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

Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ben Folds

Performing solo, Folds performs three songs from his new album and two old favorites.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chelsea Wolfe. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chelsea Wolfe

Wolfe takes three songs from the metallic Abyss and makes them howl by their lonesome.

Tiny Desk Concert with Car Seat Headrest. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo is a wordsmith with a vision, as well as a DIY sound that's still finely crafted.

Tiny Desk Concert with EL VY. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

EL VY

The National's Matt Berninger and Menomena's Brent Knopf team up in an intimate setting.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Arcs. Jessica Mowery/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jessica Mowery/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Arcs

It's our 500th show at the Tiny Desk, featuring The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and his new band.

Tiny Desk Concert with Wolf Alice. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

Wolf Alice

The band's music can be noisy and primal, but at the Tiny Desk it showed a different side.

Tiny Desk Concert with River Whyless. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

River Whyless

The North Carolina band fills its rootsy music with unexpected instruments and clever ideas.

Tiny Desk Concert with Benny Sings. Morgan Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Morgan Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Benny Sings

The Dutch singer layers R&B, jazz and pop over hip-hop beats in his first-ever U.S. appearance.

Tiny Desk Concert with Natalie Merchant Jun Tsuboike /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike /NPR

Tiny Desk

Natalie Merchant

The singer-songwriter gives a warmhearted performance of two new songs, an old favorite and a hymn.

Tiny Desk Concert with Mariachi Flor De Toloache Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Mariachi Flor De Toloache

While on tour with The Arcs, the powerhouse mariachi band performs live in the NPR Music offices.

Back To Top