Tom Jones and Aretha Franklin Show How It’s Done

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Tom Jones and Aretha Franklin in an episode of This Is Tom Jones that aired on October 9, 1970

The This Is Tom Jones variety series which ran in the U.S. from 1969-1971. The show grabbed a youthful audience eager to see rock stars such as The Who, Joe Cocker, Donovan and the Hollies, while their parents enjoyed guests like Paul Anka, Robert Goulet and Bob Hope.

Jones, who hails from Wales, was a huge star at the time with a string of hits from 1965’s “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New, Pussycat?” through 1966’s “Green, Green Grass of Home” and 1967’s “Delilah.” In 1969, he was just 29 and at his commercial peak.

We’ve also featured clips from This Is Tom Jones where the host performs with Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

On an episode that aired on October 9, 1970, Jones was joined by Bob Hope and the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. As the segment starts with Franklin behind the piano, Jones asks: “What should we talk about?” Franklin’s answer: “I don’t know, but the more we talk, the less time we have to sing.”

Watch the complete This Is Tom Jones performance, as the camera pulls back, revealing a big production number for a duet of her 1968 hit “See Saw.” The final three minutes put Franklin back behind the piano as the pair sing her then-current single, “Spirit in the Dark.”

Franklin earned 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 #1 R&B singles. Among her most memorable recordings are such ’60s hits as “Respect,” “Think” and “Chain of Fools.” Two decades later, she enjoyed a resurgence with songs like “Freeway of Love” and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who.” And along the way, she earned just about every accolade and award imaginable including 17 Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Franklin was born on March 25, 1942.

Related: Our obituary for Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Jones, who turned 79 on June 7, 2019, returned to the top of the pop charts in 2000 with the hit “Sex Bomb.” He still tours regularly; when he does, tickets are available here and here.

Related: Our review of a Tom Jones concert in 2016

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