Jenny’s 45 pick: ‘It’s Not Unusual’ by Tom Jones (1965)

“It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones

Jenny Slater says:

“Sometime during the tacky and turbulent early/mid-70s, my brothers and I received two critical inheritances that would [as they say] change our lives forever.

My step-mother’s younger sister was graduating from college and getting married (the logical progression for most young women at that time), and had decided that she no longer needed much of the ‘kid’s stuff’ which had previously defined her life. For reasons that I may never actually know, she packed up and sent to Florida a large box containing several stacks of MAD Magazines, and a flip-top box of 45s.

The MAD Magazines would come to nurture the snark and sarcasm already running deep and true within the souls of my brothers and me.

The 45s would expose us to a bizarre dimension of retro pop music, all of it already well out of date by the time we received it, that would warp our minds even further. We’d been raised on stuff that was a little bit more hard-edged: Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, Cream, Janis Joplin, reggae…

This newly gifted cache was truly mid-late 60s pop music at its absolute worst: ‘I’m Your Venus’ by the Shocking Blue, ‘Sugar Shack’ by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs, ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’ by The Ohio Express…

To this day, hearing any of those songs literally gives me a queasy feeling. They were so saccharine, so creepy… and yet we still played them over and over again, basically trying to figure out ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’ I remember feeling simultaneously disgusted by, and also genuinely sorry for, the newlywed young woman who’d sent this music down to me. Is this what love and romance had in store for me?

HOWEVER. Crowded within that box of sad old dusties was a 45 of Tom Jones singing ‘It’s Not Unusual.’ It was a singular beacon of hope and pizzazz, beaming out from within the creepy sick melodies of everything else in that box. The record’s label had a snazzy parrot, with a bow tie! And a cane! Jauntily tipping a top-hat!

Tom Jones came bursting out of the speakers with no apologies, no mawkishness, no fucks anywhere to give… Yeah, maybe Tom Jones just had his heart broken, but you know what? It’s not unusual. Happens all the time. Tom Jones was still gonna swing, and still try to have a good time, whether you were around to enjoy it or not.

For anyone who’s ever tried to play it off like it was no big deal if you ended up way more into someone than they were into you… It’s just not unusual. Happens all the time.

It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone
It’s not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It’s not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die
It’s not unusual to go out at any time
But when I see you out and about it’s such a crime
If you should ever want to be loved by anyone
It’s not unusual it happens every day no matter what you say
You’ll find it happens all the time
Love will never do what you want it to
Why can’t this crazy love be mine?
It’s not unusual to be mad with anyone
It’s not unusual to be sad with anyone
But if I ever find that you’ve changed at anytime
It’s not unusual to find out I’m in love with you.

I loved it. I still love it. And in the same store where I found the famous nail-art western wagon, I also rummaged around until I (of course) found this:


Wondering what this is all about?

In September 2015, I asked readers of my inbox zine, Rusty’s Electric Dreams, to share their all-time favorite single from the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s and tell me why they like it.

Years ago, a friend of mine had a “33 1/3” birthday party where she spun vinyl LPs. I thought that was a cool idea and imagined doing that for my 45th, but with everyone sharing their favorite 45 RPM singles.

So, here we are. It’s September 2015 and my birthday quickly approaches.

Instead of having a big bash, I have a SPECIAL REQUEST to ask of all of you. I want to take a musical trip down memory lane, because –seriously– where would we be without music??

Subscribe to my inbox zine here: