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Island VP lashes out at new Tom Jones album, to be released by Island

By | Published on Monday 5 July 2010

I’m a bit confused, perhaps you can help me. How exactly does Island Records Senior VP David Sharpe feel about the new Tom Jones album, the first since his record company signed up the legendary crooner to a multi-million pound deal. You see, it’s not at all clear how he feels from this email he seemingly sent around his team last week.

“Imagine my surprise”, he told his staff, “when I walked into the office this morning to hear hymns coming from your office – it could have been Sunday morning. My initial pleasure came to an abrupt halt when I realised that Tom Jones was singing the hymns! I have just listened to the album in its entirety and want to know if this is some sick joke?”

He continued: “We did not invest a fortune in an established artist for him to deliver twelve tracks from the common book of prayer. Having lured him from EMI, the deal was that you would deliver a record of upbeat tracks along the lines of ‘Sex Bomb’ and ‘Mama Told Me’. As venerable and interesting as Tom’s story is, this is not what was agreed and certainly not what we paid for. Who put him with a ‘folk’ producer and who authorised that he should go off on this tangent…?”

He concluded: “Please don’t give me the art over commerce argument, it’s run its course… what are you thinking when he went all spiritual?”

As I say, really hard to work out what Dave thinks.

The Sunday Times asked Jones’ manager for a response to the internal email penned by a senior player at his client’s new record company, but the singer’s rep said he was previously unaware of the memo so couldn’t really comment, though he added “it’s certainly very direct”.

Meanwhile, Sharpe was quoted in some Sunday papers this weekend explaining his mini-rant thus: “Parts of this record company wanted to deliver an album for the typical Tom Jones fan and I don’t know if that is what we got. Shall we say we’ve paid for a Mercedes – we’ve got the hearse that’s arrived”.

I wonder what the atmosphere is like at Island towers this morning. Bet the press team are really looking forward to having Tom in for interviews and such like. Meanwhile, the rest of you will have to wait until the end of the month to buy Island’s hottest priority release of the summer, Tom Jones’s ‘Praise & Blame’.