The ‘real’ P J Proby and the link to T J Tom Jones

Nov 2019 The ‘real’ P J Proby and the link to T J Tom Jones

By Ron Tennant

P J versus T J (Jimmy versus Tommy)

Two great 60s male vocalists, who were rivals but also good mates. Some more things friends and rivals, P J and T J did together, after they first met in early 1965.

Final part: more things they did together plus info about some of their mutual pals.

IN ABOUT 1998 P J had finished writing his 500 page auto-biography. Sadly, even now in 2019, it has still not been published. Some publishers insisted it should be made quite a few pages less. Others insisted on certain stories about some show-biz stars being eliminated just in case, later, they did not agree with what P J had written about them.

P J was not really interested in doing these things, but even if he had agreed, probably no deal could or would have been done, mainly because P J was thought to be asking too much money for his book. I think whatever P J asks is thoroughly deserved.

Even the famous Nik Cohn saw P J’s book thanks to me sending Nik the whole 500 pages . P J gave me permission to send the package to his friend and fan Nik, over in New York, USA. But, try as he did, Nik could not find an American publisher to do a deal with P J and his amazing life-story book.

As for T J, many books have been written about him over the years. But for the very first time in 2015 Tom’s one and only official autobiography came out titled: “Over The Top and Back”. This was a best-seller.

It is also 500 pages in length and Tom revisits his past and tells the tale of his journey from wartime Pontypridd in Wales to Los Angeles,USA and beyond. On quite a few pages, P J Proby was written about by Tom, some articles praising P J and some others criticising him.

Once, back in 1967, P J joined T J in his London Palladium dressing room after Tom had done a show there and they shared a big bottle of bourbon (whiskey). As usual they got on very well. When it was time for Tom to go home, his chauffeur was ready to drive him back to Shepperton in Surrey in his Rolls Royce.

So P J was helpfully offered a lift in the Rolls to his own home in Notting Hill, West London. The good vibes between the two great singers continued in Tom’s beautiful car.

At Notting Hill, just before P J stepped out of the Rolls, Tom said: “P J, be careful when you close the door, won’t you?”.

The reason Tom said this was that the blacked-out windows in the back of that Rolls were brittle and you had to be very careful about slamming those doors, because the glass was liable to crack.

“Oh sure!” said P J. He then hauled himself out of the limo and onto the pavement. He leaned back in, a little unsteadily, to offer his final wishes and a good-bye to Tom. P J said: “It was great night Tom, forget all the bullshit. We are the two greatest singers in the world”.

And with that, P J slammed the door, as hard as he could, and the windows cracked. Tom’s angry chauffeur floored the accelerator and drove away before anything else could develop. In his book Tom later said: “Our paths have not crossed since!”.

The two top singers P J and T J both knew Elvis Presley very well at different times in Elvis’ long career. His wife, Priscilla came with her hubby to see Tom Jones onstage in Las Vegas, early in 1968 and they both sat in the front row.

Elvis soon after told Tom that it was watching him onstage in Vegas that gave him the idea and the urge to perform again. Elvis gave Tom many congratulations and soon in 1969 El came back and did some Las Vegas “comeback” shows.

From early in 1962, for almost three years, P J did plenty of demo songs for Elvis, mainly for his movies. Songwriter Ben Weisman and his partner Sid Wayne said to P J that they had heard he could sound exactly like Elvis. Ben said: ”Will you sing some of our El demos?.”

Straight after Ben added this: “My God, you do sound precisely how Elvis does!” So P J sang many, many more Elvis songs. The guy, Stephen Auerbach, who in 2018 produced the CD album “Glen Campbell sings For The King”, is now searching for about 20 or so Elvis demos recorded by P J.

The Wayne family did have hundreds of demos on tape-cassettes in their house in Dallas and quite a few sung by P J had been discovered about five years ago. Now permission is lawfully required from the original owners and the backing singers/musicians before they can possibly be officially released one day. Not easy at all to get done.

Songs done by P J such as “It’s Carnival Time”, ”Marguerita”, “Slowly But Surely”,”Where Is Pappy”, etc., may all possibly come out soon on a CD album called “P JProby sings For The King”, produced by Stephan Auerbach . Fingers crossed that one day this will happen.

The unique and famous English actress/blonde bombshell Diana Dors, in her long movie career,made more than 80 films, plus she appeared regularly on TV and onstage and also made records as well as appearing at clubs doing her cabaret act. In between 1978 and 1984, Diana wrote four best-selling autobiography books.

In the mid 1960s, she admired quite a few of the top male pop singers. P J and T J were two of her faves. Diana first met P J in mid-1964 and went on a few dates with him. Even after their dating was over, P J and D D remained great friends, right until her sad death aged 52, due to cancer, in 1984.

Diana loved holding lots of real big parties in the 1960s and her many, many guests often included Bobby Darin, Bobby Moore, Richard Harris, Sean Connery, Ty Hardin, Troy Dante plus, of course, P J Proby and Tom Jones.

In 1969, P J was doing a big stage show at Drury Lane, London. Diana accompanied P J to the show and she loved the way he performed. Fifteen years after Diana died in 1984, a fab TV documentary about her was made in 1999. It was titled “Arena – A tribute to Diana Dors”, and included were contributions from P J Proby, Michael Winner, Honor Blackman and Anthony Newley.

Cliff Richard is the top British solo male singer of all time. Sir Cliff Richard OBE has sold more than 260 million records world-wide. Cliff truly regrets never meeting Elvis Presley but he has met many other top stars and entertainers, including P J and T J.

Tom was supposed to not really be a fan of Sir Cliff, but I’m not sure if that is a truthful statement or not. Cliff did have many fave vocalists and in the late 1950’s he really was a fan of Elvis plus Buddy Holly. Then, in the mid 1960s, Cliff really liked to hear P J Proby and Tom Jones singing. In mid 1995, Cliff and P J even appeared onstage together at The London Palladium.

Sex Bomb Tom Jones stayed married to his wife Linda for 59 years, from 1957 until her sad death in 2016, due to cancer. But it was rumoured that even though Tom was married for so, so long, he constantly had hundreds and hundreds of girlfriends but he always eventually returned to Linda

P J Proby married for the very first time, aged 23, when he was known as Jett Powers, in 1961, to 17-year-old Marianne Adams. Their marriage only lasted for three years and later P J married more ladies another three or four times.

As we all know, Elvis Presley, just like Tom, only ever married the once. Elvis married Priscilla in 1967 and they divorced in 1973. Last year, 2018, Sir Tom had a couple of dates in Los Angeles with

Priscilla Presley, ex-wife of The King. Tom had met Elvis many times from 1965 until 1973, and of course, Tom was also a real good friend of Priscilla’s.

Right now, in 2019, P J is 80 and T J is 79 and both are still going strong and in great health, plus their singing voices are still special and wonderful. Wouldn’t it be so fantastic if P J and T J could meet up once more, very soon? And wouldn’t it be magic if they could do a show onstage, solo and also duetting? Can any “Beat” magazine writer, reader or advertiser possibly please try to get this arranged?

Let’s hopefully see two legends, P J and T J “together”, once more very soon.

RON TENNANT (Belgium)