Tiny Desk

Tom Jones

Sir Tom Jones, a full-throated legend among legends, wasn't an obvious choice for a Tiny Desk concert. When we began the series last year, the goal was to bring in quieter, more intimate artists (Laura Gibson, Vic Chesnutt) who are often drowned out by the clinking glasses and chatter of the small clubs they usually play. When a publicist for Tom Jones contacted us and said the singer wanted to do a "Big Desk Concert" for us, the thought of Jones' rather substantial voice filling our office left us laughing... and dying to do it.

Tom Jones has done it all. He's sung pop, rock, show tunes, country, dance and techno. He's played every kind of venue, from the biggest stages in Vegas to, well, the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. Now, more than 40 years after releasing his first album (What's New Pussycat?), Jones is looking to play for a different audience. He's currently touring the U.S. in support of his latest album, 24 Hours, playing smaller clubs and giving more intimate performances. His schedule recently brought him to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and he stopped by our offices before the show.

Our wing of NPR was packed with employees, friends and family when Jones showed up, everyone craning to get a good look. He took time to have his picture taken, repeatedly, and sign autographs. He was the consummate gentleman and utterly charming. At one point, Bob asked Jones whether he'd ever had an office job before. "No," Jones replied. "It makes me nervous just standing here."

It's hard to overstate how amazing it felt to sit next to Tom Jones as he belted out a handful of tunes for us. You could tell that everyone in the room was just in love with him. I don't think you had to be a fan of his music to appreciate what an incredibly gifted performer he his. We're grateful he took the time for this little show, and hope this video gives you an idea of how memorable it was for those lucky enough to be here.

For his tour, Jones is playing with a full band. But for the Tiny Desk set, he performed with Brian Monroney, his musical director since 1996 and a masterful guitarist.

SETLIST

  • "If He Should Ever Leave You"
  • "Green Green Grass Of Home"
  • "We Got Love"
  • "End Of The Road"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Julia Jacklin performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 1, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Julia Jacklin

A restrained, whisper-soft Tiny Desk concert from Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin with songs taken from her debut album Don't Let The Kids Win.

Troker performs at Tiny Desk Concert on April 5, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero /NPR

Tiny Desk

Troker

Mexico may not be known for its jazz, but the young lions of Troker are a promising hope to make the country and its capital city a destination.

Tim Darcy performs at Tiny Desk Concert on April 21, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tim Darcy

Tim Darcy of Montreal band Ought brings his mysterious solo work, from the album Saturday Night, to the Tiny Desk. The record he says, was his chance to "get back to my roots, in my own voice."

Danilo Brito performs a Tiny Desk concert on April 10, 2017. (Ariel Zambelich/NPR) Ariel Zambelich/NPE hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPE

Tiny Desk

Danilo Brito

Danilo Brito and his band brought their dextrous expression of choro music to the Tiny Desk, a long-established musical style that has its roots in the streets and backyards of Brito's native Brazil.

Aimee Mann performs at Tiny Desk Concert on Apr. 20, 2017 (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero /NPR

Tiny Desk

Aimee Mann

"This song is called 'You Never Loved Me' — it's another cheery, optimistic number," says Aimee Mann, introducing the second of four songs in this Tiny Desk Concert.

Peter Silberman performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Apr. 7, 2017. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Peter Silberman

A strange condition hushed the life of Peter Silberman, resulting in what may be the quietest Tiny Desk Concert ever.

Antonio Lizana performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 25, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Antonio Lizana

The traditions of flamenco and jazz are disparate, but in the hands of a few Spanish jazz musicians, these two worlds commingle and find common ground.

Chicano Batman performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar., 30, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman comes with a sound that perfectly captures dark lounges, quinceñera dances, car shows and backyard parties.

Ljova & Kontraband perform at Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 13th 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ljova And The Kontraband

Composer, arranger and viola player Ljova lead his Kontraband to the Tiny Desk for an eclectic swirl of Western classical, jazz, tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music.

Back To Top