Welsh singer and icon Sir Tom Jones has said he was warned early in his career he would not succeed because he was “too macho” and had curly hair.
The Sex Bomb singer became one of the world’s biggest stars, earning plaudits from Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
But the 80-year-old told the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2 to start he was “always getting knocked back”.
“Somebody was saying something like, ‘curly hair doesn’t work any more… and you’re a bit too macho’,” he said.
“I said, ‘sorry about that but that’s the way I am’.”
Sir Tom said he had “always been pushing” since he came from Wales to London.
“They try to change you and mould you and get you to do what’s going on at that time,” he told the show.
“They said that ‘the Elvis Presley style has gone’. I said, ‘not in my mind, not in my heart!’.”
Sir Tom added he was “up against it” with the way he looked, including having a broken nose.
He said he told music bosses: “I was doing great in Wales so I can’t see a big difference between Wales and England.
“We all speak English, so what’s the big deal?”
The Voice coach said his new single No Hole In My Head resonated with his experience.
“This song is telling you that – ‘Don’t try to put things in my head, there’s no hole in my head, don’t try to fill it up with stuff that you want me to do’,” he said.
Sir Tom previously told Jools’ Annual Hootenanny broadcast on New Year’s Eve he had had the coronavirus vaccine, which he described as “fine – it was like getting the flu jab”.
“That’s one good thing about being 80 – you’re first in line for the jab,” he told presenter Jools Holland.