Speaking about his early days in the music industry, Tom Jones says he was “thrown off” after meeting his first gay person.
In an interview with The Big Issue, he confesses that he once held prejudices against gay men — even when it came to Joe Meek, his first producer.
In fact, he claims to have strongly considered going back to Cardiff after meeting his first gay person: “I was ready for most aspects of the music industry but, when I met [Meek], that threw me off a bit, because he was homosexual. I thought: ‘Wait a minute, is the London scene – the people who run British show business – are there a lot of homosexuals involved here? Because, if so, I’m going back to Cardiff.”
Jones says he became “paranoid” about gay people in general, suspecting that most people in the industry were homosexuals.
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He once said to his manager Peter Sullivan: “You’re not one of those queer fellows, are you?”
Soon enough after moving to London, he says he discovered that “most people were normal.”
“I shouldn’t put it like that,” he says. “Homosexuals are normal. It’s not that they’re not normal. It’s just that they are what they are.”
UPDATE: Remember that this was a time when homosexuality was still a criminal activity in Great Britain and his attitudes reflect his upbringing in conservative Cardiff. The singer just tweeted a response to criticism:
Context! The story is about knowledge/attitudes in the 50s & 60s. it's called History!
— Tom Jones (@RealSirTomJones) October 22, 2015