Tom Jones

It's Not Unusual

Composed by Gordon Mills / Les Reed

Song Review by

Gordon Mills, a British songwriter, penned "I'm the Lonely One," which Cliff Richard, England's biggest pop singer, took into the U.K. Top Ten in early 1964. For most of that year, the British and American charts were dominated by records from long-haired English beat groups, and it seemed that the kind of mainstream pop represented by professionals like Mills was on the wane. By the fall, however, the pros were starting to adapt. Sandie Shaw topped the British charts in October with Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," and "Petula Clark" did almost as well with Tony Hatch's "Downtown" at the end of the year; these were songs that adopted the peppy energy of Merseybeat while hewing to a more middle-of-the-road sound. Mills, meanwhile, had found an unknown 24-year-old Welsh singer with a big voice and persuaded him to move to London, where he began to manage Thomas Woodward, re-christened Tom Jones. Mills and Les Reed had written "It's Not Unusual" in the sparkly, up-tempo style of "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" and "Downtown," and they envisioned it as a single for Sandie Shaw. When Jones heard it, however, he insisted it was his ticket to stardom, and, of course, he was right. Signed to Decca Records, he recorded the song in an exuberant style that belied the somewhat downcast lyrics, abetted by a quick-paced, horn-filled arrangement. Supposedly, the BBC found the result too hot when the single came out in early 1965, but that didn't keep "It's Not Unusual" from topping the British charts in March, and a subsequent American release took it into the U.S. Top Ten in May. Along with the success of Petula Clark, Tom Jones' stateside breakthrough demonstrated that the British Invasion didn't have to mean moptopped types with guitars who sang their own compositions; it could also mean a bridge across the Atlantic for a new generation of mainstream pop artists. Jones went on to win the 1965 Grammy Award for best new artist, and "It's Not Unusual" became a much-recorded standard, cut by such traditional pop vocalists as Vic Damone as well as R&B performers like the Impressions and the Four Tops (whose lead singer Levi Stubbs must have wished he'd gotten to it first). But none of the covers have stolen it from Tom Jones, for whom it is his signature song, one he was still singing with his characteristic gusto 35 years after first recording it.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Live in Las Vegas 1969 Polygram
Live at Caesar's Palace 1971 Laserlight
No Image 1973 Deram / London
No Image 1975 Tele House
The Golden Hits [Deram] 1980 Deram / Decca / PolyGram 2:03
It's Not Unusual [Decca] 1987 Decca 2:06
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 5 1988
Various Artists
Rhino 2:03
The Best of Tom Jones [Decca] 1988 Universal Distribution 2:01
No Image 1991 Jive
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Rhino
The Complete Tom Jones 1993 London 2:00
Best Sixties Album in the World Ever 1995
Various Artists
Alex 1:59
No Image 1995
Various Artists
La Mejor Musica
Their Gretest Hits 1996 2:02
Flipper 1996
Original Soundtrack
Track Factory Records (MCA) 1:59
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [1996] 1996
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:59
The Best of Tom Jones [Polygram] 1998 Polydor / Polygram 2:00
Hit Singles 1998 BR Music 2:02
Little Voice 1998
Original Soundtrack
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:00
Most Beautiful Melodies of the Century: Unforgettable 1999
Various Artists
Universal
Soundtracks of Love: Love Is in the Air 1999
Various Artists
Unison 1:59
With Love [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 1:59
From Las Vegas to London: The Best of Tom Jones Live 1999 Spectrum Music / Universal Distribution 2:30
Frosh, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Universal/Polygram 1:59
Millennium Edition 2000 Universal International 2:02
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Tom Jones 2000 Polydor / Universal Music 1:59
Agnes Browne 2000
Original Soundtrack
Decca / Polygram 2:01
The  Collection [Universal] 2000 Universal/Spectrum 2:02
Music of the Year: 1965 2000
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:02
No Image 2000 Polystar (Japan)
Instant Party: Blow-Out! 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:00
Lifetime Music Presents: Weddings of a Lifetime 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:01
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 1:59
Groovy 60's 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 1:59
Party Explosion!!! 2001
Various Artists
Sony/Columbia 1:58
Viva Las Vegas [Universal International] 2002
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 1:59
Something Swingin' 2002
Various Artists
WSM
Party in Park: London 1998 2002
Various Artists
Mawa
Singles Plus 2002 Import 1:58
Ultra-Lounge: Vegas Baby! 2002
Various Artists
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 1:58
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Best of Las Vegas 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 2:01
Sixties Jukebox Classics 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 1:58
Greatest Love Songs [Hip-O] 2003 Hip-O 2:01
Greatest Hits [Universal] 2003 Decca 1:58
Live from Las Vegas [2003] 2003
Various Artists
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:06
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 1:58
Simply the Best 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music
The Definitive Tom Jones 1964-2002 [Box Set] 2003 Universal International 2:01
Live at Cardiff Castle 2004 Image Entertainment
British Invasion: 1963-1967 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:00
Best of Nat, Matt, Dean and Friends, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:00
Will & Grace: Let the Music Out! 2004
Original TV Soundtrack
BMG Heritage 1:59
