You ask the questions

(Such as: Tom Jones, has a woman ever said, `sorry love, you're just not my type'?)
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Tom Jones - who was born Thomas Jones Woodward - is from Pontypridd in South Wales. After being spotted with his band Tommy Scott and the Senators in the early 1960s, he was given a record deal. His single "It's Not Unusual" (1965) was deemed "too hot" by the BBC but became an international hit. He soon became a star, hosting his own TV show, This Is Tom Jones, between 1969 and 1971, and playing the clubs of Las Vegas.

His popularity has now spread to a younger audience. His new album, Reload, features duets with contemporary acts including The Cardigans, Portishead and Robbie Williams. His latest single, "Baby It's Cold Outside", a duet with Catatonia's Cerys Matthews, is released this week on Gut Records.

In December next year, he will be touring the UK. Tom Jones, 59, has one son, Mark (who is also his manager), and lives with his wife, Linda, in Los Angeles.

What gifts do fans send you?

Jenny Haslan, Cambridge

All kinds of things. Those fans that know me know that I like good champagne, good cognac and great cigars. When people send me those things, I know that they know plenty about me. But to be honest, the best thing for me is the fans that actually turn up to the shows. For them to be there in person makes my singing worthwhile.

Why do you think so many women fancy you?

Francis Williams, by e-mail

Because I'm wonderful (laughs)... no, it's because of my voice, because of the way I sound.

Besides your wife, who would you most like to sing `Sexbomb' to?

Claire Worthington, Stockport, Cheshire Cerys Matthews (Catatonia's lead singer), because she is a fellow singer and it's always easier if you are actually singing to somebody who understands what you are doing, when you are doing it. We've worked together before and she can see where I'm coming from. We always have a laugh together as well, which helps.

Do you really believe that `You reap just what you sow'?

Alan Cornish, Sheffield

Well yes, basically, as long as your health is there. There are certain things that you have no control over and, as long as God has given you health, everything else is down to you. You have to be the master of your own destiny as long as you have the talent to be able to do it.

Since you left Britain as a result of the tax policies of an (old) Labour government, would you think of returning now under the current regime?

Keith Flett, London N17

Well, yes - when I left, I was forced out, there was no way I could stay. My financial adviser told me that I would be "stupid" to come back, especially as, at the time, I was making my living in America. All the big shows, all the money I was making, was foreign earnings and I'd have had to come back and hand it all over. I just thought fuck it, why should I give this money away if I don't really have to.

I was so pissed off with the British government at the time that I almost bought an American car! I was made welcome in LA, I spoke the same language as everyone out there, I had a house I felt comfortable in, I had my Welsh telephone box by the pool, but I was so annoyed by the British government at the time that I almost traded my Rolls- Royce for a Cadillac!

But I kept the Rolls-Royce in the end.

What's the most outrageous thing you've ever done?

Jason Everly, by e-mail

It was 1966, and I was a bit the worse for wear at the time. I bought myself a Jaguar 3.8, and I was driving it on Park Lane, I thought I was in control but the car ran away with me and I smashed it into a barrier - it was embarrassing, the car was a total write off. It was a good job that the policeman who found me was Welsh. He said "Tommy, what have you done? The best thing you can do now is go home!" I ended up with 40 stitches in my head, so it wasn't too bad, but it was a crazy thing to do, I could have killed myself.

Are there any rituals that you have to go through before a concert?

Penny Fowler, Bath

Yes, I pray to God. I ask him to keep my voice clear, loud and clear and to look after me throughout the concert.

What do your fans use to get your attention?

Jessie Poulter, by e-mail

I think because I've got a loud voice they try to match it. There was one in New York recently that was outrageous, a woman had a wooden carving of a phallic symbol, with an incredibly vulgar suggestion on it.

Has any woman ever said to you: "sorry, love, you're just not my type"?

Bryan Salter, Coventry

Yes.

What's the best (and worst) chat-up line that you've ever heard ?

Hannah Hanson, by e-mail

The best anyone can use is something that makes you feel that the person knows something about you. For me, as a singer, it's like if someone picks up on something that I have recorded that they know that I like, you know "I love the way you sing" a certain thing, or something they know that other people might not. The worst one you could say to me would be "Who the fuck do you think you are!"

When were you last really embarrassed?

Mario Rucola, by e-mail

When I went into a toilet on the motorway, this was in the 1960s, and I was actually in the cubicle sitting down and this girl jumped over the top of the toilet door because someone had told her that I was in there. I was totally shocked, I pushed her out of the door and got the hell out of there. She literally caught me with my trousers down. I've been very careful ever since.

Is your hair your own (especially on your chest)?

Diona Wilson, London EC1

Oh yes.

Why is it that whenever I go nightclubbing in Wales, they always play `Delilah' at the end?

Stuart Wilson, Cardiff

It's become a singalong song, and it's strange really because the story of Delilah is about a woman who is unfaithful and the man stabs her with a knife. It's like the Mary Hopkin song "Those Were the Days", it's got that singalong chorus.

I'm very proud that Welsh people can relate to it, I think there's a connection there because I'm Welsh. I know that many Welsh people are proud of me and I'm delighted that the song is one of mine.

Which artist did you most enjoy working with making `Reload' and why?

Jenny Tribble, Brighton

Cerys Matthews, because she's a natural person and she's Welsh. I only met her last year but it feels like I've known her all my life. You meet people sometimes and you click. We'll definitely work together again.

Do you listen to your own music?

Tyrone Powers, by e-mail

Yes I do. It's to refresh my memory as to what I sounded like when I recorded a certain song. I think my voice has become richer with age and experience. I still sing songs basically the same way, but my voice has dropped a tone, I used to be able to hit a top C with ease, but now I hit B flat. My lower register is much richer, I can hit lower notes better than I could when I was young.

I don't have a particular favourite, but the most important must be "It's Not Unusual" because that song changed my life. It's like night and day, one minute you are singing in a small club, and the next you are all over the world and on television and it was an amazing time. If people come up to me in the street and start singing at me, it's usually "It's Not Unusual" that they start to sing - that always makes my day - so I usually join in.

Do you wake up every day and thank God you're Welsh?

Julia Jennings, by e-mail

Yes.

Questions, Please

DJ AND TV PRESENTER CHRIS TARRANT, AND CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS FOR TV CHEF ANTONY WORRALL THOMPSON

Send your questions to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL (fax: 0171- 293 2182; e-mail: your questions@ independent.co.uk) by noon on Friday. The best question wins a bottle of champagne. Next week: author Tony Parsons

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