It's Not Unusual

Album: Along Came Jones (1965)
Charted: 1 10
Play Video


  • This swinging song is a classic case of lyrical dissonance, as Jones sings about the devastating pain of seeing what used to be his girl out with another guy. "I wanna die," he proclaims, in contrast to the jaunty tune.
  • Drenched in horns, "It's Not Unusual" was the first hit for Tom Jones, leading to a horn sound on many of his subsequent songs, including "Thunderball" and "What's New Pussycat?"
  • This was written by the classical music arranger and conductor Les Reed along with Tom Jones' manager Gordon Mills. They wrote it for the British singer Sandie Shaw, but she turned it down. Tom Jones saw the song's potential, recorded it, and it became his first hit single.

    Jones recalled to The Mail On Sunday February 6, 2011: "I did the demo on this song when it was being offered to Sandie Shaw. I was just starting out and, God bless her, she said: 'Whoever's singing this, it's his song.' Finding great new songs is never easy, and back in those days, finding one that would fit me – the way I felt and sang anyway – was difficult. I'm indebted to Sandie for being so generous."
  • Tom Jones' real name is Thomas Jones Woodward. He was spotted supporting Mandy Rice-Davies by the manager Gordon Mills who suggested the name Tom Jones and secured him a deal with Decca. After a succession of hit singles in the UK and US he moved to California in 1969, performing regularly in Las Vegas.
  • Tom Jones told the Observer Music Monthly December 2008 that first version he recorded wasn't anything special: "Then my producer Peter Sullivan said: 'You've got a big voice. Nice is not enough. You are not nice!' As a result, the song jumped out of the speakers and became a hit."
  • Jones recorded this song with many of the top British session musicians of the time. Vic Flick, who played guitar on the track, told us: "Tom had a goal in life and nothing was going to stop him. He is a great singer and all round good performer - lots of stage presence. His recordings were always good to work on. Great songs, very good arrangements and always a great band."
  • Will Smith was the star of the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran from 1990-1996, but one of the most memorable bits involved his co-star, Alfonso Ribeiro, who played the rhythmically challenged Carlton. Ribeiro would do the wildly entertaining "Carlton Dance" to "It's Not Unusual," and in one episode, Jones appears as his guardian angel and the pair duet on the song, altering the lyrics to form the dialogue.

    Ribeiro was actually an excellent dancer - he won Dancing with the Stars in 2014. During one routine, he and his partner Witney Carson danced to "It's Not Unusual" in a routine that incorporated the Carlton Dance.

Comments: 18

  • Bords from Mactan, Lapu-lapu CityIt's not a unicorn, It's an elephant!
    -John Lennon mocking Tom Jones
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer:
    Tom Jones' wife of 59 years, Melinda 'Linda' Rose, died Sunday (April 10th, 2016) in a Los Angeles hospital after a 'short but fierce' battle with cancer, she was 75...
    Tom had cancelled his Asian tour on April 2 to be by her side (though his management denied at the time that she was the reason). The two were married in Wales when they were both 16. Their son serves now as Tom's manager...
    May she R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 3rd 1965, Tom Jones performed "With These Hands" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was in its second of two weeks at #27 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and that was also its peak position on the chart...
    It made the Top 10 in Canada, when a day later on October 4th it peaked at #5 on the RPM Singles chart...
    During the year of 1965 Mr. Jones appeared on the 'Sullivan' show on four different occasions; first on May 2nd {"It's Not Unusual"}, then June 13th {"It's Not Unusual" again & "Watcha Gonna Do?}, this one, and finally on December 5th {"Thunderball"}.
  • Eric from MnI saw Jimmy Page play lead guitar in this song with Jones on a show recorded live in the UK (?) back in the 60's . Jones had a good show but after watching Page play you were saying Tom Who??? The performance keeps getting pulled from the net but I was lucky enough to see it live. I wish I could post it for all of you.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 13th 1965, Tom Jones performed "It's Not Unusual" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    (See the next two posts below)...
    Info for all three posts were from
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 2nd 1965, Tom Jones performed "It's Not Unusual" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    And on the same 'Sullivan' show the Rolling Stones performed "The Last Time"...
    "It's Not Unusual" peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom on March 11th, 1963; and after one week in the top spot it was "The Last Time" that replaced it at #1, the Stones remained there for four weeks...
    R.I.P. Brian Jones (1942 - 1969) and Sir Thomas, born Thomas Jones Woodward, will celebrate his 74th birthday next month on June 7th, 2014.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 21st 1968, Tom Jones performed "It's Not Unusual" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Three years earlier on April 4th, 1965 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on May 23rd it peaked at #10 (for 2 weeks) and it spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on March 11th, 1965 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart and it peaked at #5 in Canada...
    It was his debut record on the Top 100; and the week it peaked at #10 his second charted record, "Little Lonely One", entered the Top 100 at position #89...
    R.I.P. Mr. Sullivan (1901 - 1974) and Mr. Jones, born Thomas Jones Woodward, will celebrate his 74th birthday in less than two months on June 7th.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhMy mom was a big Tom Jones fan. We watched his TV show, "This is Tom Jones". We had the 45 of this single. This is a great song, fun to sing along with and lyrics many can relate to: "love will never do, what you want it to...why can't this crazy love be mine?" ...Whoa-oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! The sentiment expressed seems to be a guy who, tho somewhat frustrated with love, seems to be taking it all in stride, as the tune is upbeat. The instruments in the background do a great job highlighting the emotional content of the song.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiTom was Carlton's Guardian Angel,and what it would be like if Carlton wasn't even born,Hilary does her hair and Ashley Dances,and the dad paints.Carlton sung it's not unusual. Johnny bravo,on the episode The Boy who cried,"Clown" Bunny Bravo was dreaming about her and Tom Jones in a jacuzzi in an airplane.
  • Paul from London, United KingdomWhilst this song was indeed written for Sandie Shaw in mind, it was Tom who sang on the 'demo' which was rejected by her manager, Eve Taylor.

    After that, it was rejected by Frankie Vaughan, before Tom re-recorded the hit version we know today.

    Originally, the BBC wouldn't play it, claiming it was 'too raunchy', so it was left to the 'Pirate' radio stations to eventually make the record a success.
  • Nunzio from Darwin, AustraliaTom Jones once recorded a Coca-cola jingle using this song. It's on the Things Go Better With Coke CD
  • Ross from Brainard, NeThis song is used several times in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It usually is played as Carlton dances to it like an idiot in a humorous manner.
  • Bones from New Plymouth, New ZealandMr Burns kidnapped him
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnI remember the Simpsons episode with Tom Jones. Mr. Burns was in love with Marge so he sent Tom to sing to her.
  • Anthony from Las Palmas, SpainYes,Marlon.
    Jimmy Page played the guitar and Chris Slade(ac/dc/,etc) played the Drums.Around that time they were studio players.
  • Marlon from Nyc, NyI think i heard somewhere Jimmy Page played guitar on this.
  • Enrique from Lima, PeruThis song also appears in the movie "MARS ATTACKS" in a funny scene where some of the musicians and singers are replaced by martians.
  • Stephen from Brisbane, AustraliaThis song was used when Tom Jones was in an episode of the Simpsons.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.