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 1:58
Gold (1965 - 1975) 2005 Hip-O/Deram 2:00
The Collection [Reader's Digest] 2005 Reader's Digest Music 2:01
Music for Mum 2005
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:01
Your Song Premium 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Beer Time!: Music for Your Happy & Relaxing Holidays 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
The Essential Collection [Universal] 2005 Universal Distribution 2:02
20 UK No. 1's from the 60s 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:01
Chronicles 2005 Polydor/Decca 2:00
No Image 2005 Madacy Distribution
The Matador [Soundtrack] 2006
Original Soundtrack
Superb Records 2:00
Best and Friends in the World Ever, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Colour Collection 2006 Universal Distribution 2:02
Green Green Grass of Home [DVD] 2006 Musicpro / Universal
20th Century Masters: All Time Favourites, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 2:02
Gold: British Invasion 2006
Various Artists
Chron Reissues / Hip-O 2:00
Greatest Ever! Party: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:00
Party: 3-CD Box Set 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 2:00
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 1:59
Love Collection 2007 UMVD 1:59
The British Beat: Best of the '60s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory/TJL 2:00
Icons 2007 Universal Distribution / Universal Pte. Ltd. 2:00
Silver Collection 2007 Universal Distribution 2:03
Top Of The Pops 1965 2007
Various Artists
BBC Music / EMI 2:03
No Image 2007 Universal Distribution 1:59
The Best of Tom Jones: Green Series 2008 Strategic Marketing / Universal International 2:02
Greatest Ever Dad: The Definitive Collection 2008
Various Artists
Union Square 2:00
Top of the Pops Collection [43 CD] 2008
Various Artists
EMI
Feeling Good: The Ultimate Collection 2008
Various Artists
Ultimate 2:01
100 Hits: Girls Night 2008
Various Artists
DMG 100 2:00
Foute CD Van Q-Music, Vol. 4 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:00
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI 2:01
Ultimate Collection: Dad 2009
Various Artists
Ultimate 2:01
Greatest Hits Rediscovered [UK Version] 2010 Island / Universal 1:59
Pop Memories of the 60s [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:02
Mad Men: A Musical Companion (1960-1965) 2011
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal 1:59
Greatest Ever! Pop: The Definitive Collection 2011
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:01
The Ultimate Collection: 60s - 100 Hits 2011
Various Artists
Ultimate / Ultimate Collection 2:02
BBC Radio 2's Pick of the Pops 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:01
Class Acts of the Vegas Strip 2011
Various Artists
Starbucks
No Image 2012 Decca
Now That's What I Call Britain 2012
Various Artists
Decca / EMI 2:00
Classic Love Songs of the '60s: Sealed With a Kiss 2013
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:01
Romancing the '60s [Time] 2013
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 2:01
Greatest Ever! Sixties Pop 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:00
The Ultimate Collection: Party Classics 2013
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection 1:59
Icon 2013 Universal 1:59
Ultimate Collection: 60s Classics 2014
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / Union Square / Universal 2:00
The  Ultimate Collection: Driving Songs 2014
Various Artists
Union Square / Universal 1:59
Now That's What I Call Legends 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 2:01
Silver Linings 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV
The Solid Silver '60s: Greatest Hits 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 1:59
When Cool Was King 2015
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 1:58
Greatest Ever 60s Party 2015
Various Artists
USM Media
100 Essential 60's
Various Artists
Universal 2:02
20, No 1's: Lounge Classics
Various Artists
Hip-O 1:59
Best of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 6
Various Artists
Polygram
Classic Party
Various Artists
Virgin EMI 2:00
Classic Pop [2015]
Various Artists
Universal
De Pre Historie: 1965, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 2:01
First Dates: The Album
Various Artists
Decca 2:00
Greatest Ever Number Ones
Various Artists
Greatest Ever
Happy & Glorious
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:17
Hits of 65+66, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Polydor
Legendary Voices
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 1:59
No Image
Various Artists
Universal / Universal India Ltd. 2:01
Love 80's
Various Artists
Universal 2:00
Now That's What I Call a Singer
Various Artists
Sony Music 1:59
Office Party: Work Hard, Party Harder!
Various Artists
Made II Measure
Party! [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music 2:01
Road Trip: 60 Essential Driving Songs
Various Artists
Union Square Music 1:59
Rockwell: A Night of Legendary Collaborations
Various Artists
Intergroove / Masterpieces / Midnight Releasing
Romancing the '60s: Sealed with a Kiss
Various Artists
StarVista 2:01
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Summer: Ultimate Collection
Various Artists
Ultimate
The  Hits That Rocked the Airwaves
Various Artists
Universal 2:01
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:00
The Sixties Album: The Album of the Decade
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 2:15
The Ultimate Collection: Number 1s
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:00
Tom Jones [Jive/Novus] Laserlight
Top of the Pops: 1964-1969
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:15
Total Hits, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Universal 1:59
True Party
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:00
Ultimate Hit Collection London / London
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
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