the stage after years of retirement, legendary Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts is "critical but stable" after a "freak accident" at his home in Sarasota County, according to his website.The site says Betts was ou...
Published: 09/19/18
Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

A band will once again take the stage at the Super Bowl halftime show.The pop group Maroon 5 is scheduled to headline the annual 13-minute extravaganza this February at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, according to two sources familiar with the plan...
Published: 09/19/18
Ticket window: Carol Burnett, John Mellencamp and Sarah Brightman on sale this week

Ticket window: Carol Burnett, John Mellencamp and Sarah Brightman on sale this week

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:• Carol Burnett, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, $72.50-$257.50, on Sale at noon Friday at the box office, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, or by calling (727) 791-7400.• Shawn Colvin,...
Published: 09/19/18
Country Music on the Bay festival bringing Scotty McCreery, Wynonna, Jerrod Niemann to St. Petersburg

Country Music on the Bay festival bringing Scotty McCreery, Wynonna, Jerrod Niemann to St. Petersburg

An all-new country music festival is coming to St. Petersburg.Country Music on the Bay will hit Vinoy Park on Oct. 13, with a lineup that includes American Idol alum Scotty McCreery, Jerrod Niemann (Drink to That All Night), Wynonna and the Big Noise...
Published: 09/19/18
Weekend concert picks: Niall Horan, Maren Morris, Lucero and more

Weekend concert picks: Niall Horan, Maren Morris, Lucero and more

UPWARD DIRECTION: Niall Horan, Maren MorrisHarry Styles is the biggest star, rakish as always and selling out arenas. Zayn and Liam Payne have the best pop hits (Pillowtalk, Strip That Down, Get Low). Louis Tomlinson is biding his time while anxious ...
Published: 09/19/18
Clearwater’s Hispanic Heritage festival expands to two days; Gente de Zona, Olga Tanon lead lineup

Clearwater’s Hispanic Heritage festival expands to two days; Gente de Zona, Olga Tanon lead lineup

A big festival in Clearwater is getting even bigger.The annual 92.5 Maxima Hispanic Heritage concert — officially known as the Maxima Concerto Herencia Hispana — will expand from one day to two in 2018. It'll take place Oct. 13 and 14 at ...
Published: 09/19/18
Sunshine Music Festival won’t return to St. Petersburg in 2019

Sunshine Music Festival won’t return to St. Petersburg in 2019

For the last six years, the Sunshine Music Festival has broken up the wintry monotony of mid-January with a star-studded show at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.But for the time being, it's not coming back.The fest recently announced on social media tha...
Published: 09/19/18