Tom Jones – Delilah + Smile (1968)

FrontCover1I have to reduce my singles collection::

Tom Jones is one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. From the mid-’60s on, Jones has sung nearly every form of popular music — from pop, rock, show tunes, and country to dance, techno, and more — while his vocal style, a full-throated, robust baritone with little regard for nuance or subtlety, remained a swaggering constant. Mid-’60s songs like “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat” registered on the charts, as did inimitable readings of country classics such as “Green, Green Grass of Home” later in the decade.

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As his career rolled along, Jones became a favorite in Las Vegas, had a hit with an Art of Noise-produced cover of Prince’s “Kiss” in 1988, and released albums that ranged from the slick dance-pop of 1994’s The Lead and How to Swing It to 2010’s Praise & Blame, a collection of covers that paved the way for a string of releases that found Jones digging into the modern American Songbook. His taste for exploration led him to cover songs by relatively obscure artists like Billy Joe Shaver and the Milk Carton Kids, while 2021’s Surrounded by Time showed the influence of Radiohead. No matter the style or song, Jones’ powerful, one-of-a-kind voice is instantly recognizable and his passion for performing has never dimmed. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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And here is one of his biggest hit singles, the song “Delilah” became his trademark:

A “Delilah” is a song recorded by Welsh singer Tom Jones in December 1967. The lyrics were written by Barry Mason, and the music by Les Reed, who also contributed the title and theme of the song. It earned Reed and Mason the 1968 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

Although the song is a soulful number set in triple metre, the underlying genre may be considered to be a power ballad, rising to a pitch of A4 on the final note. Produced by Peter Sullivan, Jones’ version features a big-band accompaniment set to a flamenco rhythm. Flamenco was a surprising choice, since there is no reference to Spain anywhere in the song. There are similarities to the plot of the opera Carmen by French composer Georges Bizet, in which the soldier, Don José, stabs gypsy girl, Carmen, to death when she tells him she is leaving him for another man.

The Spain single:
Spain Single

The song tells the story of a man who passes his girlfriend’s window and sees her inside making love to another man. He waits outside all night, and then confronts her in the morning, only to have her laugh in his face. He stabs her to death, and then waits for the police to come break down the door and arrest him. The lyrics unfold from the killer’s point of view, and are filled with his, often contradictory, emotions. He speaks of Delilah in possessive terms, but also refers to himself as her “slave.” He asks his dead girlfriend to “forgive” him, but still clearly sees himself as having been wronged by her.

UK FrontCover

When Jones performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show, in 1968 the censors (unsuccessfully) attempted to insist that the line “At break of day when the man drove away” be changed to “At break of day I was still ‘cross the way”, as the original version implied he had spent the night with Delilah. Jones later described the proposed change as “such bullshit”.

In a two-year court case in the High Court of Justice, 1983 -M- No.1566, Barry Mason’s ex-wife Sylvan Whittingham, the daughter of Bond film Thunderball screenwriter, Jack Whittingham, claimed she had written half the lyrics of “Delilah” and several other songs. The legal battle was settled out of court in 1986.

Tom Jones’ recording reached No. 1 in the charts of several countries, including Germany and Switzerland. It reached No 2 in the British charts in March 1968 and was the sixth-best selling single of that year. The US Billboard chart records its highest position as 15. (wikipedia)

The B-side (not as good as “Delilah”) was a non-LP track at the time.

The single from Belgium:
Belgium Single

Tom Jones (vocals)
unknown orchestra conducted by Les Reed

The single from Italy:
Italy Single1

01. Delilah (Mason/Reed) 3.24
02. Smile (Mills) 2.19



I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
I saw the flickering shadows of love on her blind
She was my woman
As she deceived me, I watched and went out of my mind

My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah

I could see, that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free
At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah

So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn’t take anymore
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me, Delilah, I just couldn’t take anymore

More from Tom Jones:

The official website:

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