4.7 Pop Music [1]

You would probably call him an icon for Welsh music: Tom Jones (Thomas John Woodward)[2] or "Jones the Voice". The son of a miner has been enormously successful worldwide for over 30 years now. He is admired by thousands of fans because of his unique powerful voice and the great energetic performance he gives on stage.

Tom Jones has a very large repertoire, which includes Rock'n'Roll as well as Blues & Country. His stage presence is so powerful and emotional that he captures his audience.

Some of his most famous hits are: "Delilah", "Love me Tonight", "I'll never fall in love again", "A boy from nowhere" and "Kiss". He exercises a magical attraction on women.
"I am a man through and through. Voice, dance and sex become a unity in me." Ava Gardner: "This is the smell of the male animal, brutality and bewitching song". Since 1987 he has celebrated a great comeback with a new style of (Rap, House, Punk, Electronic).

Shirley Bassey [3] grew up in the Tiger Bay dockland area of Cardiff. Her immense popu­larity in the USA led her to settle down there later in her career. She is perhaps most famous for her big hits "Goldfinger" (the title theme of the James Bond film) and "Big Spender".

Mary Hopkin:[4] Especially well known for her world success "Those were the days", which Paul McCartney wrote for her. In 1970 she represented Great Britain in the Euro­vision song contest with the song "Who's There" and came second. In May 1999, after a break of nearly 30 years, she went on tour with the Irish group "The Chieftains" and had a successful comeback.[5]

"Man:[6] "Band from Wales with its heart in San Francisco", has united the whole elite of Welsh rock music. They also play psychedelic music, blues and folk and are well- known for their harmonious group singing.

Dave Edmunds,[7] born in Cardiff in 1944, an expressive singer and guitar player. From 1977 on he and  Nick Low were the "dream couple of Rock'n'Roll". He also had a group of his own called "Love Sculpture".

"Amen Corner" [8] was founded in 1966 by 7 school friends from Cardiff. They at­tracted many teenage fans and had their own TV series. In 1971 five of them formed a new group called "Fairweather", under the leadership of Andy Fairweather-Low.

The probably most successful Welsh band at the moment are the "Manic Street Preachers" [9], four accomplished musicians including Sean Moore on the drums who was the youngest trumpet player in the South Wales Jazz Orchestra.

They started in 1988 under a different name, but it was not until 1998 that they had their greatest triumph with their album "If you tolerate this, your children will be next"[10]  which reached no. 1 in the UK charts.

1999 has been the Manics' most successful year with the winning of the awards for be­ing the Best British Group and for the Best Album ("This is my truth, tell me yours").

"Gorky's Zygotic Mynci" [11] (Welsh phonetic spelling for 'monkey'), all from Car­marthen, started off during their school days in the mid '80s. The drummer of the group, Euros Rowlands, is by the way the son of the bard – and now arch druid -  Dafydd Row­lands whose recitation of poetry is on the enclosed CD. The group's style of playing shows a very individual mixture of progressive rock, psychedelic and pure pop, and folk.

The indie pop group "Catatonia" [12] was formed in 1992/93. With Carys Mathews as the band's lead singer they reached their first great triumph when their album "Mulder and Scully" reached no. 3 in the UK charts in 1998. From then on their career made progress rapidly with 2 albums reaching no.1 in the charts. They are played frequently on MTV.

In the last few years Catatonia have become extremely successful and have even been on tour in Australia and New Zealand. The band's success is mainly due to Cery's extraor­dinary voice although she never had singing lessons. She has even performed with no one less than Tom Jones. The "Western Mail" wrote that she combines "all the best stereo­types of Wales: passion, gutsy vocals and a presence that cannot be equalled by any other nation".[13]

The success career of the "Stereophonics"[14] started in 1996 when they went on tours with other, more famous bands such as the "Manic Street Preachers" or "The Who". In 1997 they recorded their debut album that reached no. 6 in the charts and in 1998 even went gold in the UK. The UK tour  that followed was sold out and the New Musical Ex­press called them the "Princes of Wales". Their success has continued all over the world, especially in France, Australia and Japan.

In 1999 the group achieved a number one hit with the album "Performance and Cock­tails". They also managed to stage the biggest ever concert by Welsh musicians at Swan­sea's Morfa Stadium. They have a vast number of fans, whose pride in the band's Welsh heritage can be seen in the "uniform" they like to wear at concerts – the Welsh flag.

Other popular groups are "Super Furry Animals" (who, together with the "Manic Street Preachers", head the list of popular Welsh groups at present), "Cwlwm", "Eden" and "Epik" (earlier known as “Section Five”) whose members consist of senior pupils at Milford Haven comprehensive school in Pembrokeshire.


[1] cf. recordings on the enclosed CD
[2]
das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998; record cover, http://www.kensai.com/personal/tomjones/biography.htm 
[3]
cf. recording on enclosed CD
[4]
das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1990, p. 364
[5]
cf. Western Mail, 21-04-1999
[6]
das neue rocklexikon vol.2, 1998, p. 568
[7]
das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998, p. 297-298
[8]
das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998, p. 51-52
[9]
cf. Western Mail, 10-04 and 19-04-1999; http://www.manics.co.uk/manics/band/history 
[10]
Listen to it on the enclosed CD!
[11]
cf. http://www.ubl.com/ubl_artist.asp?artistid=3701&p_id=P+++182746 
[12]
cf. Western Mail, 01-03 an 03-03 and 02-04-1999;
    
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~durandal/catatonia/biog.htm
 
[13] Western Mail, 02-04-1999
[14]
cf. Western Mail, 10-04 and 02-08-1999; http://www.stereophonics.co.uk/biography/display.html

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