Tom Jones has been embroiled in scandal after a leaked email from a seething record label executive described the singer's spiritual new album as a "sick joke" and accused him of reneging on his deal with the company. The veteran star singed a multi-million dollar contract with Island Records in October 2009 and is set to release his latest record, "Praise and Blame", at the end of July this year.
But an email which Island's vice-president David Sharpe sent to his colleagues at the company has revealed the label boss is thoroughly unimpressed with the new tracks - he slammed Jones' new sound and told co-workers to "pull back this project immediately or get my money back". The message reads, "Imagine my surprise 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 realized 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?" the message further states. "We did not invest a fortune in an established artist for him to deliver 12 tracks from the common book of prayer (sic). 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 authorized that he should go off on this tangent...? Please don't give me the art over commerce argument, it's run its course... what are you thinking when he went all spiritual?"
A representative for Jones has confirmed the star was unaware of the email, telling Britain's Sunday Times, "This is the first we have heard of this email. It's certainly very direct." When Sharpe was asked for comment, he added, "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."