“What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones

“What’s New Pussycat?” was created for a certain movie and more particularly a character that was played by Peter Sellers of Pink Panther fame. Readers familiar with Sellers know that he was a comedic actor. And likewise the lyrics were designed to be to be lighthearted in nature, i.e. not the type to be taken too seriously.

But with that out of the way, it is pretty clear that this is a love song. That is to say that the titular “pussycat” is obviously a lady whom the singer has a strong physical attraction to. Indeed pussycat, if you will, is a term that is often associated with female sexuality in various capacities. And we also know that somewhere along the line, the word pu-sy came to be colloquially associated with female genitalia. But when exactly that happened is a matter of debate. 

At least one prominent theory implies that such transpired sometime after the dropping of this song. So during the 1960s, when this track came out, it would appear that the word “pu-sy” was associated with cats (of the animal kingdom), while “pussycat” was more akin to a term you would use to describe a sexy lady.

A Romantic Song

So with that noted Tom Jones is an adult, and he knew what time it was, i.e. that this song, despite its humorous approach, carrying a sexual connotation. But that said, statements like “I’ll soon be kissing your sweet… pussycat lips” should not be directly interpreted in the type of context that it commonly would in the here and now, during the early 21st century. In other words, only a hardcore rapper would use that kind of lingo these days.

But in this case, what we’re dealing with is a man trying to sell himself to the apple of his eye. And as such solicitations tend to go, yes, he is letting her know that he’s strongly attracted to her. But also, Tom expresses his “love” outright and, based on other wording found herein, is looking to get into a serious relationship with the addressee.

Tom Jones, "What's New Pus*ycat?" Lyrics

Tom Jones

Tom Jones is a legendary singer from Wales who is 82 years old as of the writing of this post. That said his most-recent LP, “Surrounded by Time”, just came out last year, in 2021. 

And even more amazingly, said project topped the UK Albums Chart and in the process made Jones the oldest male musician to ever do so. FYI, the late Vera Lynn accomplished said feat, in 2009, at the age of 92.

Meanwhile, Tom’s discography dates all the way back to the mid-1960s. And it was circa that era, on 5 June 1965, that he dropped “What’s New Pussycat?” via Decca Records. 

Facts about “What’s New Pussycat?”

This song was created for a Woody Allen film that is also titled “What’s New Pussycat?”. 

The tune proved so successful that it spawned a studio album also titled so which, by the looks of things, is not associated with the movie at all. 

The track itself was also nominated for Best Original Song at the 38th Academy Award in 1966. However, the trophy ultimately went to “The Shadow of Your Smile”, which was helmed by Jack Sheldon.

This tune was written by Burt Bacharach alongside the late lyricist Hal David (1921-2012). It has been covered by a few artists, most notably around the time of its release. Some notable covers include:

  • Barbra Streisand in 1966
  • Bob Marley’s act, The Wailers, in 1965

The producer of Tom Jones’ version was Peter Sullivan (1933-2020).

All things considered (such as its association with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air during the 1990s), Tom Jones’ signature hit can be taken as 1965’s “It’s Not Unusual”. But if so, then next on the list would have to be “What’s New Pussycat?”. This is made evident for instance by the fact that a musical recently came out centered on Jones’ hits which is named after this song.

This track proved to be a chart topper in Canada. It reached number 3 on the US Hot 100. And in the United Kingdom, it peaked at number 11.

What's New Pus*ycat?

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Did ladies toss their panties at Tom Jones when he sang it?

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