It's Not Unusual

"It's Not Unusual"
Single by Tom Jones
from the album Along Came Jones (It's Not Unusual)
B-side "To Wait for Love" (Bacharach-David)
Released January 1965 (UK)
March 1965 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded 11 November 1964, Decca Studios, West Hampstead
Genre Pop
Length 2:03
Producer(s) Peter Sullivan[1]
Tom Jones singles chronology
"Chills and Fever"
"It's Not Unusual"
"Once Upon a Time"

"It's Not Unusual" is a song written by Les Reed and Gordon Mills, first recorded by a then-unknown Tom Jones,[2] after having first been offered to Sandie Shaw.[1] Jones recorded what was intended to be a demo for Shaw, but when she heard it she was so impressed with Jones' delivery that she declined the song and recommended that Jones release it himself. The record was the second Decca single Jones released,[3] reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1965.[4][5] It was also the first hit for Jones in the US, peaking at No. 10 in May of that year. The single was released in the US on the Parrot label and also reached #3 on Billboard's easy listening chart. The BBC initially refused to play the song because of Jones’ sexy image, but it was played by UK pirate radio. Jones would perform the song several times on The Ed Sullivan Show in the US, first on 2 May 1965, then again on 13 June 1965. He would sing the song again on the show when he returned on 21 April 1968.[6]

Jones later used this song as the theme for his late 1960s-early 1970s television musical variety series This Is Tom Jones. It has since become Jones' signature song.

In the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, on several occasions Carlton Banks lipsynchs to "It's Not Unusual" with hilarious choreography. Tom Jones also guest starred on the show a few times.

The first studio version of the song was subsequently released in 1995 as part of the compilatory album The Legendary Tom Jones - 30th Anniversary Album.

Musical arrangement and recording

The musical arranger was Les Reed. Although the guitar has been cited as having been provided by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Reed has stated that the only guitarist was Joe Moretti, who is known for his playing on "Shakin' All Over" and "Brand New Cadillac". Page does list the session in his online discography, however.[7] Drums were played by Scottish percussionist Andy White, who had previously drummed for The Beatles.[8] or possibly by or Ronnie Verrell,[9] although a claim has also been made by Alan Grahame.[10]

Jones's group "Tom Jones and the Squires" were missing their regular keyboard player for the session. Drummer Chris Slade ran across the street to La Giaconda coffee house, and the then-unknown Reginald Dwight (later to adopt the stage name Elton John) was recruited for the one-day recording session.[11]


As was standard practice in the 1960s, session musicians were used instead of Jones' regular backing band. There are conflicting reports about who actually played on the record, but the most likely candidates are:[9]

Cover versions


  1. 1 2 3 4 Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 89. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. Time Inc (18 September 1970). LIFE. Time Inc. pp. 54–. ISSN 00243019(Warning: Check ISSN).
  3. Ray Broadus Browne; Pat Browne (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. pp. 448–. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2.
  4. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. Colin Larkin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. pp. 488–. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  6. "Tom Jones - Ed Sullivan Show". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  7. "Sessions". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  8. "Scots percussionist paid fiver for playing drums on Beatles' debut single Love Me Do". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  9. 1 2 Thompson 2008.
  10. "BBC - Session musician tells of working with Tom Jones". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  11. Slade, Chris. "Drummer". AC/DC Drummer Chris Slade - His Career. HauntedSaloon. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  12. 'Song of the Week #109 - "It's Not Unusual"' Classic Pop Icons. June 4, 2012
  13. Mark Ribowsky (2010). The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal. Da Capo Press. pp. 329–. ISBN 0-306-81873-6.
  14. Mark Bego (15 July 2004). Cher: If You Believe. Taylor Trade Publishing. pp. 292–. ISBN 978-1-4616-2592-6.


Preceded by
"I'll Never Find Another You" by The Seekers
UK number-one single
11 March 1965 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones
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